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For metal replacement with powder metal (PM) of an automotive transmission, PM gear design differs from its wrought counterpart. Indeed, complete reverse-engineering and re-design is required so to better understand and document the performance parameters of solid-steel vs. PM gears. Presented here is a re-design (re-building a 6-speed manual transmission for an Opel Insignia 4-cylinder, turbocharged 2-liter engine delivering 220 hp/320 N-m) showing that substituting a different microgeometry of the PM gear teeth -- coupled with lower Young’s modulus -- theoretically enhances performance when compared to the solid-steel design.
Ready or not, QS-9000 is here. If you are a first-tier supplier to one of the Big Three automotive companies, you've already heard that compliance with this new quality standard is now an entry-level requirement for doing business with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. If you're a second-or third-tier supplier, you can expect the ripple effect of this new standard to hit your company one way or another.
By increasing the number of gears and the transmission-ratio spread, the engine will run with better fuel efficiency and without loss of driving dynamics. Transmission efficiency itself can be improved by: using fuelefficient transmission oil; optimizing the lubrication systems and pumps; improving shifting strategies and optimizing gearings; and optimizing bearings and seals/gaskets.
Over the past few months we've talked with a lot of gear manufacturers. Many of them tell us business is strong, while others are struggling with reduced demand. The difference between them isn't so much in the quality of their manufacturing operations, but rather trends in the end markets they serve.
Automotive industry embraces proven yet evolving technology of plastic gears.
The acceptance by discerning customers of passenger cars is dependent upon both the actual noise lever and the subjective noise character. The subjective noise character itself can contain, among other features, undesirable noise phenomena which become apparent at certain points in the vehicle operating range. One such critical phenomenon is gear rattle, which is mainly present under low speed, high load conditions. Due to changes in the angular velocity of the crankshaft, gear rattle under driving conditions occurs at the unloaded gears and splines.
Beveloid gears are used to accommodate a small shaft angle. The manufacturing technology used for beveloid gearing is a special setup of cylindrical gear cutting and grinding machines. A new development, the so-called Hypoloid gearing, addresses the desire of gear manufacturers for more freedoms. Hypoloid gear sets can realize shaft angles between zero and 20° and at the same time, allow a second shaft angle (or an offset) in space that provides the freedom to connect two points in space.
The opposed-piston internal combustion engine is making a comeback.
This paper presents how low pressure carburizing and high pressure gas quenching processes are successfully applied on internal ring gears for a six-speed automatic transmission. The specific challenge in the heat treat process was to reduce distortion in such a way that subsequent machining operations are entirely eliminated.
Today it is common practice when climb hobbing to keep the direction of the hob thread the same as that of the helical gear. The same generalization holds true for the mass production of gears for automobiles. It is the authors' opinion, however, that conventional hobbing with a reverse-handed hob is more effective for the high-speed manufacture of comparatively small module gears for automobiles. The authors have proven both experimentally and theoretically that reverse-handed conventional hobbing, using a multi-thread hob with a smaller diameter is very effective for lengthening the life of the hob and for increasing cutting efficiency at high speeds.
This paper will present data from both laboratory and field testing demonstrating that superfinished components exhibit lower friction, operating temperature, wear and/ or higher horsepower, all of which translate directly into increased fuel economy.
The proper control of distortion after thermal treatment of powertrain components in the automotive industry is an important measure in ensuring high-quality parts and minimizing subsequent hard machining processes in order to reduce overall production costs.
The powder metal (P/M) process is making inroads in automotive transmission applications due to substantially lower costs of P/M-steel components for high-volume production, as compared to wrought or forged steel parts. Although P/M gears are increasingly used in powered hand tools, gear pumps and as accessory components in automotive transmissions, P/M-steel gears are currently in limited use in vehicle transmission applications. The primary objective of this project was to develop high-strength P/M-steel gears with bending fatigue, impact resistance and pitting fatigue performance equivalent to current wrought steel gears.
News from the major automakers and transmission suppliers.
Gear engineers have long recognized the importance of considering system factors when analyzing a single pair of gears in mesh. These factors include important considerations such as load sharing in multi-mesh geartrains and bearing clearances, in addition to the effects of flexible components such as housings, gear blanks, shafts and carriers for planetary geartrains. However, in recent years, transmission systems have become increasingly complex—with higher numbers of gears and components—while the quality requirements and expectations in terms of durability, gear whine, rattle and efficiency have increased accordingly.
Traditionally, high-quality gears are cut to shape from forged blanks. Great accuracy can be obtained through shaving and grinding of tooth forms, enhancing the power capacity, life and quietness of geared power transmissions. In the 1950s, a process was developed for forging gears with teeth that requires little or no metal to be removed to achieve final geometry. The initial process development was undertaken in Germany for the manufacture of bevel gears for automobile differentials and was stimulated by the lack of available gear cutting equipment at that time. Later attention has turned to the forging of spur and helical gears, which are more difficult to form due to the radial disposition of their teeth compared with bevel gears. The main driver of these developments, in common with most component manufacturing, is cost. Forming gears rather than cutting them results in increased yield from raw material and also can increase productivity. Forging gears is therefore of greater advantage for large batch quantities, such as required by the automotive industry.
Gear pitting is one of the primary failure modes of automotive transmission gear sets. Over the past years, many alternatives have been intended to improve their gear surface durability. However, due to the nature of new process development, it takes a length of time and joint efforts between the development team and suppliers to investigate and verify each new approach.
The implementation of powder metal (PM)components in automotive applications increases continuously, in particular for more highly loaded gear components like synchromesh mechanisms. Porosity and frequently inadequate material properties of PM materials currently rule out PM for automobile gears that are subject to high loads. By increasing the density of the sintered gears, the mechanical properties are improved. New and optimized materials designed to allow the production of high-density PM gears by single sintering may change the situation in the future.
In his Handbook of Gear Design (Ref.1), Dudley states (or understates): "The best gear people around the world are now coming to realize that metallurgical quality is just as important as geometric quality." Geometric accuracy without metallurgical integrity in any highly stressed gear or shaft would only result in wasted effort for all concerned - the gear designer, the manufacturer, and the customer - as the component's life cycle would be prematurely cut short. A carburized automotive gear or shaft with the wrong surface hardness, case depth or core hardness may not even complete its basic warranty period before failing totally at considerable expense and loss of prestige for the producer and the customer. The unexpected early failure of a large industrial gear or shaft in a coal mine or mill could result in lost production and income while the machine is down since replacement components may not be readily available. Fortunately, this scenario is not common. Most reputable gear and shaft manufacturers around the world would never neglect the metallurgical quality of their products.
The chamfering and deburring operations on gear teeth have become more important as the automation of gear manufacturing lines in the automotive industry have steadily increased. Quieter gears require more accurate chamfers. This operation also translates into significant coast savings by avoiding costly rework operations. This article discusses the different types of chamfers on gear teeth and outlines manufacturing methods and guidelines to determine chamfer sizes and angles for the product and process engineer.
Capstan Atlantic, located in Wrentham, Massachusetts, produces powder metal gears, sprockets and complex structural components. The company has provided unique powder metal products in a variety of industries including automotive, business machines, appliances, lawn and garden equipment and recreational vehicles.
In 1985 a new tooling concept for high volume gear production was introduced to the gear manufacturing industry. Since then this tool, the wafer shaper cutter, has proven itself in scores of applications as a cost-effective, consistent producer of superior quality parts. This report examines the first high-production installation at the plant of a major automotive supplies, where a line of twenty shapers is producing timing chain sprockets.
There is a great need for future powertrains in automotive and industrial applications to improve upon their efficiency and power density while reducing their dynamic vibration and noise initiation. It is accepted that planetary gear transmissions have several advantages in comparison to conventional transmissions, such as a high power density due to the power division using several planet gears. This paper presents planetary gear transmissions, optimized in terms of efficiency, weight and volume.
What are the manufacturing methods used to make bevel gears used in automotive differentials?
Except for higher-end gear applications found in automotive and aerospace transmissions, for example, high-performance, sintered-steel gears match wrought-steel gears in strength and geometrical quality. The enhanced P/M performance is due largely to advances in powder metallurgy over last two decades, such as selective surface densification, new materials and lubricants for high density and warm-die pressing. This paper is a review of the results of a decade of research and development of high- performance, sintered-steel gear prototypes.
Precision components (industrial bearing races and automotive gears) can distort during heat treatment due to effects of free or unconstrained oil quenching. However, press quenching can be used to minimize these effects. This quenching method achieves the relatively stringent geometrical requirements stipulated by industrial manufacturing specifications. As performed on a wide variety of steel alloys, this specialized quenching technique is presented here, along with a case study showing the effects of prior thermal history on the distortion that is generated during press quenching.
Environmentally friendly, highly efficient and lasting a product's lifetime. With characteristics like this, Pulsed-Plasma Diffusion (PPD) technology from Oerlikon Balzers has established itself as an industry standard for the treatment of large automotive press tooling. Now the technology specialists are targeting new applications with this advanced process, offering an alternative to traditional hard-chrome processes.
As the automotive industry continues to reinvent itself, new transmission technologies are at the forefront of this effort, and there is a whirlwind of new developments being detailed at the German Car Training Institute’s Automotive Transmissions and Drive Trains Symposium North America.
Gear manufacturers are moving into an era that will see changes in both engineering practices and industry standards as new end-products evolve. Within the traditional automotive industry, carbon emission reduction legislation will drive the need for higher levels of efficiency and growth in electric and hybrid vehicles. Meanwhile, the fast growing market of wind turbines is already opening up a whole new area of potential for gearbox manufacturers, but this industry is one that will demand reliability, high levels of engineering excellence and precision manufacturing.
There is an increasing significance of screw helical and worm gears that combine use of steel and plastics. This is shown by diverse and continuously rising use in the automotive and household appliance industries. The increasing requirements for such gears can be explained by the advantageous qualities of such a material combination in comparison with that of the traditional steel/bronze pairing.
Gear metrology is a revolving door of software packages and system upgrades. It has to be in order to keep up with the productivity and development processes of the machines on the manufacturing floor. Temperature compensation, faster inspection times and improved software packages are just a few of the advancements currently in play as companies prepare for new opportunities in areas like alternative energy, automotive and aerospace/defense.
Some results of evaluation by this method in the automotive industry.
Plane strain fracture toughness of twelve high-carbon steels has been evaluated to study the influence of alloying elements, carbon content and retained austenite. The steels were especially designed to simulate the carburized case microstructure of commonly used automotive type gear steels. Results show that a small variation in carbon can influence the K IC significantly. The beneficial effect of retained austenite depends both on its amount and distribution. The alloy effect, particularly nickel, becomes significant only after the alloy content exceeds a minimum amount. Small amounts of boron also appear beneficial.
Examples from gears in wind turbine, automotive and industrial applications.
History comes around full circle. It is interesting to talk to gear manufacturers who service the defense, aerospace, automotive and computer industries and find that their sales, production and backlogs reflect excellent and, in some cases, record breaking business.
The October 2011 issue of Gear Technology featured the article “Low-Distortion Heat Treatment of Transmission Components,” which covered the combination of low-pressure carburizing and high pressure gas quenching in an automotive environment. Here, heat treating expert Dan Herring explains why oil quenching is an appropriate choice for many applications.
Induction hardening is widely used in both the automotive and aerospace gear industries to minimize heat treat distortion and obtain favorable compressive residual stresses for improved fatigue performance. The heating process during induction hardening has a significant effect on the quality of the heat-treated parts. However, the quenching process often receives less attention even though it is equally important.
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.
News Items About automotive
1 AFC Holcroft Receives Order from Tier One Automotive Supplier (June 12, 2014)
A global Tier One automotive supplier has placed an order with AFC-Holcroft for a production gas modernization project involving the purc... Read News
2 Automotive Supplier Purchases AFC-Holcroft Walking Beam Furnace (July 2, 2012)
A Tier One automotive supplier located in the Eastern Central region of the United States has purchased a new Walking Beam Furnace with &... Read News
3 Ikona Gear Technology Licensed for First Automotive Application (January 15, 2006)
Ikona Gear announced its patented gearing system has been licensed for its first automotive application, an electric par... Read News
4 Tool Maker Expands to Meet Automotive Demand (April 13, 2006)
Engineered Tools Corp., a manufacturer of carbide cutting tools used in production of spiral bevel ring gears and pinions, announced the ... Read News
5 KBE+ Provides Consulting Service with Chinese Automotive Manufacturer (February 8, 2007)
KBE+ Inc. recently was awarded a contract with Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corp., located in Nanjing, China. According to the company... Read News
6 ABA-PGT Awarded ISO TS 16949 Automotive Certification (March 29, 2011)
ABA-PGT Inc., a producer of high precision tooling and precision-molded plastic gears, has been awarded the ISO TS 16949 Automotive Certi... Read News
7 Cimcool Offers Hybrid Fluid Technology for Automotive Industry (October 17, 2012)
Cimcool Fluid Technology has announced the release of a new lubricant technology for machining and grinding of hard metals. These new Cim... Read News
8 Ford Announces Sale of Automotive Components Holdings’ PTU Business (August 30, 2007)
Ford Motor Co. and Linamar Corp. announced the signing of definitive agreements for the sale of the Automotive Components Holdings’... Read News