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The quality of molded plastic gears is typically judged by dimensional feature measurements only. This practice overlooks potential deficiencies in the molding process.
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.
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.
Technology investments lead to product innovation at gear materials suppliers.
Can my metal gear(s) be replaced with plastic gears?
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.
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.
New material technology allows for more efficient and flexible hobbing.
Plane strain fracture toughness of twelve high-carbon steels has been evaluated to study the influence of alloying elements, carbon content and retained austenite. The steels were especially designed to simulate the carburized case microstructure of commonly used automotive type gear steels. Results show that a small variation in carbon can influence the K IC significantly. The beneficial effect of retained austenite depends both on its amount and distribution. The alloy effect, particularly nickel, becomes significant only after the alloy content exceeds a minimum amount. Small amounts of boron also appear beneficial.
For many years chromium has been a popular alloy for heat treatable steels because of its contribution to hardenability more than offsets its costs. As a consequence, it is specified in such high-tonnage steel grades as the 5100, 4100, and 8600 series; and, as a result, about 15% of the annual U.S. consumption of chromium is used in constructional alloy steels.
The manufacturing process to produce a gear essentially consist of: material selection, blank preshaping, tooth shaping, heat treatment, and final shaping. Only by carefully integrating of the various operations into a complete manufacturing system can an optimum gear be obtained. The final application of the gear will determine what strength characteristics will be required which subsequently determine the material and heat treatments.
This paper addresses Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI) as an emerging Itechnology and defines its challenge by describing the state-of-the-art of incumbent materials. The writing is more philosophical in nature than technical and is presented to establish a perspective.
Corus Engineering Steels' formula for its new gear steels: Maintain achievable hardness while using fewer alloys, thereby cutting steel costs for gear manufacturers.
Hobs, broaches, shaper cutters, shaver cutters, milling cutters, and bevel cutters used in the manufacture of gears are commonly made of high speed steel. These specialized gear cutting tools often require properties, such as toughness or manufacturability, that are difficult to achieve with carbide, despite the developments in carbide cutting tools for end mills, milling cutters, and tool inserts.
Before the optimum mechanical properties can be selected, the working stress must be determined, based on recommended allowable stresses.
Gear designs are evolving at an ever accelerating rate, and gear manufacturers need to better understand how the choice of materials and heat treating methods can optimize mechanical properties, balance overall cost and extend service life.
Austempering heat treatments (austenitizing followed by rapid cooling to the tempering temperature) have been applied to nodular irons on an experimental basis for a number of years, but commercial interest in the process has only recently come to the surface.
How do we know when the gear material we buy is metallurgically correct? How can we judge material quality when all gear material looks alike?
The performance of carburized components can be improved simply by changing the alloy content of the steel.
QuesTek Innovations LLC is applying its Materials by Design computational design technology to develop a new class of high-strength, secondary hardening gear steels that are optimized for high-temperature, low-pressure (i.e., vacuum) carburization. The new alloys offer three different levels of case hardness (with the ability to “dial-in” hardness profiles, including exceptionally high case hardness), and their high core strength, toughness and other properties offer the potential to reduce drivetrain weight or increase power density relative to incumbent alloys such as AISI 9310 or Pyrowear Alloy 53.
Surface-hardened, sintered powder metal gears are increasingly used in power transmissions to reduce the cost of gear production. One important problem is how to design with surface durability, given the porous nature of sintered gears. Many articles have been written about mechanical characteristics, such as tensile and bending strength, of sintered materials, and it is well-known that the pores existing on and below their surfaces affect their characteristics (Refs. 1-3). Power transmission gears are frequently employed under conditions of high speed and high load, and tooth surfaces are in contact with each other under a sliding-rolling contact condition. Therefore it is necessary to consider not only their mechanical, but also their tribological characteristics when designing sintered gears for surface durability.
Broaching is a machining technique commonly used to cut gear teeth or cam profiles for the high volume manufacture of power transmission parts used in vehicles (Refs. 1–2). This article shows how the right gear blank material can make all the difference if you want to get more parts out of each tool.
Much of the existing guidelines for making large, high-performance gears for wind turbine gearboxes exhibit a need for improvement. Consider: the large grinding stock used to compensate for heat treatment distortion can significantly reduce manufacturing productivity; and, materials and manufacturing processes are two other promising avenues to improvement. The work presented here investigates quenchable alloy steels that, combined with specifically developed Case-hardening and heat treatment processes, exhibits reduced distortion and, in turn, requires a smaller grinding stock.
What gear material is suitable for high-temperature (350 – 550 degree C), high-vacuum, clean-environment use?
The increasing demands in the automotive industry for weight reduction, fuel efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint need to be addressed urgently. Up until now, widely used conventional steels have lived up to expectations. However, with more stringent emissions standards, demands on materials are increasing. Materials are expected to perform better, resulting in a need for increased fatigue strength. A possibility to increase torque on current generations without design changes can be achieved by selecting suitable materials.
Manufacturers focus on tool design, materials, coating, machine tool options and cutting parameters.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that material properties can and will play a greater role than before in addressing the challenges most transmission manufacturers are facing today. Making use of materials' intrinsic fatigue properties provides a new design tool to support the market changes taking place.
Reduced component weight and ever-increasing power density require a gear design on the border area of material capacity. In order to exploit the potential offered by modern construction materials, calculation methods for component strength must rely on a deeper understanding of fracture and material mechanics in contrast to empirical-analytical approaches.
This paper introduces mandatory improvements in design, manufacturing and inspection - from material elaboration to final machining - with special focus on today's large and powerful gearing.
Carbon steels have primarily been used to manufacture aerospace gears due to the steels' mechanical characteristics. An alloyed low carbon steel is easily case-hardened to obtain a hard wear surface while maintaining the ductile core characteristics. The microstructure achieved will accept the heavy loading, shocks, and elevated temperatures that gears typically experience in applications. The carbon steel machinability allows for general machining practices to be employed when producing aerospace gears versus the more advanced metal removal processes required by stainless and nickel-based alloys.
In his Handbook of Gear Design (Ref.1), Dudley states (or understates): "The best gear people around the world are now coming to realize that metallurgical quality is just as important as geometric quality." Geometric accuracy without metallurgical integrity in any highly stressed gear or shaft would only result in wasted effort for all concerned - the gear designer, the manufacturer, and the customer - as the component's life cycle would be prematurely cut short. A carburized automotive gear or shaft with the wrong surface hardness, case depth or core hardness may not even complete its basic warranty period before failing totally at considerable expense and loss of prestige for the producer and the customer. The unexpected early failure of a large industrial gear or shaft in a coal mine or mill could result in lost production and income while the machine is down since replacement components may not be readily available. Fortunately, this scenario is not common. Most reputable gear and shaft manufacturers around the world would never neglect the metallurgical quality of their products.
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?
Ausforming, the plastic deformation of heat treatment steels in their metastable, austentic condition, was shown several decades ago to lead to quenched and tempered steels that were harder, tougher and more durable under fatigue-type loading than conventionally heat-treated steels. To circumvent the large forces required to ausform entire components such as gears, cams and bearings, the ausforming process imparts added mechanical strength and durability only to those contact surfaces that are critically loaded. The ausrolling process, as utilized for finishing the loaded surfaces of machine elements, imparts high quality surface texture and geometry control. The near-net-shape geometry and surface topography of the machine elements must be controlled to be compatible with the network dimensional finish and the rolling die design requirements (Ref. 1).
Powder metal. To gear makers today, the phrase conjures images of low power applications in non-critical systems. As powder metal technology advances, as the materials increase in density and strength, such opinions are changing. It is an ongoing, evolutionary process and one that will continue for some time. According to Donald G. White, the executive director of the Metal Powder Industries Federation, in his State-of-the-P/M Industry - 1999 report. "The P/M world is changing rapidly and P/M needs to be recognized as a world-class process - national, continental and even human barriers and prejudices must be eliminated - we must join forces as a world process - unified in approach and goals."
Material selection can play an important role in the constant battle to reduce gear noise. Specifying tighter dimensional tolerances or redesigning the gear are the most common approaches design engineers take to minimize noise, but either approach can add cost to the finished part and strain the relationship between the machine shop and the end user. A third, but often overlooked, alternative is to use a material that has high noise damping capabilities. One such material is cast iron.
The lifetime of worm gears is usually delimited by the bronze-cast worm wheels. The following presents some optimized cast bronzes, which lead to a doubling of wear resistance.
The quality of the material used for highly loaded critical gears is of primary importance in the achievement of their full potential. Unfortunately, the role which material defects play is not clearly understood by many gear designers. The mechanism by which failures occur due to material defects is often circuitous and not readily apparent. In general, however, failures associated with material defects show characteristics that point to the source of the underlying problem, the mechanism by which the failure initiated, and the manner in which it progressed to failure of the component.
If someone were to tell you that he had a gear material that was stronger per pound than aluminum, as wear-resistant as steel, easier to machine than free-machining steel and capable of producing gears domestically for 20% less than those now cut from foreign made forgings, would you consider that material to be "high tech"? Probably. Well, throw out all the pre-conceived notions that you may have had about "high tech" materials. The high-performance material they didn't teach you about in school is austempered ductile iron (ADI).
Automotive industry embraces proven yet evolving technology of plastic gears.
Ten years ago, most mainstream gear manufacturers didn't even consider plastics as an option, especially in higher power applications.
Molded plastic gears have very little in common with machined gears other than the fact that both use the involute for conjugate action.
Alternative business strategies from some alternative gear manufacturers.
In the past two years DSM has been conducting fatigue tests on actual molded gears in order to provide design data.
Bradley University and Winzeler Gear collaborate on the design and development of an urban light vehicle.
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.
Forty years ago, the plastics industry was practically in its embryonic phase...
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Eliminating noise, weight and wear proves valuable in 2012.
"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.
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.
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).
Gleason-K2 Plastics eliminates weld lines with no machining.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.