Components that are applied in drive trains (e.g., gear wheels, bearings and axles) are subject to increasingly strong requirements, amongst others with regard to load transmission, noise reduction and weight [Goc03]. These requirements can only be met if a high accuracy is preserved concerning the workpiece geometry. In the production process of steel parts the geometry is accomplished in a process chain, which consists of various subsequent subprocesses.
These sub-processes typically range from casting and forming to turning, heat-treatment and grinding. Besides defined modifications of the workpiece geometry and/or its material characteristics, each of these subprocesses can negatively affect the state of a workpiece to a greater or lesser extend, eventually contributing to a geometric distortion of the workpiece at the end of the production process. Additional finishing treatments, together with the loss of production, account for a large part of the production costs. In Germany alone, these costs add up to 0,85 billion Euro per year [Hof02]. In order to reduce distortion in the process chain, two basic approaches can be applied.