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A Guide to Gear Manufacturing


Production processes are designed to create added value. Similar to any production process, gear manufacturing aims to create value related to a manufacturer's costs, volumes, and deadlines. As such, the production of gears involves a combination of processes. Process used in the manufacture of gears include blanking, forging, powder metallurgy, extrusion, and casting. Various types of gears are available to suit different needs. The various kinds include worm gears, bevel gears, gear racks, spur and helical gears.


To classify gears; manufacturers look at the positioning of the gear shaft. How a gear transmits force in its application field, determines its mechanical configuration. When selecting gears, you are required to evaluate a variety of factors.


Due to advances in gear manufacturing technology, producers can easily manufacture gears of varying complexity. Today, machines exist which facilitates entire production processes. Production processes can be either fully automated, manual, or semi-automatic. As such, machining is the most populate gear production process involving two main methods: shaping or hobbing. Large volumes of gears are manufactured using machine based techniques. Hobbing employs dedicated machines to make gears by relying on vertical or horizontal spindles In hobbing, a gear blank is moved towards a rotating hob until the proper depth is achieved. Afterwards, the fashioned gear blank is relayed to a hob cutter for teeth completion. Grinding employs a gear cutter to achieve the required gear design and type. The majority of present hardened gears are produced using the grinding process. But the process is rather slow and only useful in the manufacture of high quality gears.


Quality manufacture of gears requires a working knowledge of the mechanical properties of materials used in production. Comprehension of mechanical properties is especially necessary when relying on standardized gear designs. Production requires engineers to understand factors such as rotational directions, drive train speed ratios, the different kinds of gears, their sizes, and strengths. Other factors that affect the production process include ISO and AGMA classifications, teeth forms, teeth thicknesses, and backlashes.


The manufacturing process relies on defined industry standards to ensure optimal gear quality and performance. Accordingly, production of gears necessitates the need for benchmarking of manufacturers facilities and techniques. A major techniques used to benchmark manufacturing standards is reverse engineering gears. The procedure involves the calculation of primary parameters for unknown gear pairs. However, the standardization process is much more complex than calculating gear parameters and application variables. However, in most instances, the accuracy of reverse engineering can be improved substantially. Reverse engineering requires performing repetitive procedures to obtain relevant data. Measurements are intended to take into account deviations from the design, measurement uncertainty, and wear of either custom made gears, worm gears, spur and helical gears.