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There are many different causes of gear noise, all of them theoretically preventable. Unfortunately, the prevention methods can be costly, both in equipment and manpower. If the design of the gear and its application are appropriate, in theory all that is necessary is to have a tight control on the process of producing the finished gear. In reality, there are many variables that can cause a process, no matter how well-controlled, to deteriorate, and thus cause errors, some of which will cause a gear to produce unwanted noise when put to use.
Surface roughness measuring of gear teeth can be a very frustrating experience. Measuring results often do not correlate with any functional characteristic, and many users think that they need not bother measuring surface roughness, since the teeth are burnished in operation. They mistakenly believe that the roughness disappears in a short amount of time. This is a myth! The surface indeed is shiny, but it still has considerable roughness. In fact, tests indicate that burnishing only reduces the initial roughness by approximately 25%.