Gears and higher performance cars are synonymous. Terms like grabbing gears, grinding gears, and turning gears are common with gear heads. With this amount of respect paid to the component, how much thought is actually given to how gears are really made, and who actually makes them?
Much like the rest of the mechanized world, we are fascinated with how things are made. Getting a chance to look behind the curtain of the manufacturing process is a full-time hobby for most of us in the automotive world. Recently we were on a search to see how gears are made and came across a video that we had covered several years ago.
We don’t want to imply that things do not change in the manufacturing process, because they frequently do. Standards change, technology changes, and sometimes even the material changes. In the case of this video, the basic process is still the same and the time tested manufacturing of transmission gears has kept our cars on the road, shifting gears as we go.
Eaton, a worldwide leader in forged gear manufacturing, begins the gear-making process by cutting and shaping steel from long rods of raw material. Those lengths of steel are cut in different lengths depending on the need, then shaped into blanks through a flashless forging process. When the video was shot, over 80-percent of Eaton’s forging was done using this process.
The video shows the blanks transported on a conveyor system where it is cooled properly. If it is cooled to quickly, the gear will be too hard or too brittle for use in automotive transmissions or rearends. Once properly cooled, the gears are shipped out for use.
As we explained in the opening, Eaton’s manufacturing processes are continuously changing, mainly for product quality, but a high priority is placed on making a safe work environment for everyone in the company. This is also represented in the film.
The next time mash the clutch and reach down to row some gears, think about the forging process that allows you to enjoy shifting these mechanical marvels.