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Lovejoy universal joints are now unmachinable

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  • Lovejoy universal joints are now unmachinable

    I just got off the phone with Lovejoy customer service. I asked why, after many years of buying their unbored UJ's by the dozen for my products and easily machining them, that I'm burning out tooling on what appears to be hardened nodes inside the part. They responded that they have changed their production supply to obtaining the yoke blanks offshore and their own shop is experiencing problems with them. I said, "so you're selling unbored UJ's that your customers won't be able to bore, mill and tap?" After the expected hemming and hawing she answered yes.

    It appears to me that their heat treament process is faulty, leading to inconsistent hardness.

    Ex 1: boring a 5/8 UJ with a 3/8 drill and plenty of lube. It went in fine 1/2" before burning out the HSS drill. I tried a HSS reamer, wasted that too. Finally I took a 1/4 carbide lathe bit, ground it to be a mini boring bar, and completed the hole. This was 1 bad bore out of 6 on 3 UJ's.

    Ex 2: slotting the UJ with a 7/16 HSS end mill, I got down 1/4" before suddenly burning the tool. This was on my 2nd piece.

    I've done this exact work on dozens of these with no problems, the steel was more like cast iron with small chips. Now I've got a 2 out of 5 failure rate.

    Lovejoy's best suggestion was to buy extras of UJ's & tooling, since the guys in their shop didn't think switching to all carbide tooling would be very successful. Nice huh, a real win-win for them, at $25 per piece.
    Location: Jersey City NJ USA

  • #2
    And I guarantee, as poor peons like the girl on the phone and sales reps have to field all the flack, those responsible, one or more MBAs in their management structure, will be getting congratulations along with bonuses for the increased profits brought in by off shoring the manufacturing. PE will improve, stocks will go up, and investors will be happy. Mean time US jobs will be lost, plants closed, and management will get higher pay and more bonuses. Eventually the company equity infrastructure will be depleted, and the inertia of their “good name” will be spent, and they will invoke bankruptcy protection while complaining about “market down turn” and other things “not their fault”. Finally, as the company wallows or collapses upon itself, the top management will be sought after and bought by other companies for positions like CEO or CFO with fat sign in bonuses and “Golden Parachutes”.

    While on the subject, anyone ever question or bemoan why “Golden Parachutes” have become the norm for new top level execs? I don’t wonder at all... They are hired guns brought in to increase short term profits for investors in the short term without any concern for long term viability. The KNOW they are killing the companies and that they have no hope of maintaining the 7 figure income for more than a few years, so the “Parachute” is there to “compensate” them for working themselves out of a job.
    Russ
    Master Floor Sweeper

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    • #3
      BD, you're right on target. She said there was an executive decision to outsource to maintain their competitiveness in a contracting domestic market. She claimed prices were falling, which I countered with my experience that prices (from McMaster) had risen 20% in the last few years.

      I'm small pototoes, but they've sure lost my business.

      I just successfully tapped 3 pieces 5/16-18, with an H drill for a ~60% thread. I stepped down the lathe speed on my Logan 200 to low, but not on the back gears, with which I tapped them.

      Could it be that the higher speed is causing a hardening phenomena in a crappy alloy? I've had that happen in thin materials, or the end of a bore that overheated, but never in the middle of a solid chunk of steel that was showing no signs of overheating.
      Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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      • #4
        I'm afraid its the new world where every thing is viewed as small isolated problems in which each has to be profitable, unfortunately they end up killing the patient!!
        I lost my faith in so called management when they shut a factory in the group I worked for simply because there was no growth potential in it. The company was invloved in the reclaimation of copper from old electric motors and it did this using practically no energy and almost no waste even the slag they produced was the best shot blast grit available.

        Peter
        I have tools I don't know how to use!!

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        • #5
          John Deer has some yokes that have a weld in spline thats as hard as a rock, it s real pain to machine the weld out and replace the female spline. Its a spark spitter from hell.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ptjw7uk
            I'm afraid its the new world where every thing is viewed as small isolated problems in which each has to be profitable, unfortunately they end up killing the patient!!
            I lost my faith in so called management when they shut a factory in the group I worked for simply because there was no growth potential in it. The company was invloved in the reclaimation of copper from old electric motors and it did this using practically no energy and almost no waste even the slag they produced was the best shot blast grit available.

            Peter
            I remember as a young man suddenly "getting it" about why businesses were obsesses with growth, that a public business is a failure if it's stock price rises above what's reasonable and the growth doesn't make the price rational. What was wrong with having a good, solid profitable business? It's just no good for the swashbucklers out of B schools unless they can build an empire out of it.
            Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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            • #7
              Actually, it is two things.....

              One, executive greed.

              Two, stockholders. A lot of larger companies have stock held by entities like the Kalifornia retirement fund, CALPERS.

              When a large holding entity like that speaks as a stockholder, they are really speaking as an owner, since that is what a stockholder is, a part or total owner. Even a fairly large voting block far under a majority of the stock can speak and be obeyed.

              So when such an outfit screams that "your stock is too low and here is what you have to do", they are listened to, and obeyed.

              Nowadays, they tell you to outsource, as a directive..... not a choice. Otehrwise the stockholders throw out the board and execs, and put in their own folks to do that.

              OR, if the board and execs don't want to do that, and own teh majority of the stock, the small stockholders SUE over the lost profits that they COULD have had if the board had done what they should. Believe it or not, they can WIN those suits, and make the execs PAY THEM.

              Thus the smaller stockholders are the tail that wags the dog, via the courts. Naturally, not wanting to be sued and lose either way it goes, the board has to cave.

              These days, if your company makes more money than expected, you are punished by a drop in stock price. (lower future expectations)

              If your company does NOT make as much as expected, you are punished by a drop in stock price (failed, didn't meet expectations).

              If you hit it on the nose, your stock may hold steady, and OTHERS go up.....

              The stock market is close to irrational.
              CNC machines only go through the motions.

              Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
              Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
              Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
              I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
              Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

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              • #8
                Helical beam couplers have been hardened for a while since they're springs. I had to bore two out for my CNC lathe project. They were eating my cheap brazed carbide import bars like candy. Got a nice Circle boring bar off fleabay, took 'er easy, and it worked out well.

                Love those Circle bars!

                I wouldn't think the Lovejoy style would be that terribly hard to make. Heck, I've seen folks make the helical beam style as well to integrate it into the assembly and not require a separate coupler. Seems like John Stevenson did that on his rotary tables if I recall.

                Best,

                BW
                ---------------------------------------------------

                http://www.cnccookbook.com/index.htm
                Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:
                http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCGWizard.html

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                • #9
                  No Bob, the OP said these were U/J couplings and I use what we call Oldham couplings here.
                  I have recently had some U/J couplings for a dowel borer, no idea where they came from, more than likely imports but they did machine up OK with normal tooling.
                  Some were bored and reamed 1/2" and some were tapped 1/2" x 12 Whit form.

                  I get quite a few sprockets to bore out from local bearing companies.
                  One buys from China and one buys from India.
                  the Chinese ones always seem to be better made and consistent on material.
                  The Indian ones can be anything, I know they use reclaim material as once I had to remove the boss off a big sprocket.
                  The boss was a welded on one so I just dug into the weld and took it off that way.
                  When it came away the two mating faces were really badly pitted, and I mean badly. Pits about 3/16" deep and really rough.
                  Probably plate removed from an old ship and reclaimed.

                  .
                  .

                  Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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                  • #10
                    The Lovejoy UJ's and jaw couplings used to be machined from bar stock.Now they are made from sintered steel,that explains the cast iron looking chips etc.

                    It is crap to machine since the density isn't the same all through the part,it will have localized hard spots and skins.It sucks,but that's all there is to it,just cheap s---.It also can't be welded by any process.

                    Other mfgs have started doing the same.Martin sprocket is another.

                    Try switching to Boston Gear,or Browning UJ's,last ones I bought were still machined from bar stock.Then inform LJ that they have lost a customer.

                    I also doubt that it's an offshore supplier Lovejoy is using,that s--- is made here.Import product would be better and probibly still made from bar.
                    I just need one more tool,just one!

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