A group of manufacturing machines employed precision spur gears as the timing mechanism for machine operations. These machines had worked successfully for about ten years with little or no problems with gear wear or deterioration. When new machines were brought on line with recently made gears there were immediate problems with gear tooth scoring.
A laboratory study was conducted to determine if metallurgical conditions were related to the gear scoring. Recent gears were made from a modification of the alloy used in early gears. The new alloy had been modified to make it more resistant to softening in coating operations. Reciprocating wear tests and galling tests were conducted to compare the tribological characteristics of the old and new gear steels.
It was determined that the threshold galling stress of the gear steels was strongly dependent on the hardness. The reciprocating wear tests indicated that the wear resistance was affected by the volume fraction of hard phases in the steels. The recommended short-term solution was to alter the tempering procedure for the steel to keep Rockwell C hardness above 60; the long-term solution was to change the gear material and lubrication.
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