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.
New freedom of motion available with CNC generators make possible improving tooth contact on bevel and hypoid gears. Mechanical machines by their nature are inflexible and require a special mechanism for every desired motion. These mechanisms are generally exotic and expensive. As a result, it was not until the introduction of CNC generators that engineers started exploring motion possibilities and their effect on tooth contact.
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.