Untreated metal spur gears can do a good job; however, they sometimes lack the strength for heavy-duty applications. To get a stronger and longer-lasting gear, it pays to look at hardened products. These gears have been through a specific treatment at the end of the manufacturing process to reinforce their exterior. This makes them more robust.
There are various ways to harden spur gears. For example, you can use flame, induction or carburised treatments. While these options all have some advantages, you may be better off looking at gears that have gone through laser hardening.
What are the benefits of this kind of laser treatment?
More Consistent Hardening
Some hardening treatments don't give even and consistent results. For example, if you use a manual flame heating process, then it is difficult to heat all parts of the gear to the same level. You might apply more heat to some parts of the gear and less to others.
This could reduce the overall strength of the gear and shorten its working life. If it has weak areas, then it might fail too soon.
The hardening effect you get from a laser process is more controllable. Typically, this is a mechanical process that applies identical amounts of laser energy all over the gear. You shouldn't end up with uneven hardness levels.
No Reduction in Quality
It can be difficult to maintain the integrity and quality of a gear when you treat it with heat. It is also hard to get precise results if you're only working on a specific area.
If you heat a gear, then its metal gets hot. This could distort the metal and change the overall structure of the gear. If it degrades at all, then the gear's quality reduces. It may be harder, but it loses some of its structural stability.
Plus, it is hard to heat individual areas of a gear with traditional thermal-hardening methods. You often get a heat transfer that then also affects parts close to the area on which you're working.
Laser hardening works much more quickly. You should be able to harden a gear without heating it up. So, there shouldn't be any quality loss at the end of the treatment. It's also a lot easier to work on individual areas without affecting other parts of the gear. If the area you work on stays cool, it can't transfer heat anywhere else.
To find out more about your options, talk to a spur gear manufacturer.