Minimization of transmission errors in highly loaded plastic gear trains

P Meuleman, Douglas Walton, Karl Dearn, D Weale, I Driessen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


Transmission errors (TEs) are an important source of unwanted noise and vibration in gear drives. Errors can result from geometrical inaccuracies and from elastic deformations. Plastic drives are often loaded in a way that produces high deflections relative to steel gears, and the elastic component of TE is relatively more important. Furthermore, plastic gears are often run in mesh with gears made from steel or other metals. In this case there is a large difference in tooth stiffness, which leads to unusual TE problems. The current paper discusses the origins of elastic TEs and means of their calculation. A simple beam model is used to demonstrate the stiffness of a pair of meshing gear teeth. A finite-element analysis is used to refine this model and to run iterative tooth meshing enabling TEs to be accurately characterized. A number of TE traces from gear pairs running under high loads are included and compared with the theoretical predictions. Several different scenarios are proposed including balancing gear tooth stiffness for dissimilar materials and the adjustment of pressure angle to account for tooth deflection. A set of design guidelines are presented in the conclusions. A case study of a precision printer drive is used to illustrate some of the techniques for the minimization of TEs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1129
Number of pages13
JournalInstitution of Mechanical Engineers. Proceedings. Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • pressure angle
  • finite element
  • plastics
  • transmission error
  • steels
  • stiffness
  • involute
  • tooth accuracy
  • contact ratio
  • spur
  • polymers
  • gears


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