Number crunching preferable to gear crunching

Identifying and correcting gear rattle isn’t the only application of mechanical simulation at New Venture Gear. The company’s engineers use ADAMS to depict how parts move and interact during all stages of transmission operation. In one recent project, the geometry of parts from CAD was imported into ADAMS, which provided simulation output in a series of frame settings combined to show animated part motion for the transmission’s six forward speeds as well as reverse operation. Transparency and translucency features were used to expose otherwise hidden internal components. The resulting output created a realistic representation.

Plans are also underway at NVG to use ADAMS in the design of transmission shift mechanisms – for example, to determine the force and displacement required for a vehicle’s driver to operate the lever in shifting gears. In this case, the goal is to develop mechanisms that require the least effort and travel in delivering maximum movement inside the transmission through the range of gears.

Another application under investigation is in helping to design transfer cases – the gearboxes that shift vehicles from two-wheel-drive to four-wheel drive. Designers would use simulation to establish how quickly and efficiently such a shift can be accomplished. The company also expects to apply ADAMS in predicting gear whine – the high-pitched noise caused by resonant vibration of parts when gears operate at high speeds. The first step is to mathematically quantify the phenomenon, then identify components which contribute to the vibration, and finally develop specialised routines for predicting whine.