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Harmonic drives are widely used in industrial robot arms

update:2022-11-25
abstract:Traditionally, harmonic drive gearing consists of a flexspline that has two fewer teeth than a circu...


Traditionally, harmonic drive gearing consists of a flexspline that has two fewer teeth than a circular spline. However, this flexspline is prone to vibrations. The flexspline is also subject to cracks that may nucleate closer to the tip of a tooth. In order to improve the performance of a harmonic drive, it is desirable to use a double-arc tooth profile.

Harmonic drives are widely used in industrial robot arms, precision positioning systems, robotics, and space applications. They are also used in medical applications, such as radiation therapy equipment. The harmonic drive provides high precision and rotational accuracy. It is also lightweight and compact. Compared to conventional gearing mechanisms, it has low backlash.


The three basic components of a harmonic drive are the flexspline, the wave generator, and the output flange. All three components are connected together by a ball bearing assembly. The output flange is also secured by bolts.

The flexspline is formed as a non-rigid thin steel cup. It fits over the wave generator. It has external gear teeth and internal gear teeth. It is preferably one tooth smaller than the circular spline. The number of gear teeth on a flexspline is calculated by dividing the number of teeth on the circular spline by the difference between the number of teeth on the flexspline and the circular spline.

The wave generator is a special thin-walled bearing. It is connected to the shaft of the motor and generates wave motion. The wave generator has an elliptical shape. It is a key component in harmonic drive gearing.

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