As fine as a human hair: New igus micro gears for tiny, precise applications


Thanks to ultra-delicate teeth, new wear-resistant micro gears are suitable for particularly precise applications

Whether in micro-drives, microscopes or precision engineering, engineers are building ever more compact products. Motion plastics specialist igus now produces micro gears with a module – the unit of gear tooth size – of up to 0.2. Thanks to high-performance plastics, they still enable low-wear and precise movements for high quality geared products.

A camera’s zoom lens works by operating tiny gears inside the lens, just a few millimetres in size. The teeth of these gears are tiny, barely visible to the naked eye. “For such precision mechanics, designers need micro-carbon wheels that are must also be stable and wear-resistant enough to run reliably for years,” explains Rob Dumayne, drytech® director at igus UK. “igus has now optimised its production in such a way that it is now possible for us to manufacture with a module of up to 0.2 from high-performance plastic.”

The micro gears are manufactured from iglidur semi-finished products, including iglidur A180 or iglidur A500, which are tribologically optimized (lubrication-free that assists free running). They therefore have particularly good properties in terms of friction and wear as well as strength. At the same time, they are significantly lighter than metal gears.

Teeth as fine as a human hair

With modules, or gear teeth size, of up to 0.2, igus has further pushed the boundaries of product development. “Producing teeth from gears that are hardly visible to the naked eye is a skill that sets us apart from many competitors,” emphasises Rob Dumayne. “Despite their tiny size, the teeth have excellent mechanical properties, enabling high-precision and reliable movements in precision mechanics.”

Low-cost pricing even for smaller quantities

And igus now offers customer-specific production of these micro gears. “Our mechanical production from iglidur semi-finished products allows economical pricing even for smaller quantities,” Dumayne says. “We can produce larger quantities – for example for automotive series production – by injection moulding”. The gears are suitable for numerous applications in which finely tuned movements are required in the tightest of spaces – for example, for microscopes and other optical instruments such as miniature motors and micro-drives.

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