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This section will deal with the use of gear inspection for diagnostic purposes rather than quality determination. The proper evaluation of various characteristics in the data can be useful for the solution of quality problems. It is important to sort out whether the problem is coming from the machine, tooling and/or cutters, blanks, etc. An article by Robert Moderow in the May/June 1985 issue of Gear Technology is very useful for this purpose.
What is so unique about gear manufacturing and inspection? Machining is mostly associated with making either flat or cylindrical shapes. These shapes can be created by a machine's simple linear or circular movements, but an involute curve is neither a straight line nor a circle. In fact, each point of the involute curve has a different radius and center of curvature. Is it necessary to go beyond simple circular and linear machine movements in order to create an involute curve? One of the unique features of the involute is the fact that it can be generated by linking circular and linear movements. This uniqueness has become fertile soil for many inventions that have simplified gear manufacturing and inspection. As is the case with gear generating machines, the traditional involute inspection machines take advantage of some of the involute properties. Even today, when computers can synchronize axes for creating any curve, taking advantage of involute properties can be very helpful. I t can simplify synchronization of machine movements and reduce the number of variables to monitor.
Question: When evaluating charts from a gear inspection machine, it is sometimes found that the full length of the profile traces vary, and that sometimes they are less than the length of active profile (above start of active profile-SAP) by up to 20%. This condition could be caused by a concentricity error between tooth grinding and shaping, or by unequal stock removal when grinding. (See Fig. 1.) Is it possible that some of the variation is coming from the inspection machine? How can variation from the inspection machine be reduced?