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You get one shot to make a first impression. One opportunity to show your customers, vendors and suppliers that you provide a steady, reliable product that will generate repeat business. How do you make this happen? What tools and strategies are available to get gear materials (forgings, gear blanks, etc.) shipped faster and more efficiently in today's tech-heavy, fast-paced, manufacturing environment?
For this yearâ€™s exercise in large gears, weâ€™re not going to dwell on size range or length, merely look at the fundamental challenges and latest technologies required to manufacture large parts in the gear industry. This could be a gearbox assembly for the construction, mining or oil and gas industries or simply a large standalone gear pinion set for a custom application. Whatever the industry or application, large gears require more preparation, planning and precision than other areas of gear manufacturing.
Traditionally, high-quality gears are cut to shape from forged blanks. Great accuracy can be obtained through shaving and grinding of tooth forms, enhancing the power capacity, life and quietness of geared power transmissions. In the 1950s, a process was developed for forging gears with teeth that requires little or no metal to be removed to achieve final geometry. The initial process development was undertaken in Germany for the manufacture of bevel gears for automobile differentials and was stimulated by the lack of available gear cutting equipment at that time. Later attention has turned to the forging of spur and helical gears, which are more difficult to form due to the radial disposition of their teeth compared with bevel gears. The main driver of these developments, in common with most component manufacturing, is cost. Forming gears rather than cutting them results in increased yield from raw material and also can increase productivity. Forging gears is therefore of greater advantage for large batch quantities, such as required by the automotive industry.
Near-net gear forging today is producing longer life gears at significantly lower costs than traditional manufacturing techniques. Advances in forging equipment, controls and die-making capability have been combined to produce commercially viable near-net-shape gears in diameters up to 17" with minimum stock allowances. These forged gears require only minimal finishing to meet part tolerance specifications.
Business is finally starting to get back to usual in the big gear world, which offers us a chance to look back at the greatest lesson on how to survive an economic downturn. Includes the sidebar: "Brass Tacks with Klingelnberg."
The following article highlights some of the new heat treat products, technologies and industry news articles that have come across our desks.
Traditional methods of manufacturing precision gears usually employ either hobbing or shaper cutting. Both of these processes rely upon generating the conjugate tooth form by moving the work-piece in a precise relation to the tool. Recently, attention has been given to forming gear teeth in a single step. Advantages to such a process include reduced production time, material savings, and improved performance characteristics. Drawbacks include complicated tool designs, non-uniformity of gears produced throughout the life of the tooling, and lengthy development times.
Gary A. Bish, director of product design technology for Horsburgh & Scott, discusses his role as chairman of the AGMA mill gearing committee.
Quality, materials and technology continue to challenge the big gear manufacturing market.
How you can get involved in a grassroots movement to save American manufacturing--and the American economy.
A review of "A Nation on Borrowed Time," a book by Joe Arvin and Scott Newton about the decline of America's ability to create wealth through manufacturing, and its effect on the overall economy.
The higher load carrying capacities, compact dimensions and longer life of hardened gears is an accepted fact in industry today. However, the costs involved in case hardening and subsequent finishing operations to achieve these advantages are considerable. For example, in order to achieve desired running properties on larger gears, it has been necessary to grind the tooth flanks. This costly operation can now be replaced, in many cases, by a new Hard Cutting (HC) process which permits the cutting of hardened gears while maintaining extremely low tooling costs.