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Alternative business strategies from some alternative gear manufacturers.
In the hypercompetitive race to increase automobile efficiency, Metaldyne has been developing its balance shaft module line with Victrex PEEK polymer in place of metal gears. The collaborative product development resulted in significant reductions in inertia, weight and power consumption, as well as improvement in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) performance.
Molded plastic gears have very little in common with machined gears other than the fact that both use the involute for conjugate action.
Plastic gears are serious alternatives to traditional metal gears in a wide variety of applications. The use of plastic gears has expanded from low-power, precision motion transmission into more demanding power transmission applications. As designers push the limits of acceptable plastic gear applications, more is learned about the behavior of plastics in gearing and how to take advantage of their unique characteristics.
Hoechst Technical Polymers has expanded its interests in plastic gears with the introduction of the new Plastic Gear Evaluation and Research machine P-Gear. The machine is the centerpiece of the company's continuing efforts to promote and develop the use of plastic gears in higher-powered applications.
"We're taking over," says Art Milano. It's a bold statement from the engineering manager of Seitz Corporation, one of the largest manufacturers of injection molded plastic gears, but Milano has reason for his optimism. Plastic gears are big business-probably bigger than most gear industry "insiders" realize.
The data discussed in this article was taken from an upright vacuum cleaner. This was a prototype cleaner that was self-propelled by a geared transmission. It was the first time that the manufacturer had used a geared transmission in this application.
In the 1960's and early 1970's, considerable work was done to identify the various modes of damage that ended the lives of rolling element bearings. A simple summary of all the damage modes that could lead to failure is given in Table 1. In bearing applications that have insufficient or improper lubricant, or have contaminants (water, solid particles) or poor sealing, failure, such as excessive wear or vibration or corrosion, may occur, rather than contact fatigue. Usually other components in the overall system besides bearings also suffer. Over the years, builders of transmissions, axles, and gear boxes that comprise such systems have understood the need to improve the operating environment within such units, so that some system life improvements have taken place.
Surface measurement of any metal gear tooth contact surface will indicate some degree of peaks and valleys. When gears are placed in mesh, irregular contact surfaces are brought together in the typical combination of rolling and sliding motion. The surface peaks, or asperities, of one tooth randomly contact the asperities of the mating tooth. Under the right conditions, the asperities form momentary welds that are broken off as the gear tooth action continues. Increased friction and higher temperatures, plus wear debris introduced into the system are the result of this action.
Gears are manufactured with thin rims for several reasons. Steel gears are manufactured with thin rims and webs where low weight is important. Nonmetallic gears, manufactured by injection molding, are designed with thin rims as part of the general design rule to maintain uniform thickness to ensure even post-mold cooling. When a thin-rimmed gear fails, the fracture is thought the root of the gear, as shown in Fig. 1a, rather than the usual fillet failure shown in Fig. 1b.
Plastic gears and transmissions require a different design approach than metal transmissions. Different tools are available to the plastic transmission designer for optimizing his geared product, and different requirements exist for inspection and testing. This paper will present some of the new technology available to the plastic gear user, including design, mold construction, inspection, and testing of plastic gears and transmissions.
Plastics as gear materials represent an interesting development for gearing because they offer high strength-to-weight ratios, ease of manufacture and excellent tribological properties (Refs. 1-7). In particular, there is a sound prospect that plastic gears can be applied for power transmission of up to 10 kW (Ref. 6).
This paper proposes a new method — using neural oscillators — for filtering out background vibration noise in meshing plastic gear pairs in the detection of signs of gear failure. In this paper these unnecessary frequency components are eliminated with a feed-forward control system in which the neural oscillator’s synchronization property works. Each neural oscillator is designed to tune the natural frequency to a particular one of the components.
Plastic gears are everywhere today - throughout your car, at the oceans' lowest depths, in deep space. The question, when is a metal gear a candidate for plastic conversion, can be addressed in three words, i.e. what's the application?
The aim of the study was to apply such a specialized tooth contact analysis method, well-used within the steel gear community, to a polymer gear application to assess what modifications need be made to these models for them to be applicable to polymer gears.
This paper presents an original method for computing the loaded mechanical behavior of fiber reinforced polymer gears. Although thermoplastic gears are unsuitable for application transmitting high torque, adding fibers can significantly increase their performance. The particular case of polyamide 6 + 30% glass fibers is studied in this paper.
Can my metal gear(s) be replaced with plastic gears?
There are numerous engineering evaluations required to design gear sets for optimum performance with regard to torque capacity, noise, size and cost. How much cost savings and added gear performance is available through optimization? Cost savings of 10% to 30% and 100% added capacity are not unusual. The contrast is more pronounced if the original design was prone to failure and not fit for function.
Gleason-K2 Plastics eliminates weld lines with no machining.
Automotive industry embraces proven yet evolving technology of plastic gears.
Plastic gears are being used increasingly in applications, such as printers, cameras, small household appliances, small power tools, instruments, timers, counters and various other products. Because of the many variables involved, an engineer who designs gear trains on an occasional basis may find the design process to be somewhat overwhelming. This article outlines a systematic design approach for developing injection molded plastic spur and helical gears. The use of a computer program for designing plastic gears is introduced as an invaluable design tool for solving complex gearing equations.
Eliminating noise, weight and wear proves valuable in 2012.
This paper describes the investigation of a steel-and-plastic gear transmission and presents a new hypothesis on the governing mechanism in the wear of plastic gears.
Creating standards for plastic gears calls for a deft touch. The challenge is to set uniform guidelines, yet avoid limiting the creative solutions plastic offers gear designers.
Forty years ago, the plastics industry was practically in its embryonic phase...
There is an increasing significance of screw helical and worm gears that combine use of steel and plastics. This is shown by diverse and continuously rising use in the automotive and household appliance industries. The increasing requirements for such gears can be explained by the advantageous qualities of such a material combination in comparison with that of the traditional steel/bronze pairing.
The use of plastic gearing is increasing steadily in new products. This is due in part to the availability of recent design data. Fatigue stress of plastic gears as a function of diametral pitch, pressure angle, pitch line velocity, lubrication and life cycles are described based on test information. Design procedures for plastic gears are presented.
We were delighted to see the plastic gear set pictured on the cover of your March/April issue. UFE played the lead role in its design and manufacture.
Curved face width (CFW) spur gears are not popular in the gear industry. But these non-metallic gears have advantages over standard spur gears: higher contact ratio, higher tooth stiffness, and lower contact and bending stresses.
Advancements in machining and assembly techniques of thermoplastic gearing along with new design data has lead to increased useage of polymeric materials. information on state of the art methods in fabrication of plastic gearing is presented and the importance of a proper backlash allowance at installation is discussed. Under controlled conditions, cast nylon gears show 8-14 dBA. lower noise level than three other gear materials tested.
The palette of thermoplastic materials for gears has grown rapidly, as have the applications themselves. Designers need to be aware of key properties and attributes in selecting the right material.
Ten years ago, most mainstream gear manufacturers didn't even consider plastics as an option, especially in higher power applications.
Technology investments lead to product innovation at gear materials suppliers.
This paper presents an original method to compute the loaded mechanical behavior of polymer gears. Polymer gears can be used without lubricant, have quieter mesh, are more resistant to corrosion, and are lighter in weight. Therefore their application fields are continually increasing. Nevertheless, the mechanical behavior of polymer materials is very complex because it depends on time, history of displacement and temperature. In addition, for several polymers, humidity is another factor to be taken into account. The particular case of polyamide 6.6 is studied in this paper.
This paper seeks to compare the data generated from test rig shaft encoders and torque transducers when using steel-steel, steel-plastic and plastic-plastic gear combinations in order to understand the differences in performance of steel and plastic gears.
Bradley University and Winzeler Gear collaborate on the design and development of an urban light vehicle.
This paper shows an experimental study on the fatigue lifetime of high-heat polyamide (Stanyl) gears running in oil at 140°C. Based on previous works (Refs. 1–2), an analysis is made correcting for tooth bending and calculating actual root stresses. A comparison with tensile bar fatigue data for the same materials at 140°C shows that a good correlation exists between gear fatigue data and tensile bar fatigue data. This insight provides a solid basis for gear designers to design plastic gears using actual material data.
The quality of molded plastic gears is typically judged by dimensional feature measurements only. This practice overlooks potential deficiencies in the molding process.
In the past two years DSM has been conducting fatigue tests on actual molded gears in order to provide design data.
One of the major problems of plastic gear design is the knowledge of their running temperature. Of special interest is the bulk temperature of the tooth to predict the fatigue life, and the peak temperature on the surface of the tooth to avert surface failure. This paper presents the results of an experimental method that uses an infrared radiometer to measure the temperature variation along the profile of a plastic gear tooth in operation. Measurements are made on 5.08, 3.17, 2.54, 2.12 mm module hob cut gears made from nylon 6-6, acetal and UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene). All the tests are made on a four square testing rig with thermoplastic/steel gear pairs where the plastic gear is the driver. Maximum temperature prediction curves obtained through statistical analysis of the results are presented and compared to data available from literature.