Does anyone have application experience with harmonic gear drive efficiencies as opposed to planetary or parallel axis reduction systems?

I'm looking into drives with about a 25:1 reduction, and it seems the efficiencies go down as reduction ratio decreases.

Interested in using something with a smaller footprint than a multi-stage planetary, if possible.

  • $\begingroup$ They’re pretty darn efficient in my experience, although they are typically chosen for their lack of backlash, rather than their efficiency. One thing to bear in mind is the cost... what’s your budget? $\endgroup$ Mar 2, 2020 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ Therein lies the rub. Reduced backlash vs a traditional gear train would be beneficial, but the increased heat during operation from lower efficiency may take it out of consideration. Budget is less of an issue, either gear drive would be machined in house. It won't be a classic "harmonic"- no flex shaft etc, just an eccentric internal pinion. $\endgroup$
    – jko
    Mar 2, 2020 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ Ah... might want to make this clear in the original question as undoubtably the efficiency between a flex or solid core would be very different... $\endgroup$ Mar 2, 2020 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ The rotational behavior of the solid core will be similar to a flex core, and I expect losses to be much greater at the sliding gear teeth interface than the losses from the driver. $\endgroup$
    – jko
    Mar 2, 2020 at 20:19


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