Integrated Optimization of Gear Design and Manufacturing
The word “optimization” is becoming fashionable, also with regard to gear design. It is applied to both macro-geometry and micro-geometry. The approach can be of various types: analytical pre-optimization with different objectives, bulk generation of variants, multi-objective and multi-disciplinary commercial optimizers, generative optimization, and even artificial intelligence. Sometimes the best solution is presented directly, other times the choice is left to the user according to multiple criteria. However, these are all scenarios that assume that the manufacturer will accept any geometry indicated by the designer. This is not certainly the case with the industrial gearboxes on catalog, for which standard cutting tools are used to reduce cost and keep available the interchange of suppliers; nor with special gearboxes, “goods to order,” in which the producers try to use cutting tools already in the tool room. Even in the automotive industry, however, manufacturers try to use existing cutting tools as much as possible, at least during prototyping and for small batches.
After presenting some design optimization techniques adopted in different companies, the focus of the paper shifts to some business scenarios where manufacturing has been equipped with a software for a semi-automatic selection of hobbing and pinion type tools, starting from the macro-geometry of the gear. In particular, it will look at the case where a paper database of more than ten thousand hobs, with different dimensioning modes, has requested to be harmonized into a single computer database. The software allows the search for hob even with “modified rolling,” a method very widespread in the automotive industry, practically “unknown” for industrial gearboxes.
Finally, for companies that have both design and manufacturing departments, a design optimization with a list of cutting tools as main boundary will be presented.
Author: Massimiliano Turci
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