The Schunk Group, headquartered in Heuchelheim, Germany, reports it has developed a new Powder Metallurgy process that produces gears with a noise-damping effect, whilst reducing weight and cost. This process is discussed in more detail in the white paper, ‘Silent Gears – low-noise gears for quiet e-mobility,’ published on Schunk’s website, explaining how customers can benefit from the material, design and production advantages of its Powder Metallurgy gear process.
“Our process offers the unique possibility of combining several – normally incompatible – properties in one gear,” stated Johannes Heyde, Project Manager – Innovation at Schunk Group. “The result is components that have different properties in terms of geometry and material in different areas. For example, a very hard and strong toothing area to reduce wear, and a main body with excellent damping behaviour.”
The new process utilises the porous structure of the Powder Metallurgy gear to dampen sound and produce less noise. Heyde stated that while there can be concerns from customers about the resultant gears’ strength, studies are said to have shown that Schunk’s post-compaction process stage results in materials that equal the strength of conventionally forged materials.
When compared to conventional manufacturing, and dependent on size and complexity, the process is reported to be profitable for volumes of around 30,000 for large parts, or around 100,000 for smaller parts. Parts can weigh as little as a few grams and can range in diameter from 5-300 mm.
“With our manufacturing process, we consume 60% less energy overall,” Heyde added. “This makes Powder Metallurgy one of the green technologies, because we don’t have to use any primary raw materials for powder production. In addition, we use almost 100% of the material, because no more chips are produced, as is the case with subsequent mechanical processing. As a result of the efficiency of the entire process, not only do our customers benefit from performance-enhanced quiet gears, but so does the environment.”
The white paper can be downloaded here.