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AUTOMOTIVE GEARMAKING


skiving hobbing and the other for generating grind- ing. Generating grinding is becoming a common process for gears post heat treating. The grinding tool resembles a worm gear with a grinding coat. Like hobbing, both the tool and the workpiece rotate rapidly in precise relation to one another.


Speed and Cost


“Cost is always a concern with automakers,” said Loyd Koch, vice president and founder of Bourn and Koch (Rockford, IL), citing another challenge amidst the boom. Bourn and Koch supplies a wide range of machine tools under 25 different brands, includ- ing gear shaping machines. “Each time they add a speed to the transmission, that translates into them buying a lot more machine tools and may require setting up a new plant to make those transmis- sions,” he said. However, he stressed that even after a contract is awarded, there is usually a cost improvement rate written in


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GMTA provides accurate gear cutting through their trademark scudding process, described as a cross between hobbing and shaving by the company.


“Our pride in workmanship assures product quality every time”


Thread Mills Port Tools Indexable Tools Single Point Tools Coolant Through Specialty Tools


Scientific Cutting Tools


Scientific Cutting Tools proudly celebrates over 50 years of industry excellence. Our dreams are still the same today. SCT is fully committed to unparalleled craftsmanship, dynamic innovation, and customer satisfaction.


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requiring incremental year-over-year reductions. “They fi gure once you get out of the engineering stage and into production, you should be able to get better tools, better tool materials, better coatings, and faster machines. We try to accommodate them by building ever faster machine tools,” he said. Star SU is a supplier of the cutting tools used by gear shapers like the Fellows 10-4 that Bourn and Koch supplies. “From our standpoint, the shaping end of it, they are looking for high speeds, but the tools have a big impact on that. It does not make any sense for the machine to go faster than the tool can tolerate. As tool life improves, then that pushes the speed of the machines,” explained Koch. To make advanced machines that can drive the improved tools, he explained, it is important to have linear motors replace ball screws. Using advanced CAE tools to provide the lightest yet strongest machine movements is just as vital. “It is impor- tant to not overdesign gear shaping machine tools. That is especially true with linear motors. Those devices are fast and they do not like having to move a lot of weight,” he said. He compares today’s machine tools to designing an airplane, with honeycombs and special shapes to reduce weight.


Lighter Gears, Better Fuel Economy Most of the original processing methods and innovations for gear manufacturing date to the early 1900s (or before), accord- ing to Scott Yoders, vice president of sales for Liebherr (Saline, MI), including the invention of hobbing, shaping, and skiving. However incremental improvements and attention to detail can have profound impact on the quality of automotive transmis-


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