Gear Production

MAR 2015

Gear Production

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March 2015—19 Omax Corp., call 253-872-2300 or visit powerful abrasive stream than intensifer pumps, resulting in faster gear cutting speeds and increased productivity. System Software Software also plays a major role in abrasive waterjet machining of gears. Although CAD software generates the gear geometries, it is the software the machine's controller uses that optimizes the tool path and puts the gear cutting into motion. To further simplify the process, some manufacturers offer special gear shape generation software unique to their equipment. Controlling the machine's abrasive waterjet to achieve the best balance of speed and precision in gear production can sometimes be diffcult. However, many abrasive waterjet machine manufacturers simplify the process via intuitive control software packages that enable the machine to automatically manage the jet in a manner that is fast, effcient and transparent to the operator. For instance, Omax's control software features built-in cutting models that an operator can use to quickly input the part geometry, desired surface fnish quality and any attached equipment such as nozzles, pumps and accessories. From this data, the control can predict the jet cutting behaviors and automatically compensate for them. Two of the many jet behaviors this control can predict and compensate for are jet lag (where the bottom of the cut lags behind the top) and taper (where either the top or bottom of the cut is wider than the rest). A combination of slowing the jet down and tilting the cutting head into the direction of the cut helps balance the jet lag, while simply tilting the cutting head into the direction of the cut offsets the unwanted taper. Omax recently released its fourth generation built-in cutting model that not only optimizes tool paths automatically, but also gives operators precise predictability as to the cutting speeds, taper, jet lag and other factors of those particular tool paths. And through this update, the company has proven to be able to cut a 10-inch (254-mm) gear in half the time it was able to previously. Versatile Investment Because of their speed, precision, versatility and cost-saving capabilities, abrasive waterjet machines can be a sound capital investment for shops that handle gear prototyping or small-to- medium gear production runs. In fact, this form of machining has signifcantly evolved over the past few years, so much so that it is quickly transitioning away from being an alternative process to one that equals or surpasses many other cutting methods. Using the proper abrasive waterjet hardware can increase production, tolerances and overall gear quality. Advanced software tools reduce programming needs and maximize the process of generating gear toolpaths.

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