In the March 2001 issue, we introduced the Höfler Helix 700 CNC gear grinder with “hold-your-breath” assertions that it would be a highly flexible, quick to set up, accurate, cost effective, work center. It didn’t take long before we were breathing again.
Over the last two and a half years, we have over 250 part programs on file. These range from one-offs to repeat production runs. We have pushed the limits of the machine from 27 DP (.94 MOD) to 2 DP (12.7 MOD); from 1.5″ (38 mm) to 27.4″ (696 mm). The 27 DP was ground from solid for a prototype job where no hob was available.
Flexibility of the machine was key to our success over this vast range of parts. Four variations in grinding wheels and a modular tooling system allow us to complete most jobs with little or no additional tooling.
With the on-board gauging system, quality is a no-brainer. A part is rough ground and inspected in the machine. Any necessary corrections are made to the program and the machine is set for final size. The resulting quality has exceeded expectations. AGMA Q15 is attainable… AGMA 12 the norm!
We’ve been fortunate. During this rather slow time in the gear industry, this machine has generated the work to keep it busy an average of 80 hours a week. Our new goal – more of the same and another Höfler.