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Changing the Terms

June 20, 2012
Sheet metal forging and other ideas are “reforming” notions about what products can be “forged”

Sheet metal forging and other ideas are “reforming” notions about what products can be “ forged” Changing the Terms “Forging” is getting to be a very expansive concept, as developers apply forming and shaping concepts in new ways to produce a greater variety of parts. Responding to manufacturers’ interest in more efficient or flexible processes for making gears, Schuler introduced a production concept for forging gears from sheet metal and other specialty die applications to produce highspeed automatic transmission components.

In the first case, the new concept will give prospective manufacturers advantages for producing f lat parts with thicker wall diameters, like gears and flex plates. Schuler said its sheet metal forging technology also offers them the ability to stamp out parts that typically are machined.
During sheet metal forging, blanks moved from one station to another in a transfer press, including a heating sequence, which simplifies the task of forming materials in the die. Ultimately, the process increases the metal’s fatigue strength.

The developer said this new process is faster than current gearmaking methods and reduces manufacturing costs by up to 25%, and that it will produce materials that are lighter and stronger. Schuler added that its sheet-metal forging process will ensure maximum gear strength because it achieves a constant grain structure without overlap.

“Schuler’s expertise in die technology for advanced design concepts and process improvements has allowed its experts to develop a new approach that could change the way many common components are made,” according to Tim Mc- Caughey, president and CEO.

Other new concepts involve manufacturing high-speed automatice transmission components with in-die processes, like spline forming with in-die rollers, roll forming with smaller in-die rollers, and segment forming for taller, thinner components. “The market demand for clutch packs made from high-strength disc carriers with consistent tolerances and economic production methods continues to grow,” according Dr. Lars Gerlach, sales director, Schuler Cartec. “Schuler’s technology offers a highly productive solution that will improve our customer’s efficiency and profitability.”

For example, the spline forming technology is able to roll disc carriers with thinner and heavier materials to be formed using the in-die process. The process improvements mean manufacturers can achieve consistent dimensional accuracy for wall thickness, piston pockets, and major/minor diameters.
The system reduces part stress and minimizes material thin-out from end-to-end of the spline, while improving surface hardness by 25-30% and run-out tolerances of +/- 0.15 mm. Also, Schuler reported its one-step process is faster than standard systems, increasing production rates while integrating oil holes and dams, and snap ring grooves into the tooling.

A patented, smaller in-die roller process is designed for components that require high centrifugal forces. This method shortens process time because it is able to draw-and-roll in one die, using smaller rollers and a special bearing design, according to the developer. Using this method, components can be partially rolled using smaller rollers and the spline can be rolled close to the reinforcement ring. By combining the draw-and-roll station, Schuler’s process allows parts to be formed in fewer stations, reducing die size and cost.

Another patented process, for segment forming, allows taller components with thin initial sheet thicknesses to be spline-rolled without material thinning. It means that parts can be rolled over the full length, allowing for reinforcement rings in the middle and tapered lead-ins to ease clutch plate assembly.
“Schuler continues to bring pioneering technologies to market to improve product quality and design, and help build stronger and more durable products,” according to Tim Mc- Caughey.