With global wind turbine demand set to quadruple by the end of the decade, manufacturers are seeking new technologies to ramp up production of gears that can operate in any environment, around the clock, for years to come.
2023 is shaping up to be our planet’s hottest year on record, and the wind energy industry is feeling the heat. The GWEC (Global Wind Energy Council) says that the rate of wind turbine installations will need to quadruple globally by the end of the decade if we’re to achieve the IRENA’s (International Renewable Energy Agency) goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050—and keep the average annual temperature worldwide from increasing more than the predicted 1.5° C. Fortunately, “net zero” commitments are gathering global momentum. Before year’s end, total global windpower is expected to reach a historic milestone of 1 TW of installed capacity, eliminating 1.2 billion tons of CO2 annually, roughly the equivalent of all the carbon emissions of South America.
It wasn’t long ago that cylindrical gear chamfering and deburring was almost an afterthought. Now the process ranks as high in importance as hobbing, shaping and grinding. Seemingly every gear manufacturer, particularly those developing transmission gears for e-drive applications, recognizes that anything less than a flawless tooth flank can result in premature transmission failure, less-than-optimal efficiency, and unacceptable noise. Thus, generating a chamfer to precise customer specifications is critical to minimize the potential for sharp, brittle edges after heat treat; avoid edge load situations in the gearbox; and eliminate excessive stock and hardened burrs in the tooth flank prior to the hard finishing operations (conditions which can greatly diminish tool life).