Process control reliability is just as important for machine tool builders as it is for machine tool operators, a point that’s not lost on Naperville, Ill.-based Bourn & Koch, Inc. It ensures reliability by deploying CNC systems developed by NUM, and following an effort to migrate control for a seven-axis horizontal gear hobber to NUM’s Flexium CNC platform, the company is standardizing on that technology for all of its gear production machines.

Bourn & Koch chose to upgrade to NUM’s Flexium CNC for its 25H-400H Series II gear hobbers, starting with the 400H. The speed and power of this machine mean that it can replace as many as seven older gear production machines, making it a reliable choice for companies machining large precision components, such as bull and cluster gears, worms, shafts, splines and pinions.

Capable of accommodating work pieces up to 400 mm (16 in) in diameter, the 400H has an axial travel capability of 1,168 mm (46 inch) as standard and can be customized for the production of even longer parts. The typical customers are prime and sub-contract manufacturers producing mechanical power transmission components and systems for the defense and aerospace, oil/gas drilling, mining, heavy equipment and power generation industries.

Bourn & Koch has partnered with NUM for over 25 years. Currently it uses NUM’s CNC systems in many of its gear shaping, hobbing and grinding machines, as well as in various other types of machines, and for numerous CNC upgrade and machine retrofit projects. Jointly developed conversational software has been cited by a number of Bourn & Koch customers as a factor in their machine purchasing decisions.

The HMI on the 400H gear hobber makes full use of the software’s capabilities by combining a conversational style dialog with powerful graphics, which means that the machine operator does not have to use or even know about ISO languages.

To produce a part, the operator simply programs the machine setup information, such as cutting speeds, and workpiece and tooling geometry via simple fill-in-the-blanks menus, while graphical images provide clear and unambiguous views of the hob tool and resultant gear part.

All calculations involved in creating the machine control program for a particular part are handled completely automatically.