January 9, 2014

Nylon Gears With A Performance Edge

Metal and plastic gears have traditionally exhibited clear-cut differences in performance characteristics and cost. Machined metals had the edge in precision and load capacity, while injection molded plastic gears offered the potential to reduce cost, weight, vibration and noise in lightly-loaded applications. In recent years, however, the distinction between the two types of gears has blurred with the development of cut gears made from high-performance polymer gear surfaces over a metal hub.

These high-performance polymer gears combine the best attributes of cut metal and molded plastic gears, offering a great balance of properties, including:

  • Smooth, quiet, vibration-free operation thanks to the damping effect of the plastic gear surfaces.
  • Corrosion resistance unequaled by gears with metal surfaces.
  • Load carrying capabilities and accuracy far beyond what molded plastics can achieve.
  • Unique gear designs that would not be possible with either traditional metal or plastic gears.

For all their benefits, executing these advanced gears isn’t easy. For one thing, it’s important to choose the right polymer for the gear surfaces. We often use nylons such as Nylon 6, acetals like delrin or PEEK;however, when performance is paramount we revert to our Power-core gravity cast polyamide 12. Its strength properties and dimensional stability open up gearing applications whose loads and precision requirements would rule out less capable polymers such as cast nylon 6 , and we continually evaluate other engineering plastics for use in our gear designs.

For another thing, our advanced cut-polymer gears require some specialized manufacturing expertise. Most notably, we’ve developed proprietary techniques to join the polymer gear surfaces to the hubs and to precision machine those gear surfaces to AGMA Class 10+ quality levels.

Finally, machined polymer gears require some engineering expertise to apply properly—both from a technical standpoint and from cost-out perspective.

With this blog post, we’re kicking off a new series on designing with cut-polymer gears. We’ll share some of the design strategies specific to cut-polymer gears and identify the applications in which they’ll offer the strongest performance edge.

We will be deep diving into areas including Peek gears, Delrin Gears, Nylon Gears, Phenolic gears ABS Gears, Ertalyte gears, Polyetheline gears. We will also be examining specific styles of gears most suited toward transitionsing to plastic. Once these sections are complete we will be liniking back from this article to those. If you have specific questions on the subect of plastics in gear design feel free to leave it in the comments section below.

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