Gear Production

JUN 2015

Gear Production

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June 2015—7 surface pressure, all the digital data I need to begin machining with confdence." Once the frst piece has been ground nearly to completion, leaving a slight amount of stock intact, it is tested on the company's Klingelnberg P65 3D measuring device to check for process errors. "These are primarily machine errors having to do with calibration," Mr. Alaniva explains. The Klingelnberg closed-loop software then runs a simulation correction program, which compares actual testing data with the theoretically perfect part derived in design. The program identifes deviations, runs thousands of hypothetical machine moves to determine the optimal paths, and then automatically sends a revised fnishing part program to the machine's control. After reinstalling the part in the grinding machine, "All the operator has to do is hit a button to accept the corrections," he says, adding that most closed-loop software produces neutral code that can be loaded into either Klingelnberg or Gleason grinders, for instance. "There's no chance of 'fat fngering' the wrong numbers on the keyboard, or entering a decimal place incorrectly," Mr. Alaniva says, "You just punch the one button, so human error has basically been eliminated." No Going Back A longtime advocate of the closed-loop gear manufacturing process in his own right, Mr. Roberge says major improvements to the process have come about thanks to advancing technologies and the expertise amassed over three decades of intense practical experimentation and application. "Gear measurement is far superior to what it used to be," he says. "We have so much control over our contact patterns that we can predict whether we have a 'frst piece sold' just by looking at the graphs produced by the CMM. The closed-loop system provides us with what you might call an absolute certainty of the outcome. We have not once encountered a situation where the data produced in our labs did not match the theoretical design within a reasonable and easily correctable margin so that the frst gear ground became the frst gear shipped. Not once." As to the specifc improvements made to the closed-loop gear manufacturing process over the past three decades, Mr. Alaniva says it's more a matter of the desire to embrace new and improved technologies than anything else. Companies that are tied to outdated legacy equipment and stuck in the routine of doing things the same way they've always been done will have increasing diffculty competing in a market in which new equipment designs and improved machining processes are tilting the playing feld in the progressive team's favor. He groups advancements that have improved closed-loop machining into three areas: grinders that are more accurate than ever before, with Gear pinions await machine time to deep grind teeth, which will result in tight tolerances and an excellent surface fnish.

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