Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of a Cycloidal Speed Reducer
Compared with common speed reducers, the cycloidal ones (also known as cycloid drives) cover a wider range of transmission ratios, have a higher load-carrying capacity, are smaller, exhibit a smoother running and a good efficiency. These characteristics make them attractive for industrial applications, especially for robotics applications, machine tools and linear axis positioning in assembly machinery. In this paper, a theoretical and experimental investigation on an innovative cycloidal speed reducer will be presented. The typical cycloid drive has a planet wheel, the profile of which is the inner offset of an epitrochoid, meshing with cylindrical rollers connected to the case. This reducer, on the contrary, has an external ring gear, the transverse profile of which is the external offset of an epitrochoid, and engages with the planet wheel by means of cylindrical rollers. This paper will investigate the structural characteristics and the kinematical principles of this type of reducer. A theoretical approach based on the envelope theory (following Litvin’s approach) will be developed and compared with a development of Blanche and Yang’s approach. Furthermore, a simplified procedure to calculate force distribution on cycloid drive elements, as well as its power losses and theoretical mechanical efficiency will be presented. The effects of design parameters on the values of the forces will be studied, for an optimal design of this type of reducer. The theoretical model will be then tuned using the results of tests on a specific rig. As a result of the experimental tests, the reducer mechanical efficiency dependency on speed and torque will be described. The aim of this work is to perform the fine tuning of a theoretical model in order to predict the operating behavior of the cycloid drive, and to improve its design procedure.
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