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Designers are constantly searching for ways to reduce rotocraft drive system weight. Reduced weight can increase the payload, performance, or power density of current and future systems. One example of helicopter transmission weight reduction was initiated as part of the United States Army Advanced Rotocraft Transmission program. This example used a split-torque, face-gear configuration concept (Ref. 1). compared to a conventional design with spiral-bevel gears, the split-torque, face-gear design showed substantial weight savings benefits. Also, the use of face gears allows a wide-range of possible configurations with technical and economic benefits (Ref. 2).
This paper presents an approach that provides optimization of both gearbox kinematic arrangement and gear tooth geometry to achieve a high-density gear transmission. It introduces dimensionless gearbox volume functions that can be minimized by the internal gear ratio optimization. Different gearbox arrangements are analyzed to define a minimum of the volume functions. Application of asymmetric gear tooth profiles for power density maximization is also considered.
In the field of large power transmission gear units for heavy machine industry, the following two development trends have been highly influential: use of case hardened gears and a branching of the power flow through two or more ways.