Objectives and content
Polymer gears have unique advantages over metal gears.
Innovations in materials technology, design and
manufacture continue to extend their potential. This
programme seeks to define more clearly the limits to gear
performance, and in so doing enable optimum gear sets to
be designed. It is intended to target specific
performance enhancements in the areas of power
transmission, noise emission and transmission accuracy
through novel developments in gear design, materials
formulation and selection and through new manufacturing
Polymer and polymer composite gears have the following
Low cost when injection moulded.
Light weight, low inertia.
Low coefficient of friction.
Can function without external lubrication.
Quietness of operation.
Uniformity of parts.
Inherent compliance absorbs shock and vibration.
Through good choice of materials, lubricant, gear
configuration, novel tooth geometries and moulding
conditions, leading particularly to surface engineering
for minimising wear, it is believed that the power
transmission levels for a given size may be significantly
enhanced. Whilst this goal is of general interest to
manufacturing industry, it will have significant impact
in automotive engineering where there is constant
pressure for lower weight and cost. Ultimately it is
intended to demonstrate the use of non-metals in
automobile driveline components which, for Partner I (an
automobile manufacturer), would provide cost and weight
advantages and potential for reduced noise emissions. For
Partner 2 (a manufacturer of office machinery) and
Partner 3 (a manufacturer of actuators, principally in
medical applications) the requirement is also to reduce
size and increase power density although the main
requirements are for lower noise pollution of their
customers' environments, and the reduction of gear
induced vibrations leading to positional errors. The
consortium reflects the entire gear manufacturing process
and includes a leading manufacturer and supplier of
polymer composite compounds, a leading technical moulder
and supplier of gears, a university specialising in
materials research and a university involved in nonmetallic gearing.
The results of the project will be:
Increase in transmissible powers, loads and speeds --
- increased market/more applications
Reduction in gear noise and vibration --- increased
Smaller systems --- cost reduction
Design guides and software tools --- reduced time to
New gear materials and processes --- new markets
This project addresses the Brite Euram areas 2.2.1.L
2.1.3.S 2.2.2.S and 2.2.1.S
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
AL9 7JB Hatsfield
5900 MA Venlo
7602 PK Almelo
B15 2TT Birmingham