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Set Your Gears in Motion

Innovative tools and equipment are available to support today’s gear manufacturing processes and keep the wheels of production spinning.

Posted: October 24, 2021

The Helios Diamond Dressing System Wheel.
Pictured is a two-zone continuous generating grinding and superfinishing wheel.
KHK’s helical gears are suitable wherever high-speed rotation is required, including in machine tools.
The INTEGREX i-630V AG is designed for heavy-duty 5-axis machining and large, highly complex parts.


Extend tool life with products that are backed by the latest technologies and experts focused on gear manufacturing processes.

Helios Gear Products LLC (South Elgin, IL) offers its latest line of abrasives backed with dedicated application engineers specifically for gear manufacturers. Demand for ground gears continues to grow, especially in the automotive and truck power transmission industries, and manufacturers require improved solutions for abrasive tools.

Helios Gear Products has supported manufacturers and this need for decades with world-leading tools for the hard finishing of gears. These tools cover all applications for gearing, including form grinding wheels, continuous generating grinding wheels, diamond dressing tools, honing rings, bevel grinding cups, and traditional solutions for OD and ID grinding.

Gear grinding means quality, so manufacturers require state-of-the-art abrasive tools. The Helios abrasives line includes tools that use the latest technology for ceramic and aluminum oxide grains and bonds. For example, the Tyrolit Burka-Kosmos Mira Ice series of form (single-profile) grinding wheels use the latest grains combined with an innovative, high-strength bond system and increased porosity to achieve industry-leading “cool” grinding. Put simply, Mira Ice enables gear manufacturers to push the envelope on speeds and feeds. Said Tim Lee, technical sales manager — hard finishing for Helios, “It is not uncommon for gear manufacturers to decrease cycle times 20-to-30 percent by switching to an optimized grinding wheel technology, such as Helios’s Mira line. Additionally, manufacturers can extend tool life dramatically by optimizing their processes (engineering their applications) with the Helios team.”

Helios abrasives line solutions for gear manufacturers include tools for generating grinding, tool dressing, honing (with the industry’s shortest lead times), and bevel gear grinding, which meet the Helios standard of globally competitive manufacturing solutions. Many of these tools are manufactured in cutting-edge European and U.S. factories, preparing users to serve global markets.

Choosing a tool specification (spec) can be a daunting task. Some manufacturers make a conservative choice and use a traditional spec employed at relatively slow speeds and feeds. By leaning on the Helios team of application engineers, gear manufacturers can reap the benefits offered by contemporary wheel specs. The engineers become a powerful tool for the gear manufacturer’s team. Consequently, Helios advises on optimal wheel specs to push the limits of an application’s cycle times, tool life and part quality. “Successful manufacturers know that what comes in the box is not just a grinding tool but also the team of engineers to support it,” said David Harroun, vice president of Helios.

By using Helios engineers for application support, manufacturers optimally use their resources: tool life, machining time, and tool costs.

KHK USA Inc., (Mineola, NY) distributor of the market leading KHK® brand of metric gears, offers an extensive line of helical gears, manufactured to the highest quality standards by Kohara Gear Industry Co., of Japan. KHK’s large selection of stock helical gears are suitable wherever high-speed rotation is required, including in machine tools, speed reducers and other industrial machinery.

Helical gears are cylindrical disks that have involute-shaped teeth cut into their face at a helix angle. By slanting the teeth, helical gears can obtain a large contact ratio and the gradual change to the contact surface load, which gives helical gears their characteristic of smooth transmission of rotation. Consequently, compared to spur gears, helical gears generate less vibration and noise and perform better in high-speed rotation and high-load applications.

Two categories are available. Ground Helical Gears (KHG) feature exceptional strength and wear resistance that allow designs to be more compact. KHGs use a “transverse” module. The assembly distance is the same as spur gear pairs with the same module and number of teeth, and therefore KHG are often used as drop-in replacements for spur gears to achieve all of the advantages of helical gears without the need to change the rest of the gear train.

KHK also offers Helical Gears (SH) that feature larger contact ratios compared to stainless steel spur gears. SHs are very effective in reducing noise and vibration.

KHK helical gears are offered in alloy steel and carbon steel, with many configurations of modules and numbers of teeth.

Mazak Corp.’s (Florence, KY) INTEGREX i-630V AG HYBRID Multi-Tasking Machine allows machine shops to add gear cutting to their parts processing capabilities, eliminating the need to outsource the work. The machine is built on Mazak’s powerful INTEGREX milling and turning platform and performs gear milling, hobbing and skiving with its SMOOTH Gear Cutting software suite, which features SMOOTH Gear Milling, SMOOTH Gear Hobbing and SMOOTH Gear Skiving.

Equipped with Mazak’s MAZATROL SmoothAi control, SMOOTH Gear Cutting software and additional rotary axis scale feedback, the INTEGREX i-630V AG eliminates the guesswork often associated with gear cutting, particularly in terms of programming and the synchronization of turning/milling spindles at high rpm. The results are a far more refined cutting action and smoother gear teeth surface finishes.

Designed for heavy-duty 5-axis machining and large, highly complex parts, the INTEGREX i-630V AG employs a powerful turning spindle with C-axis control and a rigid milling spindle with B-axis tilt of -30/+120 degrees, both of which are monitored via rotary axis scale feedback.

For effective gear skiving, the mill spindle and the turning spindle must be synchronized, as any fluctuation in the turning spindle or milling spindle speeds will cause vibration and poor surface quality. If either spindle starts to fluctuate or drift off target speed, the SMOOTH Gear Cutting software automatically adjusts cutting parameters. Without the software, such corrections are very difficult to make in real time, if not impossible.

The software eliminates the need to program the part offline or on a CAM system and ensures synchronization. It provides a graphical user interface on the machine’s control, and users simply fill in various fields with information such as number of gear teeth, pressure angles and the like. With this information, the control will then generate a program that runs in the background as the toolpath is created.

The SmoothAi control runs the SMOOTH Gear Cutting software and delivers powerful digital enhancements that add efficiency and value throughout the machining process with the power of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and advanced data management technology. The control incorporates a wide variety of advanced programming functions for complete ease of use and to ensure high-speed, high-accuracy machining performance.

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