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Next year will be the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' famous "discovery" of America. Poor Columbus has fallen on hard times of late, what with revisionist historians smacking their lips over his more notable failures and reminding us that American natives have a vastly different point of view on this Great American Success Story. But before we relegate the Great Navigator to the scrap heap of trashed-over heros, let's take one last look at some of the positive lessons to be learned from the Columbus experience - ones that could be instructive to our current situation in the American gear industry.
Whatever your pleasure, Columbus is sure to have something to occupy those rare free hours you spend outside of Gear Expo.
Complete guide ti Columbus Gear Expo July/August 2003.
Columbus' first voyage to the Americas is not the only anniversary worthy of celebration this year. In 1892, on October 15, Wilfred Lewis gave an address to the Engineer's Club of Philadelphia, whose significance, while not as great as that of Columbus' voyage, had important results for the gearing community. In this address, Lewis first publicly outlined his formula for computing bending stress in gear teeth, a formula still in use today.
Material losses and long production times are two areas of conventional spur and helical gear manufacturing in which improvements can be made. Metalforming processes have been considered for manufacturing spur and helical gears, but these are costly due to the development times necessary for each new part design. Through a project funded by the U.S. Army Tank - Automotive Command, Battelle's Columbus Division has developed a technique for designing spur and helical gear forging and extrusion dies using computer aided techniques.
A recent U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command project, conducted by Battelle's Columbus Laboratories. successfully developed the methodology of CAD/CAM procedures for manufacturing dies (via EDM) for forging spiral bevel gears. Further, it demonstrated that precision forging of spiral bevel gears is a practical production technique. Although no detailed economic evaluation was made in this study, it is expected that precision forging offers an attractive alternative to the costly gear cutting operations for producing spiral bevel gears.