Developed in conjunction with

Institutes of Technology Ireland
Research & Innovation

Heat Treatment of Gears

Limavady Gear Company Ltd. was established in Northern Ireland in 1979 as a fully-equipped facility specialising in the manufacture of replacement gears for the marine, industrial and heavy plant sectors. A recent relocation and the expansion of its product range has allowed Limavady Gear Company Ltd. to become a onestop manufacturing facility specialising in the complete manufacture of gears and gearing systems.

During the manufacturing process, the surfaces of the gear components are heated and cooled to extreme temperatures to induce desired qualities such as strength, hardness and toughness. The method for heat treatment used by Limavady Gear Company Ltd. is pack-carburising, where carbon is added to the surface of the gear components to induce resistance to fatigue and wear of surface hardness. This method can be unpredictable, giving different results for identical components undergoing the same process. This presents a major manufacturing challenge, with a relatively high proportion of finished gear products failing to meet quality standards.

Limavady Gear Company Ltd. wished to reduce the incidence of distortion of gear components in their manufacturing process. Through InterTrade Ireland’s “Fusion” Programme, they received funding to carry out a project in collaboration with the Institute of Technology Tallaght, Dublin (ITT Dublin). The aim of the project was to improve the control of the carburising process and thereby increase the predictability of the heat treatment process at the company. James Dwan, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at ITT Dublin, designed and led the project on behalf of the institute. He also managed the relationship between the institute and company. A graduate engineer with experience in CNC Machining was assigned to the company to carry out the research. Working between the company and the engineering laboratories at ITT Dublin, the graduate undertook the technical research required of the project. Faults in the original carburising process at Limavady Gear Company Ltd. were identified and resolved, resulting in an improved heat treatment process, a safer working environment and immediate cost savings for the company. The project succeeded as a result of knowledge transfer between ITT Dublin, the graduate engineer and Limavady Gear Company Ltd. The graduate has since become an employee of the company.


“The expertise and advice provided by Jim Dwan throughout this project has resulted in improved and more accurate control of the heat treatment process at LGC. The use of the laboratories at ITT Dublin for analysis has aided in the investigation of other gear materials.”
Ian Kinstrie, Limavady Gear Company Ltd.

“Limavady Gear Company was a proactive company to work with, their mission was to grow and develop as a successful industrial gear and related services company. The management put in place opportunities for the graduate engineer to learn and grow as an expert in gear manufacturing including its heat treatment.”
Jim Dwan, Institute of Technology Tallaght, Dublin

Client: Limavady Gear Company Ltd.
Institute of Technology Tallaght, Dublin
Industry: Manufacturing
National Priority Area: Manufacturing Technology

External Services Officer
Jack McDonnell
ITT Dublin
Tallaght, Dublin 24, Ireland
T: +353 (0)1 404 2864
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Lecturer of Mechanical Engineering
James Dwan
ITT Dublin
Tallaght, Dublin 24, Ireland
T: +353 (0)1 404 2847
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