[Video] Closing the Loop around Faster, More Predictable Gear Production

Posted by: 13. April 2016

In the Gear Production Supplement to April’s Modern Machine Shop magazine, contributor Ray Chalmers writes about closed-loop gear production, which minimizes operator input and automatically matches the finished product to the gear’s design concept by combining the capabilities of design software, multitasking machining and metrology.

Chalmers explains that this sort of closed-loop production has the potential to open up gear production to a more diverse range of machine shops, which may have previously been restrained by gear production’s specialty machines and characteristically distinct processes (such as hobbing, skiving and scudding).

This week, Mazak and Dontyne Systems announced an exclusive collaboration to develop and market such a closed-loop system. Renishaw and Advanced Industrial Measurement Systems (AIMS) have also been involved with Mazak, providing metrology equipment to this end. The closed-loop system of the kind Chalmers describes comprises three main elements:

  • Dontyne’s Gear Design Pro software

  • Mazak’s Integrex i-100ST milling and turning center which is capable of performing the appropriate processes for gear cutting

  • Renishaw’s Equator gaging system

Together, Chalmers explains, these tools reduce the intensive gear production process from days to hours while improving traceability and repeatability.

Here’s Mike Finn, national applications engineer with Mazak, at the PRI 2015 booth demonstrating how it works:

According to Mazak, the closed-loop process consists of the following steps:

  1. Design gear or import gear design (including analysis, optimization and simulation).

  2. Export IGES/DXF tooth surface designs to a CAD/CAM system to create a solid model and G code. (By IMTS 2016 in September, the ability to post code directly from Gear Design Pro to the Integrex machine will reportedly eliminate this step.)

  3. Post G code to the Mazak Integrex.

  4. Machine the part.

  5. Inspect, measure the part using an accurate CMM.

  6. Import measured data back to software for comparative analysis.

  7. Post new G code and machine corrected part.

Read Chalmer’s article for a more detailed explanation of these steps.

Additionally, you should check out this application feature from the June 2015 Gear Production Supplement following Rave Gears through the closed-loop process for streamlining its production of spiral bevel gears. 

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