Gear Production

MAR 2015

Gear Production

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8—GEAR Production Supplement F E A T U R E so the machine was tuned for that and had to go straight to work on a 90,000-pound gear. In fact, when I'm setting up a big gear, I'll go ahead and email Höfer so they'll know what I'm doing and be ready to help adjust the settings for that job, which really doesn't take very long." As with any machining process, however, the right tooling had to be determined for the machine to deliver its full potential. While the wheels provided standard with the machine did a good job, they were suited more for fnishing operations than for signifcant material removal. Mr. Tagle was seeking both, and that's when opportunity came knocking. Applied Abrasives As an application engineer at Norton Abrasives, Phil Plainte along with his colleague David Graham, from the company's R&D center, work together to create new technologies that meet the requirements of the ever-evolving manufacturing industry. In the Higgins Grinding Technology Center (HGTC), located in Northboro, Massachusetts, Mr. Graham develops products and processes for customers in various industries. As new grinding equipment designs are introduced, along with new materials and increasingly complex part geometries, he develops new products on the grinding equipment in the HGTC lab. Subsequent to this technology being tested, it is applied in the feld. Advanced wheel grain shapes, formulations and bonds must be developed, as well. At the very time when a new abrasive wheel was being developed by Norton for the powerful new grinders coming on the market, Mr. Plainte received a call from Scott Bradley, area manager at L&H, who asked for his assistance. "He told me that they had purchased a Höfer Rapid 6000, of which there are only a few in the country, and that they wanted to make sure they were using the right grinding wheel," he says. "I saw an opportunity to work together on the development of this new wheel, with L&H acting as the real-world beta tester for wheels that we would provide." Mr. Plainte would personally oversee the project, making site visits to Tempe, testing the Norton wheels on the grinder with Mr. Tagle, and then reporting his fndings to the R&D lab for adjustments to the formulation. After a preliminary visit to familiarize himself with the company and its capabilities, Mr. Plainte returned with a selection of test wheels. An indication of the many factors to be considered became apparent during the frst test, involving an NQX wheel. "In terms of material removal, it was just outstanding," Mr. Tagle recalls. "But the swarf it produced kept clogging up the machine. It was like a fne steel wool, very dense, and the buildup was actually a fre hazard since it was saturated with oil coolant. So that one didn't work out." Success came quickly, however, with a wheel that combined the very traits L&H Whenever a new, heavy weight is loaded onto the machine, Höfer engineers access the controls from their location in Ger- many, calibrating the settings to ensure smooth performance.

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