How has Gleason advanced gear metrology in the past 15 years?
Gleason Metrology Systems joined the Gleason organization as M&M Precision Systems in June 2005. Since then our advancements in gear metrology offerings have been significant. Along with adding new sizes of machines to address diameters up to three meters, the Windows based GAMA™ analysis software was introduced in 2007 and in recent years expanded to include non-gear measuring capability as we enter new markets. The push for inspection onto the shop floor and out of the labs led to our production hardened GMS®P series of machines with active vibration damping and thermal compensation capability.
Recently, the new GMS®L series of multi sensor machines was introduced that includes full flank form scanning using a non-contact laser sensor. Late in 2017 we introduced the GRSL which combines non-contact analytical inspection with traditional, functional double flank rolling on a single machine platform in manual, semi-automatic or fully automatic configurations. New product development is a continuous improvement process at Gleason. Visit this year’s IMTS this fall and you will see even more of what’s new from us.
Explain your “Voice of the Customer” approach and how it’s shaped metrology?
Gleason has a strong resource base of gear processing professionals including global product managers for the manufacturing processes Gleason offers. Gleason Metrology uses a lot of the feedback from the global product managers who work with customers on a regular basis to improve and develop their manufacturing processes. Gleason Metrology uses that feedback to drive the measurement requirements that come out of the challenges our customers face in dealing with new part tolerances, new geometries, strict surface requirements and new manufacturing technologies.
It’s a partnership with customers and within the Gleason organization: offering total gear processing solutions with the full portfolio advantage Gleason has, from gear design support up through the manufacturing and inspection of gears including cutting tools and workholding, all under the same ownership.
How has the Gleason 300GMSL revolutionized gear metrology?
The 300GMSL that we introduced was developed as a result of some of that “Voice of the Customer” feedback we mentioned. It is the only multi-sensor measuring machine with the amount of capability tied to gear measuring for both cylindrical and bevel gears that’s available on the marketplace today. It combines four different sensors for different types of tests and analysis onto a single machine platform. With this new approach, cost of ownership is significantly reduced by having all of this capability on one platform, with much better throughput by now having one machine with the capability of four machines. One of the sensor options is a non-contact laser sensor which allows the customer to measure the full flank form of the gear in a single pass along the gear surface.
Does the laser system keep the possibility of damage down?
Obviously, non-contact has advantages from a standpoint of not touching a part in case there’s sensitive material, sensitive finishes or things of that nature, but that’s not the big advantage. The value for the customer is that you can scan a complete gear flank in a single pass. This capability drastically improves throughput time typically required to measure the part when a topography type of measurement is preferred.
Full flank scanning is something that is being requested more frequently as customers realize traditional methods of both manufacturing and inspection are being challenged, with some of the requirements to reduce gear noise coming out of the growing hybrid and electric vehicle markets for example. Being able to scan the entire gear flank does not only reduce throughput time but also adds significantly more data sampling to help chase some of the sub-micron errors our customers are now seeking to control in their manufacturing processes.
Is there a strategy Gleason employs to keep ahead of the customers’ changing needs?
Going back to our “Voice of the Customer” strategy, what we do in conjunction with our global sales force and product managers is talk to our customers about what they’re seeing from their customers, and the challenges they face in exceeding their customers’ expectations. In addition to those conversations, Gleason is constantly looking at what’s new in the industries that we serve — new powertrain and transmission designs, the challenges of gear types involved in such new designs — and then speaking with the customers about the challenges they will face in manufacturing and inspecting the components of these specific designs.
Where do you see metrology in the next 15 years and Gleason’s role in it?
What you’re seeing today is that Gleason’s role is significant in several ways as a supplier of both inspection and manufacturing equipment. The Gleason 4.0 initiative we promote is driving more and more closed-loop feedback capability from the metrology machine with in-process, real-time corrections at the machine tool. Gleason 4.0 will be a driving force in our overall new product development throughout Gleason including Gleason Metrology Systems.
The growing requirements for tighter tolerances and greater throughput, along with design and process expertise, combined automation, and a global reach for support, offer significant challenges that we feel we are in a very strong position to add value for our customers. It’s an exciting time.
MORE INFO Douglas Beerck is vice president and general manager of
Gleason Metrology Systems. Go to www.gleason.com.