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Grinding Gears for Racing Transmissions

When you push 850 horsepower and 9,000 rpm through a racing transmission, you better hope it stands up. Transmission cases and gears strewn all over the racetrack do nothing to enhance your standing, nor that of your transmission supplier. So when Sprint Cup teams build cars, theres one transmission rm on the short list: G-Force Transmissions. Longs Machine and Tool, headquartered in Cleona, PA is the parent company of G-Force Transmissions and Longs Shifters. Since 1979, theyve developed an excellent reputation with oval track and drag racers, becoming the largest custom stick shift transmission builder in the country. Up to half of all Sprint Cup teams on any given Sun day are running with G-Force transmissions. Many NHRA professionals and Sportsmens Class

Kasey Kahnes, #9, Richard Petty Motorsport. Sprint Cup car running with a G-Force transmission.

Kevin Harvicks first victory with his Nationwide car running with a G-Force transmission.

September/October 2009



Drake GS:G2 Linear Motor Profile Gear Grinder.

Transmission gear in machine for G-Force Transmission.

Drake GearSmart software menu entries. Operators enter values and software converts it into a part program.



September/October 2009

drag racers also rely on G-Force approach that is in line with our quality transmissions. standards, promotes employee satisfactionThe reason the simple. G-Force foand saves is company money in cuses on quality and performance. the long run, Werschky says. Prototypes A Casetested are in the for companys own race cars before they Continuous Improvement enter production. plant manager at Robert Doshi, Each production transmission Works Inc., says the comSchafer Gear is continually checked and rechecked throughout the machining pany is not focused on any one specific and principle, but is leanassembly process. applying many All G-Force transmission gears are aspects across the board. made from appliedVARprinciples that Weve 9310 the (vacuum arc remelt) steel, each produces stronger are needed in whicharea as theasituation internal structure and improves difallows. As a job shop, it has provengear are strength. Processing mass. By keeping ficult to apply lean insteps on gears hob, heat treat and improving quality, the overall goal ofgrind. When it and time to improve delivery times camereducing cost while production on these gears, Longs maintaining a safe and healthy environMachine and Tool looked for a ment, we employ whatever tools will machine tool builder who help us achieve our goals. shared their commitment to quality. The economic downturn has given Lew Schafer the Reinbold, to focus interopportunity manufacturing manager, customer satisfaction with nally on said, We were looking for an American builder who really understood shorter lead times, lower inventories gear making and products. and better quality was easy to deal with. We manufacture in small more time to It has also provided quantities and change jobs frequently, needed a streamline our processes and so we concenprole our 5S that was easy trate ongrinder program, to says. Doshi set up, easy to operate ultimately provides What lean and that was capable of Schafer are the tolerances all day for holding our tight tools to become a long. growing, vibrant and customer-orient After considering several ed company builders, with international reach. they settled improvement and involveContinuous on Drake Manufacturing of Warren, OH. The machine they picked ment strategies include employees, cuswas the Drake GS:G2 4-Axis Linear tomers and suppliers, and the company Motor Prole the Grinder. plans to spendGearnext five to 10 years No Programming Required providing its customer base with what The runoff at they plant proved at a they want, when the want it and the machine could both the customer and cost that allows do the job, but it was Drakes programming service that company to grow. really impressed Reinbold.philosophy We feel the lean Drake was able to in every aspectgearour culture. infused program our of processing information and the controleven Our processesinto our people will be rewriting the and biggest asset, Doshi our strength menu prompts, so they read just like says. our gear data sheets. They even rewrote the software modules to change Today, the company looks to its involute proles and important asset to employees, the mosttip modications of our specications. stand out. the organization, toBy entering our data intoOuron-screen menus, we can set up the teams resolve to not only surand but also shine job in 15 time, is vive,program a new during this minutes or less. ensuring our success, critical to Doshi GearSmart is that there is business says. We know the name Drake gives to there andprocessing that we should out its gear we know software. All Drake gear get it. well as rack be the one to grinders (as mills, external, universal and thread This wouldnt be possible if the

grinders) are unable to embrace a Schafer staff wasprogrammed before delivery to run team concept. customers specic parts. Dressing forms, grind paths, spindle and Without open lines of communicawork rpm willingness to forgive the tion and theare generated based onmisoperators menu inputs. be as prompts takes, Schafer would not Menustrong as are today, Doshi customers existing it isbased on specicsays. As we learn, terminology. Operators a ll in the we share. Knowledge isjustcommodity values. No customer programming that we feel grows as it is shared by our knowledge and it sparks employees, is required. new life into areas thatTwothought could not get any we AGMA Classes Better than Expected better. As for to its employees, Schafer In addition repeatability, Reinbold continued continues to fortify relationships with

both suppliers and customers. These relationships are open and based on win-win thinking. By making ourselves transparent, we have found that, together, arrangements can be made to allow all of us to survive, Doshi says. While Schafer has always had a culture of continuous improvement, Doshi explains that a long term commitment is necessary to see these lean A gear ready to be ground in Drake GS: principlesGrinder. G2 Gear succeed.


explains, The Drake grinder is very thermally stable, varying no more than 50 millionths from one gear to the next. We grind our gears to DIN standard 3962, looking for Q4. But in almost all cases, we achieve Q1 to Q2, which is 23 classes better. Linear motor axis positioning with 0.05 m-resolution linear scale feedback helps the G2 achieve its accuracy. Its mineral-lled, cast polymer base

contributes signicantly by damping vibration and controlling thermal growth. Also enhancing accuracy is the machines direct-drive synchronous torque motor that controls C-axis positioning. It has an 8-million-count encoder providing feedback resolution of 0.2 arc seconds and guaranteed index accuracy better than 10 arc seconds. Acoustic Emissions Monitoring The Drake G2 grinder is equipped
Close up of a G-Force transmission gear.

with an acoustic emissions (AE) stock dividing system that automatically locates the rough-cut gear teeth and positions the wheel spindle to grind equal amounts of stock from adjacent gear teeth. Dyno Tests Independent testing of G-Force transmissions, subsequent to the addition of ground gears, showed improvements in durability and a reduction in gear noise and vibration. Parasitic drag tests indicated less horsepower is taken from the engine by the transmission, meaning more power is available at the wheel. While credit must be given to GForces team of designers, the pay-off is reserved for the gears they produce on the Drake GS:G2 Gear Grinder.

For more information:

Drake Manufacturing 4371 North Leavitt Road Warren, OH 44485 Phone: (330) 847-7291 Fax: (330) 847-6323 Longs Machine & Tool 150 N. Grant Street Cleona, PA 17402 Phone: (717) 202-8360 Fax: (717) 202-8372



September/October 2009