CASE STUDY: TDL’s Mastery in Helical Gear Mold Manufacturing

I. Introduction

Never worrying about people’s pessimistic approach to manufacturing has been an advantage that injection mold manufacturing offers, especially for intricate devices like helical gear.

However, finding a reliable mold manufacturing partner that understands the quality, precision, and nuances required to manufacture a flawless helical gear can pose a new set of challenges.

Thankfully, TDL Moulds’ expertise and dedication to crafting high-accuracy molds make them a favorite partner for many industries. As you’ll see in this case study, their extensive years and consistent track record of quality mold production make them outstanding in the mold production industry.

To understand what we are saying, let’s delve into the meticulous and transformative process of TDL mold manufacturing for this essential automotive component – the helical gear.

II. Customer Demands

Picture any automotive brand with defective or nonexistent helical gear, and you’ve got a bubbly recipe for disaster. The pivotal role of helical gears in the effective transmission of power in an automotive device is indispensable and requires a high level of manufacturing precision.

There is no doubt that demands for custom automotive parts have soared in recent years, including helical gears. This rise in demand is to meet the innovation of automotive designers, which is why precision has become nonnegotiable for these components.

That is why having a partner like TDL with engineering teams that fully understand the critical roles of defect-free gears in automotive applications comes in handy. For this case study, the client demands a helical gear with high tooth surface accuracy, runout error control, and pitch error reduction.

Additionally, the standard requirements for high-quality mold manufacturing, including defect-free, precisely dimensioned parts, and short lead times, are also required by the client. Fortunately, TDL has the proficiency and experience to deliver these client’s requests and even more. Their commitment to precision that extends beyond mere functionality is evident in their assurance of a seamless gear transmission that enhances the overall vehicle performance.

TDL’s understanding and addressing of customer’s precise requirements are fueled by their commitment to customer satisfaction, driven by continuous innovation and a passion to meet the highest standards of reliability, quality, and efficiency.


Overview of Mold Layout

III. Mold Description

Gearboxes, wheel axles, engines, and differential assemblies are all direct applications of helical gears within an automotive arrangement. Their facilitation of smooth and effective transmission of power through the shafts makes them vital components in this system.

Consequently, the mold required to produce this gear must address all the challenges that undermine the production of helical gears that transmit torque noiselessly by means of precisely cut spiral teeth designed with great care. However, the details of this design will be based on the consideration of critical factors described by TDL’s design team.

Most importantly, the cavity of the gear mold must precisely align with the gear tooth dimension for effective noise and vibration reduction when the helical gear transmits torque through the shafts. Furthermore, the mold should address issues like draft angle that directly affects the ejection of parts from the mold, ensuring that the mold ejection system is both functional and effective.

Again, the glue feeding balance and shrinkage uniformity are challenges that the mold needs to overcome for a faultless, functional, and visually appealing helical gear to emerge. TDL’s mold manufacturing process effectively accounts for the challenges often encountered in helical gear mold manufacturing, such as shrinkage uniformity, ejection structure, and glue feeding balance.

These challenges encounter TDL’s high precision and reliability, ensuring that the stringent performance and quality requirements by industry standards and customers are met.

 Gating Proposal

IV. Mold Design

While the mold description deals with itemizing the details required for having a functional mold that creates authentic helical gear, the design actually shows the blueprint for its production. For this helical gear mold, TDL focuses on meticulously delivering these details with the precision that guarantees high performance without neglecting the aesthetic requirements.

Their understanding of the nuances required for intricate components like helical gears comes from a wealth of experience embodied in their very proficient mold design team. The design process always begins with a detailed and thorough analysis of the functionality and geometry of the gear, allowing the design team to precisely deliver the client’s requirements.

More importantly, this team of seasoned designers puts key elements of the mold like draft angles into critical consideration given the irregular shape of the helical gear. Consequently, the draft angle is designed with great care and precision, enhancing the ejection process which in turn results in a defect-free component.

Interestingly, the functional features incorporated in the design phase are not limited to the draft angles alone but include sophisticated gating systems for the mold. This element helps in uniform material flow, especially with using INCOE hot runners.

This element also initiates consistent part quality. Specialized ejection systems and TDL’s state-of-the-art gating systems help to reduce material waste and the risk of damage to the helical gear during ejection from the mold. All these features are in a bid to reiterate TDL’s commitment to meeting and exceeding the highest standards of quality, dimensional accuracy, and mold efficiency.

In all, reliability, superior results, and longevity of the molds are a priority in the mold design stage to ensure functionality and aesthetically pleasing helical gear when it finally goes into production. Nevertheless, TDL’s innovative problem-solving and expertise always play a huge role in all of these.

Mold Flow Analysis

V. Mold Flow Analysis

During its lifetime, the mold takes on an enormous amount of molten materials flowing through its cores and cavities. It is therefore unwise to shove the analysis of these fluids to one side in the planning and execution of the mold production.

TDL understands that doing this is tantamount to planning to fail and as such has a comprehensive mold flow analysis regiment to accurately understand how this fluid movement affects the mold. Again, the valuable insights derived from this mold flow analysis help with critical mold manufacturing decisions including suitable material selection, potential defects, and mold filling patterns.

These factors are at the center of a successful mold manufacturing project. A well-coordinated simulation of mold flow enables TDL’s design team to pick up potential anomalies that may arise in the course of mold manufacture and thus effectively address these issues. The information garnered during this phase also helps with optimizing the mold dimensions and geometry for optimal delivery.

Furthermore, TDL identifies other issues that are connected with critical factors like plastic viscosity and shear rate of the material. The variations in material viscosity can affect the flow and fill rate negatively unless the mold is well designed to accommodate these variations.

Other critical factors that are often analyzed during mold flow analysis include pressure-volume-temperature properties, material rheology, and mold gate design. All of these analyses are to guarantee uniform flow and pressure distribution. It also reduces the probability of defects like warpage, sink marks, and short shots in the mold.

What this translates to is a reduced cycle time, especially with the gate design and its optimal location which also means a lower cost of production. In all, mold flow analysis helps TDL optimize their design and production processes providing strategic insights required for proactively addressing potential issues leading to optimal performance of the mold.

Mold Machining

VI. Mold Machining

Right after the mold analysis is the mold machining stage where the insights gleaned from the analysis stage help in the production of a flawless, precise, and high-quality mold. Essentially, the machines and tools used in the cutting of this mold are the main players at this stage and thankfully, TDL has some of the most sophisticated mold-making machines.

These machines include WEDM, CNC, and EDM technologies to assist with accurate dimensioning of the mold parts. But here is the thing, having state-of-the-art equipment counts for nothing if the operating personnel lack the necessary skills and experience to achieve the required specifications.

But not to worry, you are in the right hands as TDL has some of the finest machinists in the industry with vast experience and proficiencies to handle the most sophisticated machines in the industry. Additionally, TDL’s machinists are very meticulous in their processes including A.B plate machining, gear tooth machining, and precision grinding.

These processes help with the precision required to achieve the helical gear’s desired geometries. Still, there is the need to use precision gear electrodes in executing the gear tooth machining to further ensure precision which is what TDL did with this helical gear mold production.

TDL also ensured that the A.B. plates were given simultaneous slow wire cutting for accurate coaxial alignment often needed for the gear assembly to work seamlessly. More efforts to achieve flawless working helical gear are put into the production of the cylindrical mold cavity using a coordinate mold grinder.

This grinder helps to ensure accuracy with the dimensions of both the cavity and the core. Ultimately quality is the end result of the machining process considering that every precaution has been taken to see a defect-free mold come to life.

CMM Inspection

VII. Quality Control

No worthwhile project is done successfully by sidestepping quality. Rather, quality is always at the forefront of every stage in the production process if the product will be perfect. This understanding is what has informed TDL’s operation over the years seeing that quality has been sewn into their fabric to deliver every project including this helical gear mold manufacturing.

Consequently, they leave no stone unturned when it comes to quality control as they also understand the importance of every component in the high performance and reliability of the automotive system. Firstly, the meticulous inspection of all mold components using advanced CMM technology is where the journey begins.

This process helps to ensure the dimensional integrity of each component through a rigorous inspection procedure. It also detects any variations or deviations from acceptable tolerances specified in the design. But more importantly, the quality checks and inspections are aimed at ensuring the validation of the mold’s performance and functionality before leaving the production facility to the client.

Still, a certificate of steel and heat treatment is given by TDL to assure the client of the product’s quality and to be fully transparent with their quality procedures. All of these activities tend to one thing – TDL, is an epitome of quality and reliability and they’ve been like this from inception, keeping to in-house, clients, and industry’s stringent standards of quality.

 Rheology: Viscosity curve variation chart

PVT properties: PVT curve variation diagram

VIII. Difficulty Analysis

Difficulties are not strangers to complex production processes like manufacturing a helical gear mold and TDL had their fair share of challenges on its journey to producing a flawless mold. Moreover, many of these difficulties often require a unique yet innovative solution.

But more on the solutions later. For starters, producing a helical gear mold is complex and requires a certain level of meticulousness to get its intricacies with precision. Achieving this precision is a major challenge, especially with gear tooth surface accuracy, gear deviation, and pitch error, which have stringent requirements, getting these details within tolerance levels is usually a major challenge.

Again, the complexity added to the production process when trying to ensure low runout of gear grooves is another major difficulty TDL faces as it requires using advanced machining methods. Also, ensuring a balance between precision and speed in a bid to significantly cut lead times is yet another hurdle that TDL had to overcome.

This can be pretty challenging as quality and precision often suffer if a mold manufacturer fails to reach this balance. All of these difficulties meet with TDL’s workflow optimization and process streamlining which also rely on their possession of cutting-edge technologies. These technologies have ensured the prompt delivery of the project without compromising on quality despite the tight deadlines.

Lastly, achieving a functional gear transmission defined by strict runout error levels required out-of-the-box thinking and solutions including some advanced techniques such as rotating ejector systems. These innovations allowed for minimal noise and precision with the set tolerances with TDL rising to the occasion using their creativity, expertise, and commitment to excellence.

Rotate Ejector System

IX. Difficulty Solutions

As hinted previously, TDL’s expertise and innovation came through in achieving the specifications set out by the clients despite impending challenges. However, it required some unique mold manufacturing methods and diligence. Their approach to tackling these inherent challenges included implementing advanced gear tooth machining techniques to address the need for high accuracy in mold dimensioning.

Also, they ensured a high level of precision when manufacturing the gear electrode along with employing specialized gear electrodes to achieve the exact tolerances for optimal gear performance. Another step taken to overcome difficulties posed by helical gear mold manufacturing is the adoption of a coordinated manufacturing approach to significantly cut down cycle times. Using this approach, TDL was able to streamline the production process by slow and simultaneous wire cutting of A.B plates.

This process expedited the turnaround time as it allowed placing the coaxial component with precision. All these steps were in sync with TDL’s meticulous project management efforts and their efficient workflows. Using rotating ejector systems and incorporating bearings into the systems ensured the smooth ejection of the gears while maintaining strict runout error levels and significantly reducing noise.

Again, the overall mold manufacturing process optimization and precision are TDL’s focus, prioritizing accuracy through core and cavity machining to intricate mold polishing. In all, ingenuity, commitment to excellence, and expertise are the pillars on which TDL’s mold manufacturing stands to deliver a functional and aesthetically pleasing mold.

TDL Engineering Team

X. Conclusion

In a nutshell, TDL’s precision engineering and commitment to quality mold manufacturing are evident in this helical gear mold manufacturing journey. They keep honing their skills and expertise in providing meticulous attention to mold details, innovative solutions, and a dedication to excellence, which has helped them tremendously in meeting clients and industry quality requirements.

It has also helped them overcome many production challenges including the ones encountered on this quest to deliver a flawless helical gear mold. But more importantly, their quality control processes coupled with their mastery of precision machining methods help keep clients happy and satisfied, which is also the reason they’ve become the reliable injection mold partners for so many plastic injection manufacturers.

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