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Spline Rolling Innovations at IMTS 2012

by Matthew Jaster, Associate Editor

With the latest machine technology on-hand at IMTS in Chicago, Gear Technology sought out the latest products and innovations in spline rolling. At the U.S. Gear Tools/Roto-Flo booth, product demonstrations took place for the R/C Rack System , a quick-change tooling rack that is currently undergoing durability testing and should be available in the first quarter of 2013. At the Escofier booth, the company presented its new FLEX series, a new generation of electrical machines that offer a variety of cold rolling solutions. Here's the rundown from the IMTS show floor:

New concept in spline rolling racks from U.S. Gear Tools

A new concept in spline rolling racks from U.S. Gear Tools/Roto-Flo.

Roto-Flo/U.S. Gear Tools
Managing a spline rack inventory can be difficult particularly when that inventory may be in the hundreds. U.S. Gear Tools displayed an innovative new concept during IMTS to buy, manage and use spline racks. Mike Callesen, director, spline rolling products, demonstrated and discussed a new rolling rack technology that combines "one use" tooling with quick change attributes.

"There was a lot of customer enthusiasm for the R/C Rack System during IMTS. Thanks to the shipping and logistic benefits many U.S. firms that are doing business overseas seem interested in the concept," Callesen said.

The R/C Rack System includes a durable carriage that is installed into a machine that accepts replaceable, one-use rack inserts. The two components align with a simple cam-lock system that makes the insert extremely easy to install and remove. This is innovative for a variety of reasons, most notably because the inserts minimize downtime and enhance the customer's ability for quick rack changes even between different splines.

The general tooling management process for today's spline rollers includes buying, installing, aligning and adjusting before using the product. This is followed by removing the racks, shipping the racks back for regrinding, receiving the racks and repeating each step in the process. The R/C Rack System allows the customer to simplify the operation by receiving the rack system, using the rack, remove and replace the inserts and repeat the steps. Global applications are now bolstered by less shipping costs and since the system weighs 40 percent less than a traditional rack set, the customer can ship by standard FedEx or UPS.

"The quick-change aspects of the R/C Rack System were also well received. Spline rolling can be a lengthy process particularly when dealing with the regrind. This system offers a more cost effective and flexible solution to current products on the market," Callesen said.

For more information:
U.S. Gear Tools
121 Lytle Cove Road
Swannanoa, NC 28778

The FLEX series spline rolling machine from Escofier

The FLEX series spline rolling machine from Escofier.

Escofier presented a new generation of electrical machines during IMTS that included its new FLEX series. This modular design provides many application solutions for all kinds of cold rolling processes used with dies. The two sizes of machine base (M & L) enable it to accommodate a large range of workpieces. The unique design of Escofier machines boasts only one single cylinder to ensure the symmetrical movement of the slides. Until now, the hydraulic cylinder was the only solution for transmitting and controlling the force to the rolling dies.

The FLEX series offers cleaner, quieter machines with less maintenance and a smaller carbon footprint. The lack of hydraulic fluid helps to preserve the environment by avoiding oil treatment. Main characteristics include a cast iron base available in 2 sizes, high accuracy of carriage movement due to the ground guides, two movable carriers symmetrically moved by a single cylinder, electrical or hydraulic spindles are rotated by reducers or direct drive shafts, the spindle diameter is adapted to the rolling dies and applications, movements are controlled by PLC, numerical axis or CNC. Optional force control and position control systems for the gear finishing process are also available as well as easy taper and helix adjustment.

For more information:
Escofier SAS
11 Rue Paul Sabatier
Chalon sur Saone 71107