Compact gearhead is exceptionally quiet

Paul Boughton
Maxon Motor says that a cutting-edge coaxial-drive gearhead introduces a revolutionary new style of gearing that produces exceptionally low levels of noise, stating: "Uniquely, the Koaxdrive KD 32 utilises both a worm-formed motor pinion and planetary gearing to deliver formidable torque in almost total silence - even with high input loads."

One innovation is found in the first gear stage, where the majority of noise is usually produced: three offset wheels, driven by the helical pinion, interlock with a straight-cut internal gear. Maxon's new patent-protected use of a sliding mechanism takes axial load off the motor shaft, thereby dramatically reducing contact sound and allowing the gearhead to operate even at speeds of 8000rpm. Planetary gears then provide high reduction rates in a single gearbox, with a number of ratio options available.

Not only does the singular nature of the gearing mechanism mean that noise levels are minimal, but the Koaxdrive also, like other Maxon products, has extremely high output for its small size: up to 6.5Nm of torque with an outer diameter of just 32mm.

The new gearhead's unusual combination of high power, small size and low noise is said to create new possibilities in a wide range of engineering fields. Already showing interest are the luxury car industry, where refinement is at a premium, and the medical sector, where silence in surgical instruments is desirable.

Paul Williams, senior sales engineer at Maxon Motor UK, says: "Gearing is a very well-established field, and it is highly unusual to find real innovation - but with the Koaxdrive, we have pioneered a genuinely new concept.

"When I describe this technology to design engineers, their eyes light up. We are giving them the solution to an age-old problem: generating power without noise."

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