Metal vs Plastic Gears
In most people’s minds, metal gears are significantly better than plastic gears. A plastic gear is seen as weak and likely to break at any moment. However, there are actually many cases where using plastic gears instead of metal gears can actually provide many benefits. Consider the following potential benefits of a plastic gear before deciding whether to use metal or plastic for your next series of gears:
Plastic can absorb backlash shock: A plastic gear can absorb the shock from the motor starting and stopping better than a metal gear. This is due to the properties of plastic, which can absorb shock rather than reflect it.
Plastic has mechanical stops: Steel gears have no mechanical stops at the end of the travel range. Most plastic gear models include the mechanical stop design to avoid extra wear and tear on the teeth of the gear and the motor itself.
Plastic has a longer wear period: Surprisingly enough, most gears made from plastic have a longer life expectancy than many metal gears. The metal gears simply grind down faster than plastic models, and plastic requires less lubrication.
Plastic needs no backlash adjustment: Many steel gears require frequent adjustment to avoid backlash issues from the shock of operating the gear and the vibrations from the motor. Since plastic can absorb these vibrations, the gears can often last much longer. Many daily-use gears use plastic instead of metal, including door openers, conveyors, and large industrial machines.
So before you write of plastic as a gear material, remember the benefits that plastic could bring into your manufacturing plant. You may be surprised at how much you love the cost-saving gears over traditional metal gears.