Liebherr Gear Technology Inc. recently hosted the 7th WZL Gear Conference in the USA 2017 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This two-day program offered the latest gear advancements in areas like process chains, soft machining, hard finishing and metrology, tribology and acoustics of gears. Liebherr and WZL shared the stage to offer the 100+ attendees the latest research in gearing and briefly touched on the future of our industry. Here are some of the conference highlights:
WZL U.S. Presence
The conference began with an introduction to a partnership between Fraunhofer USA, Boston University and WZL RWTH Aachen University. This new cooperation was put in place to allow WZL to execute gear consulting and research projects in close cooperation with the American gear industry. Led by Marco Kampka, the Gear Technology Department at the Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation at Boston University will examine a diverse product portfolio that includes gear design, surface integrity, simulation-based manufacturing processes, gear training, standard oil and material tests, measurements of NVH behavior of gear stages or transmissions and the investigation of load-carrying capacity of gears and transmissions.
Fritz Klocke’s “Semi-Retirement”
Though this was his last U.S. gear conference, Klocke promised to continue to serve WZL on a limited basis in Germany. He told the audience that the department would remain in the very capable hands of Christian Brecher, Christoph Löpenhaus and the rest of the WZL research team. As a longtime contributor to Gear Technology, we would personally like to thank Professor Klocke for his work in gear research and development and wish him the best in his future endeavors.
The Liebherr Approach
Several key presentations from Liebherr included:
Jürgen Groß’s discussion on automation solutions that examined the latest technologies in linear gantry and conveying systems, pallet handling systems, palletizing cells, bin picking and additional equipment.
Andreas Mehr’s report on gear shaping trends, a universal process that can be applied to external, internal, sprocket wheels and crown gears. The Liebherr LS 180 F includes a vertical shaping head slide for the manufacture of small gears with a 180 mm outside diameter.
Oliver Winkel’s special applications in gear hobbing looked at challenging small parts and hob diameters, provided application examples and asked the audience to consider Liebherr for non-standard gear cutting applications. In addition, Winkel’s skiving analysis took into consideration cycle time, quality and tool life to detail Liebherr’s machining approach.
WZL Points of Interest
Klocke’s Integrative Computational Materials Engineering segment discussed challenges and opportunities for gear manufacturing. This basically brought together engineering, manufacturing, materials and computation to identify development problems by virtual experiments. It also hints at the direction gear research is heading now and in the future where solutions don’t come out of the blue and new technological frontiers are best explored in teams.
Tim Frech presented the Influence of Different Manufacturing Processes on Properties of Surface Densified PM Gears. Frech looked at how PM technology offers opportunities for the reduction of the carbon footprint and the cost efficiency of gear production.
Löpenhaus offered another glimpse into the future with a presentation on Virtual Gear Production. Since every single production process influences the geometry of the gear, the entire process chain has to be considered in gear design. This can be handled by the consistent mapping of all processes related to IIot or Industry 4.0.
Julia Mazak gave an insightful discussion on the Influence of Process Parameters on Bevel Gear Cutting. The objective for process design is to choose the tool and process parameters according to the occurring load cycles of the cutting edge.
Many of these presentations and topics will be featured in upcoming issues of Gear Technology or at www.geartechnology.com. We’d like to thank WZL and Liebherr for a successful U.S. Gear Conference and look forward to learning more about these technologies and advancements that will no doubt change the way gears are manufactured in the future.