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The gear designer needs to know how to determine an appropriate case depth for a gear application in order to guarantee the required load capacity.
With the publishing of various ISO draft standards relating to gear rating procedures, there has been much discussion in technical papers concerning the various load modification factors. One of the most basic of parameters affecting the rating of gears, namely the endurance limit for either contact or bending stress, has not, however, attracted a great deal of attention.
Compared to non-heat-treated components, case-carburized gears are characterized by a modified strength profile in the case-hardened layer. The design of case-carburized gears is based on defined allowable stress numbers. These allowable stress numbers are valid only for a defined "optimum" case depth. Adequate heat treatment and optimum case depth guarantee maximum strength of tooth flank and tooth root.
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.
A carburized alloy steel gear has the greatest load-carrying capacity, but only if it is heat treated properly. For high quality carburizing, the case depth, case microstructure, and case hardness must be controlled carefully.
CNC technology offers new opportunities for the manufacture of bevel gears. While traditionally the purchase of a specific machine at the same time determined a particular production system, CNC technology permits the processing of bevel gears using a wide variety of methods. The ideological dispute between "tapered tooth or parallel depth tooth" and "single indexing or continuous indexing" no longer leads to an irreversible fundamental decision. The systems have instead become penetrable, and with existing CNC machines, it is possible to select this or that system according to factual considerations at a later date.
When a customer needed gears delivered in three weeks, here’s how Brevini Wind got it done.