The quality of the gears in the planetary wheels is vital to the energy efficiency and service life of the wind turbines. The raw material – large steel blocks – are first tempered before being transported to pre-machining using automated guided vehicles. A data matrix code is assigned to each part during initial machining. Following pre-machining, the gear wheels are transferred to the hardening area where it is always warm and cozy – even in the winter. This provides the surfaces of the gear wheels with an extra hard shell.
The next step is to grind the hardened gears. During run-in of the grinding process, the first parts are measured on a manually fed CenterMax directly on the shopfloor. Volume production can begin once the quality has been ensured and the process set up. During serial production, a gantry robot – automated, of course – transports the components to the next quality inspection station after grinding, where another CenterMax waits. The gantry robot then moves the gear wheels to the different processing stations, where the gears are cleaned and their tempered surfaces inspected using the Barkhausen noise method. Once again, it's off to quality inspection – and CenterMax.