Project: Development of innovative transmission systems for high-speed motion generation based on non-circular gears

Goal of the project_x000D_The CO goals of this project are innovative design and manufacturing methods for advanced mechanical transmission based on non-circular gears. _x000D_The innovation goals of the project will be attained following three related research paths:_x000D__x000D_1) innovative design procedures for non-circular gears;_x000D_2) new, more effective, processes for manufacturing of non-circular gears;_x000D_3) original design approaches for the integration of non-circular gears at system level in complex mechanical and mechatronic systems._x000D__x000D_Obtained results will be applied to the realization of prototypes of automated motion systems of large industrial interest._x000D__x000D_Background of the project_x000D_Performance, precision and reliability are key factor for the success of automated machines and motion systems. The relevance of this industrial segment in EU countries is very high. For example, as reported in “Report Federmeccanica 2008”, in Italy, the production value for instrumental machinery and systems amounts to more than 40 Billion Euros. _x000D_In this highly competitive field, R&D and design divisions of automated machinery companies are in continuous search of means to improve the performances of their products. A key factor to improve such characteristics in a mechanical system is the capability of generating reliably high speed, precise motions with prescribed characteristics. Nowadays such motions with imposed time-law are most frequently obtained with well-established classes of mechanisms, such as linkages or cams, or with controlled electrical or fluid-power systems. All current solutions present inadequacies and bottlenecks imposing increasing constraints to further developments._x000D_Non-circular gears (NC-gears) can overcome many of the disadvantages of other more traditional solutions, as they constitute a very compact solution that can exactly generate a prescribed mechanical motion with very high speed, with precision not depending on the required speed or cycle time. Moreover they have the well known excellent reliability and long life typical of gear mechanisms._x000D__x000D_Market applications_x000D_The NC-GEAR Project is oriented to the market of variable speed transmission systems, that are a significant portion of the automated machinery and motion systems, with an amount close to the 10% of the total of such market, that for Europe is worth about 600 Million Euros (EU-27 exports in 2008). Though this market is growing yearly, Europe is currently facing a reduction of its market size of about 5% per year. This is due to the strong competition from low cost Countries. Countries with intensive presence of manufacturers and end users of automated machinery, such as Italy, Spain and U.K., are particularly affected by this trend. _x000D_The only way for EU SMEs to contrast the strong competition of these emerging low cost Countries is to COtain the current technological gap, building their own competitiveness on high quality through an increase in performances, precision and reliability. The NC-GEAR Project, matching with this need, aims at developing innovative design and manufacturing methods for advanced high precision and high performance mechanical transmission based on non-circular gears._x000D_The Consortium has selected three different possible market fields of application of non-circular gears:_x000D_• NC-gears applied to new types of manufacturing machines for metal forming applications._x000D_• NC-gears used to replace the cam mechanisms (either mechanical or electronic)._x000D_• NC-gears as transmission elements in the automation of gates and barriers._x000D__x000D_Technical applications_x000D_The target applications of the results obtained within the Project are related to high speed automated machinery with very complex motion laws (e.g. in the case of packaging machinery for food & beverage, cigarettes, etc.) and mechanical systems with the capability of generating reliably high speed and precise motions with prescribed characteristics (e.g. metal forming machines, presses, automated gates and barriers, etc.). These are fields in which the throughput, precision and reliability of the system, not purchase price, are the most important factors that drive customers’ choice._x000D__x000D_Project Consortium_x000D_The Consortium is composed by SMEs from the countries who will benefit most from the proposed project: Italy, Spain and U.K.. A well balanced Consortium has been established in order to provide a close technical cooperation among Ps with complementary experiences. _x000D_Their expertise at European level will guarantee an effective approach to problem solving and to the accurate definition of the application requirements, thus having a greater impact than national projects. Through the Pship established in this project, they will have an opportunity to work together which would not otherwise have been possible due to their geographical split.

Acronym NC-GEAR (Reference Number: 5128)
Duration 01/05/2010 - 30/04/2012
Project Topic The CO goals of this project are innovative design and manufacturing methods for advanced high precision and high performance mechanical transmission based on non-circular gears. The results will improve the performance, cost and reliability of industrial automated machinery and motion systems.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
Even though the goals were extremely challenging, the Consortium proved its high-tech skills and expertise, and led the project from a raw idea to the final prototype of non circular gear pair and an optimized mechanical complex system equipped with a non circular gear pair. The project achievements are summarized as follows:_x000D_1) The optimized prototype of the Non-circular gear pair prototypes _x000D_2) An innovative manufacturing process for Non-circular gear pair prototypes, so that the needed gears can be produced at a reasonable price._x000D_3) An optimized mechanical/mechatronic system prototype integrating NC-gears and tested in the Stam test bench_x000D_4) A validated numerical model of the non circular gear able to design in real time the optimized shape of the non circular gear pair starting from the requested law of motion
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 3

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 Stam S.r.l. Coordinator Italy
3 Crossen Engineering Ltd Partner United Kingdom
3 Zehatz S.L. Partner Spain