Investigations on five-axis milling and subsequent five-axis grinding of gears
High-productivity processes such as gear hobbing and gear grinding are normally used in the manufacturing of gears. In some applications, however, the use of these processes is not possible due to accessibility. One example is the production of planetary gears with double helical teeth for the gear box in modern aircraft engines. The gear boxes are used to increase the efficiency of the engines but should be as light and compact as possible. Thus, the tool runout area for gear hobbing or gear grinding tools is too small. One way of manufacturing these gears is five-axis machining. While five-axis milling of gears has been the subject of several publications, five-axis grinding of gears has hardly been a topic. This paper presents the results of investigations on five-axis milling and subsequent five-axis grinding of gears in comparison to conventionally manufactured gears. For this purpose, after hardening, gears were first five-axis milled and then five-axis ground using different process parameters and then investigated on back-to-back test rigs regarding load carrying capacity. In addition, the dimensional accuracy was measured and the surfaces were examined metallographically. The dimensional accuracy became worse after five-axis grinding. However, in terms of gear life, the five-axis milled and then five-axis ground variant showed an increase of 8.2 % compared to the conventionally manufactured gear which indicates a high potential for further research in regard to the presented five-axis machining process chain of gears.