Gear Production

SEP 2016

Gear Production

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September 2016—5 The company is divided between two divisions: Schafer Gear Works and Schafer Driveline. It is known as a manufacturer of precision gearing of all sizes in addition to axles, transaxles, transmissions, brake assemblies and other components for various transportation-related markets, which also include leisure and off- highway. Two of the company's facilities are devoted to manufacturing gears and each site has its own specialty. Small precision gears with tolerances ranging to 0.0002 inch for the aerospace and automotive industries are produced in Fort Wayne, Indiana, while medium-size spur and helical gears—as well as bevel and worm gears—are manufactured in South Bend. Large- diameter spur and helical gears (with grinding ranging to AGMA Class 12) up to 60 inches in diameter and face grinding as large as 8 inches in diameter that have traditionally been produced at the company's Rockford, Illinois, facility will soon be machined in Roscoe due to Schafer's recent acquisition of Custom Gear & Machine Inc. The South Bend location performs all of the gear manufacturing processes listed so far, in addition to EDM and Swiss turning. Since Schafer is a high-production manufacturer, there is a great deal of automation and the work flow is laid out in such a way that each process naturally leads to the one that needs to occur next. In addition, most shop employees are cross-trained so they can operate multiple machines and/or cells, leading to a high degree of flexibility on the floor. Processes and Purposes According to Steve Fussell, manufacturing manager, the primary benefit of grinding for gear production has historically been the improved gear quality after heat treating to produce near- perfect symmetry and micro-finish, which results in very quiet gears. It is also necessary as a finishing process after many roughing operations. Nowadays, you can add increased material removal thanks to more powerful machines, the availability of automation and improved wheel grades. Schafer's two newest Gleason grinders—a 160 TWG for gears as large as 160 mm in diameter, and a 200 GX which grinds gears ranging to 200 mm in diameter—are fully automated and meet quality standards of both ISO 9001:2008 and AGMA 11. So it's clear that Schafer is taking full advantage of the latest in grinding technologies. But how about other traditional gear machining processes—when are they used, and why? An involute spline made of stainless steel, with spline teeth cut by hobbing.

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