Multi-Wheel Grinding of Big Gears
New profile grinding technology is said to significantly improve productivity for big gears by grinding four tooth flanks simultaneously.
Manufacturers of large gears for wind power and other industries strive to minimize part-production time while optimizing surface finishes. New profile grinding technology from Gleason, called Opti-Grind, is said to significantly improve productivity and quality levels for cylindrical gears as large as 6 meters in diameter. It does this by using multiple parallel wheels simultaneously for profile grinding instead of just a single grinding wheel that is typically used.
The Opti-Grind option is available on new profile grinding machines ranging from the company’s P 400 G model its P 6000 G. When optimum productivity is required, the Opti-Grind system can be as much as 40 percent faster using the multiple wheels to rough-grind four tooth flanks simultaneously compared to a single wheel roughing only two tooth flanks at once. The system can then finish-grind conventionally using a single wheel that has been dressed to produce the desired surface finishes and flank modifications (including grinding of the critical root area without burning). It is said to provide three times better surface finish than conventional processes with the potential to eliminate subsequent processes such as polishing or super finishing.
Gleason’s Windows-based Intelligent Dialogue software is used in conjunction with a Siemens 840D CNC to simplify setup and operation. A grinding technology database recommends and optimizes the production strategy before machining starts, enabling even less experienced operators to manufacture high-quality parts more productively, the company says.
The double-disc grinding process is consolidating its position in automotive applications but is moving into other industries. Double-disc grinders are now easier to operate, and they have added capabilities for control flexibility, precision process control, faster changeovers, and grinding of nontraditional materials.
Roughing and finishing on a single machine, using a single setup, has appeal for most shops. The advantages in time savings and accuracy are obvious. Eliminating the transport of workpieces between machines, as well as the setup for those secondary operations, is a boon for throughput. Critical features that need to maintain dimensional relationships can be much more reliably produced if machined complete in one clamping.
If one must pick a manufacturing specialty, grinding carbide might not be the first choice because it’s perceived to be very difficult. RPM Carbide Die, however, has worked the material for nearly 40 years and, as specializing seems increasingly to be the order of the day, this northern Ohio shop is in a good position to thrive.