In the lapping process of hypoid gears, a gear set is run at varying operating positions and under a light load in order to lap the complete tooth surface. Because of the rolling and sliding motion inherent to hypoid gears, the lapping compound acts as an abrasive and refines the tooth surface to achieve smoothness in rolling action and produce high quality gear sets. In this paper, the lapping process is reproduced using advanced modeling tools such as gear tooth vectorial simulation for the tooth surfaces and reverse engineering to analyze the tooth contact pattern of existing gear sets. Test gear sets are measured using a coordinate measurement machine prior to a special lapping cycle where the position of the gear sets on the lapper does not change, and then are remeasured after lapping in order to establish how much and where material was removed. A wear constant named “wear coefficient” specific to the lapping compound is then calculated. Based on the obtained wear coefficient value, an algorithm for simulating the lapping process is presented. Gear sets lapped on the production line at AAM are used for simulation case studies. Initial results show significant scattering of tooth distortion from tooth to tooth and from gear set to gear set, which makes the simulation process difficult. However, it is possible to predict a confidence range within which actual lapping should fall, thereby opening the door to the optimization of the lapping process.

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