Stillwater, MN— What's it going to be, metal or plastic? Gear design can make this already-tough question even tougher. "Most engineers have little or no experience with plastic gears, and they make the mistake of applying design principles that only work in metal," says Robert Sirany, manager of product engineering for UFE Inc., a molder of gears and other precision components. New web-based software now promises to help the uninitiated by providing easy answers to their questions about plastic gears.
Developed by UFE and Universal Technical Systems Inc. (Rockford, IL), this free software generates preliminary sizing and performance data for plastic spur and helical gears in U.S. and metric sizes. "The software can tell you whether plastics are even feasible or whether you should stick with metal," Sirany says.
UFE's gear-design software kicks off with a screen that captures a variety of design inputs—including pinion speed, gear ratio, safety factor, torque, aspect ratio, and helix angle. "It's a very simple spreadsheet interface," says Jack Marathe, president of Universal. "You can't really shoot yourself in the foot." The software next generates preliminary design attributes, such as diametral pitch and loads, before suggesting a suitable grade of acetal from Ticona (Summit, NJ). For those engineers who keep an eye on the bottom line, the software finally provides cost estimates for various design and material combinations.
UFE's gear design software can be accessed at www.ufe.com.
For more information about gear design software from Universal Technical Systems: Enter 534