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This article summarizes the development of an improved titanium nitride (TiN) recoating process, which has, when compared to conventional recoat methods, demonstrated tool life increases of up to three times in performance testing of hobs and shaper cutters. This new coating process, called Super TiN, surpasses the performance of standard TiN recoating for machining gear components. Super TiN incorporates stripping, surface preparation, smooth coating techniques and polishing before and after recoating. The combination of these improvements to the recoating process is the key to its performance.
Prior to the introduction of titanium nitride to the cutting tool industry in the early 1980s, there was very little progress in the general application of hobbing in the gear cutting industry. The productivity gains realized with this new type of coating initiated a very active time of advancement in the gear manufacturing process.
Physical Vapor Deposited (PVD) coatings such as TiN (Titanium nitride) have been a boon for cutting tool manufacturers. They reduce wear and, therefore, extend tool life, which in turn reduces production costs. But PVD coatings are expensive, and when they fail, they cost both time and money, and they causes of the failure are not always readily apparent.
The first part of this article, which ran in the September/October 1994 issue, explained the fundamentals of gear hobbing and some of the latest techniques, including methods of hob performance analysis and new tool configurations, being used to solve specific application problems. In this issue, the author continues his exploration of hobbing by describing the effects of progress on requirements in accuracy, as well as the latest in materials, coating and dry hobbing.
A brief introduction to the subject of Thin Film Coatings and their application to gear hobs and shaper cutters is followed by a detailed description of the Chemical Vapor Deposition Process and the Physical Vapor Deposition Process. Advantages and disadvantages of each of these processes is discussed. Emphasis is placed upon: application engineering of coated gear tools based on laboratory and field test results. Recommendations are suggested for tool design improvements and optimization of gear cutting operations using coated tools. Productivity improvements potentially available by properly utilizing coated tools are considered in terms of both tool cost and machining cost.