Carburized gears have higher strengths and longer lives compared with induction-hardened or quench-tempered gears. But in big module gears, carburizing heat-treatment becomes time-consuming and expensive and sometimes cannot achieve good hardness due to the big mass-effect. Also, it is not easy to reduce distortion of gears during heat treatment.
High-speed machining using carbide has been used for some decades for milling and turning operations. The intermittent character of the gear cutting process has delayed the use of carbide tools in gear manufacturing. Carbide was found at first to be too brittle for interrupted cutting actions. In the meantime, however, a number of different carbide grades were developed. The first successful studies in carbide hobbing of cylindrical gears were completed during the mid-80s, but still did not lead to a breakthrough in the use of carbide cutting tools for gear production. Since the carbide was quite expensive and the tool life was too short, a TiN-coated, high-speed steel hob was more economical than an uncoated carbide hob.
Spur gear endurance tests were conducted to investigate the surface pitting fatigue life of noninvolute gears with low numbers of teeth and low contact ratios for the use in advanced application. The results were compared with those for a standard involute design with a low number of teeth. The gear pitch diameter was 8.89 cm (3.50 in.) with 12 teeth on both gear designs. Test conditions were an oil inlet temperature of 320 K (116 degrees F), a maximum Hertz stress of 1.49 GPa (216 ksi), and a speed of 10,000 rpm. The following results were obtained: The noninvolute gear had a surface pitting fatigue life approximately 1.6 times that of the standard involute gear of a similar design. The surface pitting fatigue life of the 3.43-pitch AISI 8620 noninvolute gear was approximately equal to the surface pitting fatigue life of an 8-pitch, 28-tooth AISI 9310 gear at the same load, but at a considerably higher maximum Hertz stress.
Austempering heat treatments
(austenitizing followed by rapid cooling
to the tempering temperature) have been
applied to nodular irons on an experimental basis for a number of years, but commercial interest in the process has
only recently come to the surface.