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Gear Inspection Drives Onto The Shop-Floor

Gleason are adding significant value to shop floor gear inspection, addressing shop floor bottlenecks including waiting time for gear lab availability or higher quality demands regarding gear noise, power density, and reliability with the availability of two new solutions.

Gear Lab Integrates Into the Production Flow

The Gleason 300GMSP Gear Inspection System operates just as reliably in most shop floor environments as it would in a tightly controlled lab environment. Manufacturers can install the advanced gear metrology evaluation system in close proximity to production machines eliminating both the time wasted transporting finished gears to the lab and the additional time necessary for parts to work their way through the lab queue.

While the GMSP delivers all the same capabilities and functionality as the other systems in Gleason’s GMS machine series, it features a completely new ‘shop hardened’ design that makes it impervious to the significant temperature, vibration and contamination variations common to the factory floor. A proprietary machine base material is used that’s more suitable than the typical granite machine base for the sustained higher temperatures of the shop floor. The use of this new base material, coupled with a completely new patented ‘H’ base design with active leveling system, has proven to be an excellent solution. The new base design consists of a bottom base with four air springs mounted on risers, which support the machine work platform. These air springs detect, and automatically compensate for, vibratory forces on the fly, such that the machine work platform (axes, table and workpiece) is both isolated from and immune to vibration seen in typical gear production environments.

The high precision guidance systems used to position linear and rotary axes on most inspection systems are inherently susceptible to even minor temperature changes.  The use of enclosed glass scales ensures exceptional accuracies, but also come with a thermal co-efficient. The GMSP uses a new type of scale produced from a material that has essentially zero thermal expansion within the typical shop floor temperature range. While scales of this material type must be left open rather than enclosed, they are exceptionally resistant to dirt. In addition, the GMSP’s new design helps mitigate the collection of particulates that can build up on scale surfaces and reduce accuracy and reliability.

The new GMSP also incorporates a system of new software and sensors that work in combination to detect, and compensate for, typical thermal fluctuations found on the shop floor. This ability to identify and apply compensation for factory floor temperature influences in real-time contributes greatly to GMSP’s exceptional accuracies in an uncontrolled temperature environment.

Like all the GMS series products, the GMSP features GAMA 3, Gleason’s object-oriented Windows 10 compatible operating software that puts a host of powerful features right at the operator’s fingertips, creating a simple, intuitive human/machine interface. With GAMA 3, creating a new program is as easy as point and click, and can be done in a few easy steps regardless of experience level, language requirements or the gear or application type.

GAMA supports multiple analysis tools to help identify the root cause of gear noise, including Fourier analysis of bearing surfaces, tooth contact analysis, surface finish analysis and easy interface with KTEPS software.

With GAMA 3, VDI/VDE 2610 GDE (Gear Data Exchange) capability is standard, reducing the need for redundant programming and allowing gear data/parameters to be easily transportable between different machines. The GMSP is easily networked with Gleason production machines in a Closed Loop, allowing program corrections to be made at the machine tool real time.

In-Process Gear Inspection – 100% Quality Control

On the other end of the production spectrum, where transmission gears are being produced in high volumes and inspection of every gear in-process is increasingly desirable, Gleason offers its new GRSL Gear Rolling System with non-contact laser inspection. GRSL combines the latest non-contact gear analytical measurement innovation with the proven double flank roll test gear inspection process used today in most high-volume gear production where 100% inspection is required. This new product follows the strategy of the recently introduced multi-purpose GMSL non-contact inspection system from Gleason. Where the GMSL was developed to exceed the requirements of today’s stringent gear processing research, development and reverse engineering needs, the GRSL brings high accuracy, high speed, non-contact measurement of gears in-process to the high-volume production environment, where performance expectations have never been higher.

The new GRSL product stays true to the strategy Gleason’s partner customers continue to request. It adds value by adding measuring capability with multiple sensors on a common platform to reduce cost of ownership, the number of operators required and the footprint. In addition, it adds throughput by measuring both the composite, functional error and the individual part characteristics of involute, index and lead, simultaneously during the same revolution of the gear during the test cycle.

The patent pending, dual purpose inspection system provides additional value by offering the versatile GRSL platform in three different configurations for use as a stand-alone manual gauge, a semi-automatic gauge or even as a fully automated gauge where high volume throughput is the priority. Tests for full analytical results of both involute and index are performed on all teeth for most external, cylindrical gears up to 250 mm diameter in a matter of seconds along with the composite double flank roll test, again, with both tests taking place simultaneously.

With the new GRSL, the power of high-speed involute, index and lead measurements also comes with the ability to integrate with Gleason’s GAMA gear analysis and charting output. Options for AGMA, DIN, ISO as well as OEM specific analysis are available for the measurements, with common charting typical of the entire GMS line of analytical machines.

Consider the process control possibilities of full, high speed involute, index and lead measurement in process, inline. Add to that the ability to network this data in a Closed Loop directly to the machine tool using Gleason Connect to communicate results that can assist in determining necessary changes to the machine tool, the cutting tool, part setup, etc.

Taken a step further, GRSL can now be fully integrated into Gleason’s new Hard Finishing Cell (HFC), the Closed Loop manufacturing system for the production of precision gears in medium and high volumes. The system includes revolutionary in-line gear checking with real-time analysis and automatic feedback of corrections to a Gleason 260GX Threaded Wheel Grinding Machine, as well as integration of modules for auxiliary processes such as part washing and marking. Parts handling throughout the process is fully automated using high-speed robot and pallet system.

All of this is now available, fully integrated with the traditional double flank roll, composite testing still called out on most part prints today in high volume gear production.

Integrated, Detailed Noise Analysis

The possibilities are exciting to think about and the capabilities continue to grow. Along with analytical measurements of gear parameters being measured in process in a matter of seconds, the same data acquired during the all teeth measurement can be analyzed using Gleason’s analysis for noise characteristics seen in gears before they are assembled with a mating gear into a gearbox. Tolerances tied to these values can be monitored and controlled in more advanced, quantifiable methods than just go/no-go audio measurements shown in traditional single flank and end of line testers used today.

The value in predicting noise characteristics before the gear is ever assembled with a mating gear, a master gear or worse case in the gearbox itself is significant. It reduces the need for hard masters, a perishable component that needs certified and replaced regularly. It eliminates the need to tear down a finished gearbox to replace or rework gears tied to the noise.

The new GRSL technology when added with Gleason’s noise analysis reduces both gear lab space requirements and the use of analytical gear inspection machines, since GRSL operates on the shop floor and can do the work of multiple inspection systems by measuring in process. It minimizes the need for single flank testers and other end-of-line testers with the noise analysis data it provides.  It also reduces gearbox teardown and gear rework chasing gear noise. The GRSL also offers the flexibility of operating the analytical and composite, double flank tests independent of one another if desired. This can offer advantages such as extending the life of the master gear if, for example, it is determined that not all parts require double flank composite testing. The power and flexibility of this new technology is currently unmatched in today’s market and continues to grow.

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