Injection moulding is currently the most widely employed production method for polymer gears. Current standardised gear metrology methods, which are based on metal gear inspection procedures, do not provide the key information regarding the geometric stability of injection moulded gears and are insufficient for a thorough gear inspection. The study developed novel areal quality parameters, along with a so-called moulding runout quality parameter, with a focus on the injection moulding method. The developed parameters were validated on twenty-nine gear samples, produced in the same moulding tool using various processing parameters. The gears were measured using a high-precision structured-light 3D scanner. The influence of injection moulding process parameters on the introduced novel quality parameters was investigated. The developed moulding runout quality parameter proved to be effective in evaluating the shrinkage that can occur in the injection moulding process. The novel moulding runout parameter returned an average value of -21.8 μm in comparison to 29.4 μm exhibited by the standard parameter on all the gears, where the negative value points directly to mould shrinkages. The rate of cooling was determined to be the most influential factor for the shrinkage of the gear. The developed areal parameters demonstrated to be advantageous in characterising the deviations on the teeth more comprehensively.
Keywords: gear metrology; geometrical quality parameters; injection moulding; polymer gears.