Why A Clockwork Wing Needs

Function And Manufacture Of Wheels And Drives

The invention of the wheel is considered the beginning of any progress. A clockwork is also unthinkable without the wheel, because in the interplay of gears and drives the essential element of the mechanics lies. The view into a clockwork reveals a plurality of toothed wheel discs which are provided on their outer diameter with protruding regularly arranged elements. These hot teeth, the toothed circumference is called a wheel or tooth ring. In addition, a gear wheel is provided with hub and spokes.

The gears are fixed on rotatable axles and are responsible for the transmission and transmission of the forces in a clockwork. However, this is not directly from gear to gear. In a clockwork almost two wheels are almost never engaged; instead, a wheel and a drive are usually associated with one another: the engagement is usually effected by the gear wheel, whereby the speed increases, the force decreases and the direction of rotation changes.

A drive – the correct designation is “the drive”, formerly also “pinion” – is usually the sprocket on the shaft of a gear wheel and establishes the connection between two gears.The dimensions of the sprockets in the gear train of a watch always correspond to those of the preceding wheel. In contrast to the toothed wheel, the drive is usually elongated. Its teeth, or “wings”, usually start directly on the shaft on which it sits closely to the gearwheel.

Wheel And Drive Teeth In The Movement Must Be Matched

The interplay of wheels and drives can be observed particularly well in the basic movement of the mechanical movement. It consists of a minute wheel, a ground wheel, a second wheel and an armature wheel, each with one drive. Each wheel, in turn, drives the next drive, and so the small number of travels of the feather house is translated several thousand times to ultimately drive the anchor wheel. The gear and the drive, which are engaged with each other, should ensure reliable guidance with the lowest possible friction: The teeth should be as close to each other as possible, while at the same time not jamming.Therefore, wheel and pinion gears must be precisely calculated and matched.

The dimensions of the teeth, head height, base height, pitch (tooth plus tooth gap), head and root circle diameter must be considered. The lateral profile of the teeth – the tooth flank – is also responsible for the light, steady and safe transmission of force. Cycloid dentition is particularly common. It is particularly suitable for the translation from slow to fast. In the saw teeth, the teeth are inclined: in one direction, they are connected in a force-locking manner, in the other they slide one above the other. Wheels with wolf teeth have oblique, asymmetrical teeth, which allow a good force transmission. The wolf teeth are used with high-quality watches with the elevator wheels, but is not suitable for combinations of wheels and drives. As a rule, a drive is made of hardened steel, while the clock wheels are usually made of brass.

Sixty Percent Of Manufacturing Is Now Automated

In ancient times, watchmakers have to laboriously apply the toothing individually and file. At the beginning of the 18th century, a wheel cutting machine is invented which, with a horizontally supported partial disk, allows uniform milling of gearings. Today, high-precision, numerically controlled automatic turning machines and automatic gear-cutting machines play the most important role in manufacturing. This can be seen in a visit to Affolter Pignons in Malleray, Switzerland. A look at the production of the traditional company, which has existed since 1919, where, in addition to wheels, drives and gear trains, springwaves, rotors and micromechanical components are also revealed. Finally, according to Affolter, nearly 60 percent of production is automated.

The first work step at Trieben is the so-called Décolletage, the automatic, barrel or form lathe, through which also parts such as shafts or screws are manufactured. An automatic cutter makes the blank from automatically supplied metal bars. In this case, excess thicknesses are left, which are later removed. The wheels for wheels are punched out with the central hole and any further recesses made of Messingoder steel strips – a cost-effective process.

The Teeth Of The Gear Wheels Are Milled

However, since precise interlocking is not possible in this way, the teeth are milled out in a separate working step in the case of high-quality gear wheels. After cleaning, deburring and polishing, this is done by means of a toothed machine equipped with automatic chargers and carbide cutters and the gears stacked one above the other as packets. The teeth of the shoots are also milled.

This is followed by the tempering or hardening of the parts by heating and quenching – a condition for the good functioning of the gear unit. Afterwards, the shoots are brought to their exact dimensions by the rolling, which was formerly called tapping. During this operation, no material is removed, much more is compacted: into a spindle clamped and with rapid rotation, the parts are brought to their nominal dimensions and get a beautiful shine as well. Very high-quality shoots are rolled several times at Affolter, get a polish of the teeth with wood and are subjected to further, secret treatment steps.

The Drives For The Movement Are Polished In Several Steps

In the last step, wheels and shoots come together: the so-called Rivage connects the brass wheel by riveting with the steel drive. For large series, this is done automatically, for small series by hand. With a critical eye at Affolter, each of these individual work steps – in the production of a gear wheel, there are twelve to fifteen – are accompanied: checks of the dimensions are carried out repeatedly by comparing a part in a profile projector with the nominal profile at 50 to 100 times the magnification : What is not perfect is sorted out.

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