THE new Hofler CNC gear profile-form grinding machine, recently commissioned by Melbourne gear manufacturer Ronson Gears, is a state-of-the-art facility that significantly advances the capability of Australian gear manufacturing.
The problems inherent in the highly specialised and capital-intensive world of local gear manufacturing and concern for the aging of Australia's gear manufacturing plant and equipment, have long been apparent.
"The demise of companies in the gear industry due to minimal investment, resulted in our company embarking on a program to address the lack of world competitive capability in Australia, as far back as 1996," Ronson Gears director Gordon New said.
The purchase of the company's first CNC gear hobber at that time was the beginning of the new era for Australian gear manufacturing and has created a niche market for the company, which produces highly specialised gears for local manufacturers.
Providing for the defense, mining, agriculture, printing, industrial gearbox manufacture and special machinery industries, the new Hofler CNC gear grinder has many features that enhance grinding accuracy.
Sector grinding, which evens out wheel wear;
In process CNC dressing, where the wheel is dressed several times within one complete grinding cycle;
A grinding oil cooling and purification plant which helps maintain the machine at constant temperature and at the same time ensuring no grinding particles are circulating into the grinding process.
The machine features an integrated on-board measuring system for inspection of involute, lead, and pitch, dramatically shortening set-up, development, and process checking times.
This feature can be used for pre-grind evaluation, allowing for error correction prior to the final grinding cycle. It also doubles as a final inspection tool. Printed charts can be provided to customers as verification of the quality level achieved.
Since January 2001, Ronson Gears has invested more than $2 million in products such as the high production bevel gear generator, a second fully automated CNC gear hobbing machine and now the CNC gear grinding machine.
Goods and services from Ronson Gears are also exported worldwide. These include components for the USA and European auto industry and after-market automotive products, gears for the sugar industry and heavy vehicles, and gear components for aircraft and defence.
The company now boasts an impressive array of high technology equipment, including two automated CNC gear hobbing machines that are busy cutting parts for end users the world over.