The gears of exploration

Paul Boughton

While Star Wars fans excitedly await the next instalment of the film franchise, high precision gear specialist Harmonic Drive has released the next best thing, a short video inspired by the film. The video demonstrates Harmonic Drive's technology in aerospace and defence applications, which until recently belonged in the realms of science fiction.

Realised using 3D animations and scored by cinematic music, the video illustrates the wide range of Harmonic Drive's products and their benefits. Lifting the lid on technologies such as artificial satellites that use Harmonic Drive’s valve actuators and fighter jets containing lightweight precision gears, the video makes clear the connection between the component and the application.

In highlighting this connection the video emphasises the durability and reliability required of components in extreme environments. In the expanse of space or in harsh desert climates, frequent maintenance is unrealistic or impossible so components need to be able to function accurately and independently.

“There's a reason space is called the final frontier. The harsh temperature fluctuations, the dangerous radiation, the gravitational forces and the difficult atmospheric conditions mean that only the most rugged equipment can survive.

"It’s very easy to think of components and their applications as two very different things,” explained Graham Mackrell, managing director of Harmonic Drive UK. “The latest video not only shows how the two work together, but also emphasises the importance of high-quality, high-precision components.

“Each scenario in the video is highly demanding, so accuracy and performance are vital. If your equipment needs to function in diverse environments including arid deserts, freezing arctic conditions and even on Mars, you need the peace of mind knowing that it will continue to do its job.

“To use an example from the video, the operation of a deep sea vehicle takes place in an environment with the pressure of several atmospheres. The last thing you want in that situation is for your subsea actuator to succumb to the pressure.”

Harmonic Drive specialises in high precision gears and drives. Its wide range of applications, from aerospace to medical, drives the universe through the mechanical components of conquest and exploration.