Gear Production

MAR 2015

Gear Production

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16—GEAR Production Supplement F E A T U R E By Carl Olsen | Software Engineering Manager | Omax Corp. Manufacturing Gears with Waterjet Machining Advances in abrasive waterjet technology provide gear manufacturers with a fast and accurate method for cutting a variety of gear geometries and materials. J ob shops typically don't think of abrasive waterjet machining as a gearmaking process. But these machines can cut nearly any 2D or 3D shape—including gear teeth—from any material of any thickness, faster, easier and more cost effectively than many conventional techniques. Abrasive waterjet machining has been around for decades. It involves forcing a high-pressure stream of water with an abrasive such as garnet through a small nozzle orifce to cut materials. Early systems were often inaccurate and diffcult to control, but in the early 1990s the tide for this type of machining turned. Abrasive waterjet machine manufacturers developed new technology that harnessed control of the cutting nozzle via advanced PC controller software, making the waterjet cutting process more practical, affordable and simple to use. Fast-forward to current abrasive waterjet technology which, through a combination of modern hardware and software, offers substantial versatility along with impressive cutting speeds and tolerances. In fact, within the past fve years alone, the technology has experienced signifcant improvements, including faster speeds, better edge quality and tighter tolerances than the industry once thought possible using this method. Ideal Applications In terms of gear production, abrasive waterjet machines are typically at their best when prototyping or handling small to medium production runs. This makes the machines perfect for job shops that produce gears on an Abrasive waterjet machining provides versatility in cutting different materials, such as this 6.25-inch thick nylon gear.

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