Since replacing existing metal gears with polymers has benefits such as weight/noise reduction and lower manufacturing costs by using injection molding, various industries have been investing more in R&D. Beginning with VICTREX® PEEK(TM), other polymer materials have been used as an alternative material to metal gears. However, industrial and especially automotive gear applications are required to meet a combination of demands such as variable loads, mechanical strength, friction and wear resistance, durability, resistance to lubricants and retention of strength over a wide range of service temperatures. Hence, the development of gear wheels is labor intensive and time consuming and requires ample resources.
Victrex plc a world leader in high performance materials including VICTREX PEEK polymers, VICOTE® Coatings and APTIV(TM) Films, has been strengthening R&D support on gear wheels for customers through optimization of material properties and actively supporting R&D, but to further enhance customer support, the company has announced the development of a second proprietary gear testing and analysis rig for polymer and metal gears at the Victrex Applied Technology Center (VATC) at the company headquarters in Lancashire, U.K.
The company has already been running the first gear test rig since 2005. The second rig, which has recently been commissioned, has further improved features compared to the first, and it will be used to support additional customer development and requirements for data on gear wheels.
The technical features of the second Victrex fully-instrumented gear test rig represent a significant advance over the original and include the capability to test gears over a much wider range of torques, rotational speeds, with dynamic variable loadings in a wide variety of lubricants over the range of typical service temperatures. Fully instrumentation enables real-time analysis of gear performance and the flexible configuration permits data generation from helical, bevel and worm gears as well as more conventional spur gears.
With regards to the improvement of customer support for R&D on gear wheels, senior manager Katsuhiko Nakayama of Victrex Japan has said "I think there are not really many polymer manufacturers that have proprietary test rigs for polymer gears in the world. Our company has had joint efforts with Berlin University, Germany, and Birmingham University, UK, regarding the strength and lifetime in gear applications among VICTREX PEEK polymers and has been actively continuing R&D." Furthermore, "our company has repeatedly done basic testing and gear testing, and by providing the customers with ample data, we support the optimal use of the materials from proposing the product concept to series production." Dr. John Grasmeder, Global Technology Manager, commented, "This improved capability is one facet of Victrex's continuing investment in application-related technologies which enable us to offer a higher level of technical support and accelerate our customers' product and application development programs."
VICTREX PEEK has a series of track records for commercializing gear wheels used in industries such as, the automotive, office automation device, industrial machinery, and medical device industries and has an advantage especially over designing high gear revolution applications and miniaturization. In addition to the overall benefits of replacing metals with polymers such as, weight/noise reduction and lower production cost from injection molding, it is highly resistant to various chemicals including greases and fluids and is inherently moisture absorbent resulting in higher dimensional integrity and improved stability, and benefits such as, longer lifetime from excellent friction and wear resistance can be expected. Especially in automotive gear applications, with VICTREX PEEK's excellent heat resistance, it is possible to withstand a temperature of up to 140°C, assuming that most applications are near the engine. VICTREX PEEK polymers, with its well-balanced range of properties, will further penetrate the domain of metal gears in the future.
Headquartered in the UK, Victrex plc is an innovative leading manufacturer of high performance materials, including VICTREX® PEEK(TM) polymer, VICOTE® Coatings and APTIV(TM) film. These materials are used in a variety of markets and offer an exceptional combination of properties to help processors and end users reach new levels of cost savings, quality, and performance. All Victrex material production comes under Victrex's ISO 9001 quality registration.
For more information visit www.victrex.com or victrex.mobi.
VICTREX® is a registered trademark of Victrex Manufacturing Limited. PEEK(TM), PEEK-HT(TM) and APTIV(TM) are trademarks of Victrex plc.VICOTE® is a registered trademark of Victrex plc.