Palo Alto, CA—Ikona Gear International, Inc., headquartered in Coqutilam, British Columbia (Canada), has integrated its patented gear designs with high-temperature plastics to develop gears of plastic molded parts for engines and winches. Described in a recent analysis entitled, “Advances in High Temperature Resistant Plastics for Use in Motors & Gears,” the innovation was recognized by Frost & Sullivan as the winner of the 2005 Technology Innovation Award.
Ikona Gear received the award in July at Frost & Sullivan’s Excellence in Emerging Technologies Banquet, an annual event held in Boston to honor companies for pioneering the development and introduction of innovative technologies into their markets. The event recognizes the overall technical excellence of a company and its commitment towards technology innovation.
Ikona needed to design the tooth form in order for its gearing technology to qualify as a new invention. Because of a very high contact ratio and no tip interference, the Ikona gear teeth pair is reported to have zero backlash. Although most of Ikona’s earlier testing was done with standard stock metal, several partners—such as Aircast and Magna International—proposed the fashioning of gear assemblies from plastics. While most of this interest was driven by cost considerations, the Ikona gear profile is said to uniquely solve problems introduced by the characteristics of plastics.
“The Ikona gear design is more rigid, has a much higher contact ratio than standard planetary gear designs, and has lower friction as the gear rolls through its contact range rather than sliding with friction,” said Michael Valenti, research analyst for Frost & Sullivan. “This solves some of the problems with plastics being used in gearing.”
Ikona recently announced a development agreement to provide StarRotor Corporation, Houston, with its patented plsatic molded gear technology for third-generation StarRotor engines. According to the agreement, Ikona will incorporate its gear into the main drive mechanism of the StarRotor engine.
“This project will demonstrate the progression of technology from metal gears to high temperature plastic gears,” notes Valenti. “Ikona hopes to show that it provides a combination of the highest efficiency, compactness, strength, and the best sealing method of transferring energy from StarRotor’s engine into its main gear drive.”
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The Ikona applications will have to be further refined into a high-temperature plastic solution that can eliminate the need to introduce tolerances for metal expansion. Nevertheless, the company has already developed bold new gearing designs that will drive the use of high-temperature plastics.
This report includes information from wire reports.