See a slideshow of equipment spotted at the 2013 edition of Gear Expo, the show’s largest edition in more than a decade.
Executive Editor, Modern Machine Shop
Invomilling is a proprietary gear-making technique developed by Sandvik with the cooperation of DMG/Mori Seiki. The process combines five-axis multitasking machines, off-the-shelf tooling and programming software in which the tool path determines the gear profile, not the shape of the cutter. Rave Gears and Machining, a gear manufacturer in Sequin, Texas, is an early adopter of this technology. In fact, it offered Invomilling demonstrations in its booth on this NLX 2500SY machine.
For shops with a three-axis machine and an indexer, Sandvik’s CoroMill172 full-form cutter can enable effective milling of gear profiles including the involute and crown. One cutter body can hold inserts with different profiles, which offers versatility compared to high speed steel tools. Typical delivery time for new insert profiles is 12 weeks.
Gleason’s 100PS power skiving machine offers an alternative to shaping and hobbing operations. It is said to be eight times faster than shaping and leaves behind a honed-like surface finish. This machine accommodates cylindrical external gears ranging to 100 mm in diameter; internal gears to 150 mm in diameter. A full tailstock can be used for skiving shafts.
The Liebherr LC 500 universal CNC gear hobbing machine was shown with an optional parts conveyor for automated operation. The machine performs a high speed dry hobbing introduced by Liebherr. It features design elements to address the new demands of modern high speed dry hobbing, including higher hob and table speeds, reliable removal of hot chips and management of considerable process heat.
In addition to showing various machine tools for gear production, Mazak’s booth featured this large ring and pinion set. Complete machining of these hardened components is possible on a multitasking machine, including finish turning the bore and finish milling the teeth in one fixturing. Because all edge radii are machined, no subsequent hand work is needed.
Kapp Technologies, located in Boulder, Colorado, recently announced that it would be the distributor of R&P Metrology GmbH for North America. R&P Metrology designs and builds gear metrology equipment, concentrating on medium and large applications. Its portable RPG PM 750 measuring machine is well-suited for inspecting very large gears on production equipment that doesn’t have onboard measurement capability. Thanks to its portability, the RPG PM 750 can be used on many machines within a manufacturer’s facility.
Norton’s latest Vitrium3 vitrified grinding wheel bond technology was developed to meet the demands of higher wheel speeds available with latest grinding machines. It is said to be the company’s toughest bond to date, featuring an exclusive chemistry that promotes excellent grain adhesion. Improved holding power with a lower bond-to-abrasive ratio enables increased exposure of the abrasive grains for an improved cut rate, less burn and reduced power consumption.
Wenzel’s four-axis WGT 280 with scanning probe is well-suited for measuring small gears, tools and shafts. The machine features an open design to facilitate part loading and a compact size to minimize its shopfloor footprint.
Drake’s GS:G2 four-axis profile gear grinder is suitable for high-production and job-shop environments, having the ability to produce a number of gear profiles. Its GearSmart menu-driven software simplifies programming, enabling users to create menu entries based on their own terminology.
Reishauer’s RZ 260 is a gear grinding machine that accommodates gears with outside diameters as big as 260 mm. It features a rotating workspindle turret for ample accessibility during set-up and loading as well as a completely enclosed working area to contain oil and oil mist. During grinding, its dresser moves into a protected parking position.
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In September, I spent a day at the Gear Expo, held at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indy. Presented by the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA), the biennial event is the world’s only conference and exposition designed exclusively for the gear industry. This year’s show featured more than 200 exhibitors—covering gear materials, machining and measurement—and is said to be the largest edition in more than a decade.
This was the first Gear Expo I’ve attended (it’s held every other year). I’m glad I did, because I was able to meet with some companies that I wasn’t as familiar with as I’d like to be. Here are ten things that caught my eye while I was there.