What you need to know about precision rack and pinion
What you need to know about precision rack and pinion

A precision rack and pinion gear set is a linear actuator designed to convert rotary motion into linear motion. In other words, it takes a rotational motion such as a gear and transforms it into a forward or backward motion.

Racks and pinions can be manufactured using a variety of gear manufacturing techniques. You should understand their purpose and benefits.

Precision racks and pinions can be used in many different applications

Vehicle steering. Some types of steering devices have a pinion gear attached to the shaft. The gear rotates when the wheels are turned to the left or right. This converts the rotational motion into a linear motion. The end of the rack is connected to the steering arm by a cross tie bar. This ensures that the linear motion is in the correct direction.

Stair lifts. Most stair lifts use a similar function. The rotary motion allows the system to move along a straight line, for example up a flight of stairs.

Railroad. Locomotives are very efficient on flat roads, but have difficulty climbing steep hills. Rack and pinion systems are useful here. Racks can be attached to hills and pinions allow locomotives to climb hills.

Actuators. Actuators can also use racks and pinion sets to move different parts of the machine. For example, in pipeline transportation, rack and pinion based actuators can control the valves needed to keep the system running.

Strengths and weaknesses.

While rack and pinion sets do not offer the same mechanical advantages as systems such as recirculating balls, they do offer more tooth clearance and feedback. These devices are a good way to convert rotary motion in a gear into linear motion.

In some cases, you may need to lubricate or clean the gears periodically. It is important to inspect all gears regularly to check for damage. Tiny defects can quickly lead to problems, so it's worth keeping an eye out. In some cases, you may need to replace gears occasionally.

In any case, if you're ready to place your next gear order, or if you just need a quote on a custom gear design, contact us today!

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