Plastic Gears: Benefits & Design Considerations

By Chamfr Team
June 25, 2024

Advantages and factors to consider, whether you’re designing gears for a novel device or converting from metal to plastic gears for a legacy device.

Gears are essential in a wide range of medical devices with motion, including robotic and minimally invasive surgery devices, infusion pumps, connected care devices, and other life-impacting applications. For many devices, spec’ing in plastic gears—or converting metal gears to plastic—is an effective way to meet or exceed performance requirements while reducing cost.

Benefits of plastic gears

  • Cost effectiveness & speed to market
    Plastic gears typically provide lower material and tooling costs compared with metal gears. The plastic injection molding process allows for multicavity tools, producing more parts per shot and boosting production efficiency.
  • Performance
    As the trend toward miniaturization in medical devices continues, lightweight plastic materials are becoming increasingly popular, especially for wearable drug delivery systems and connected care devices.
  • Quality & reliability
    Injection molding ensures consistent quality and reliability, with gears often meeting specifications right out of the mold. This process minimizes the need for extensive post-processing or adjustments.
  • Flexibility of design
    The injection molding process maximizes flexibility when designing gears, enabling complex shapes, intricate geometries, and holes.

Key design considerations for plastic gear conversion

Clearly, the most important factor in gear design is the device’s application and its requirements. Additional factors include:

  • Environment
  • Resin choice
  • Manufacturing methods
  • Cost objectives

By leveraging the benefits of plastic gears—cost-effectiveness, performance, quality, and design flexibility—design engineers can better address the demands of increasingly complex, technology-driven innovations.

Check out Aptyx’s full blog post about converting metal gears to plastic, which is excerpted from their article in Design News.

Chamfr has three styles of medical-grade, precision plastic gears from Aptyx, in-stock and ready to ship.