Gear Production

MAR 2015

Gear Production

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6—GEAR Production Supplement F E A T U R E By Russ Willcutt | Editor Rory Tagle, who programs and operates the company's Höfer Rapid 6000 profle grinder, shuts the enclosure in preparation for grinding this massive 206-inch gear for the mining industry. Grinding Big Gears from Blanks Harnessing the latest abrasives technology enables this shop to grind huge gears complete from blanks, eliminating multiple machining steps and providing a smooth surface fnish. T he larger the gear you're producing, the less often you want to move it between machines. Ideally, you'd like to load the blank onto a machine, hit cycle start and then unload a fnished part. Although it's a little more complicated than that, this is now a reality for L&H Industrial in Tempe, Arizona. New abrasive technologies and equipment designs have made it possible for the shop to grind a gear straight from a solid—eliminating steps such as hobbing and shaping—in less time than was required using those methods. In addition, grinding provides a mirror-like surface fnish right off the machine, allowing it to achieve a gear quality of AGMA 14 or higher. As for big gears, they don't make them much larger than those used in mining applications, according to Garrett Goldman, general manager. In order to handle massive gears sometimes measuring more than 20 feet in diameter, the company purchased a Höfer Rapid 6000 6-meter CNC profle grinder in 2013, working with Norton Abrasives to identify the best grinding wheel for its repair and production work. "Once the Höfer was installed, we began experimenting with grinding gear teeth straight from a blank, and it was a success," he says. "With each passing month, we learn a little more about how we can get the most out of this investment and about the benefts of the grinding process as well." Gigantic Gears Founded in 1964 as L&H Welding & Supply by Leon Wandler, the Gillette, Wyoming-based company specialized in oilfeld equipment repair, later focusing on the mining industry. It has since grown to fve locations throughout the U.S.—additional facilities are found in Canada, Mexico and Chile—with the Tempe operation devoted specifcally to gearing. About half of its gear work involves repairs to shovel, dragline and drilling components, with the rest devoted to manufacturing ready-to-ship aftermarket parts. "We produce everything from 12-inch pinions to gears more than 200 inches in diameter," Mr. Goldman says. "The largest gear we've run across our grinder so far was 243 inches in diameter, in fact." Prior to purchasing the Höfer grinder, gear production involved pre-gashing on a specialized

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