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News | Interesting facts about the design and calculation of cycloidal gears

Did you know that the right gear design can help you achieve a double-digit percentage reduction of your costs? We show you why it is essential to analyse the overall application when designing cycloidal gears and how the right gear can optimize the energy-, resource-, and cost-effectiveness of your application.


When you choose Nabtesco gears, you benefit from a wealth of experience – more than 30 years – in robotics and automation. This unique expertise truly pays off in the designing of gears. Because the right cycloidal gear substantially reduces direct and indirect costs related to gear and drive technology. By switching from a custom gear of a competitor to a cycloidal gear from our standard portfolio, for example, a customer was able to achieve savings of almost 60%. 

The right design is the key to cost optimisation:

  • Avoidance of oversizing
  • Optimal integration in the companion structure
  • Reduced complexity within the overall system 
  • Less material used
  • Lower energy consumption
  • Minimization of costs

In cycloidal gear design, comprehensive analysis is essential

Gears are team players, not lone wolves. As a central drive train element, they are part of an overall system and are interrelated to other machine and system components. Cycloidal gears are therefore never designed separately, but always in consideration of the overall drive train and all application parameters. The size of the gear, for example, affects the design of the surrounding structure and the consumption of resources. A smaller gear increases material and energy efficiency. This can be illustrated by taking the industrial robot as an example. If the cycloidal gear is smaller, other robot components can also be smaller. This reduces the weight of moving components and therefore the amount of energy consumed. The gear design also has to take into account the companion structure, since limited installation space or connection-related restrictions in turn influence the design of the cycloidal gear. 

Gear design requires close cooperation with the customer 

As a “sparring partner”, we always design gears with the overall application in mind and maintain close relations with our customers throughout the entire process. If our calculations show, for example, that the life of the gear can be extended significantly by changing the acceleration ramp of the application, we discuss this with the customer, so he can make any necessary modifications. Coordination with the customer also applies to other issues, such as bearings. If the application involves high bending moments – for example due to a lever arm – our cycloidal gears can absorb these moments in most cases, due to the integrated main bearing. This eliminates the need for additional external bearings.

Design for life or rigidity

Generally, we design our cycloidal gears for life, with a maximum failure probability of 10%. To prevent undesirable resonances, we also implement rigidity-based designs – for example in medical technology, which requires low-vibration, noise-reduced gears. For gear design, we require data from the customer. This includes the output torque, output speed, cycle time, bending moment, axial and radial forces, as well as the required life cycle. Depending on the particular task, we may need additional, detailed data.

Our range of services in the area of gear design:

  • Design is 100% tailored to the customer’s application 
  • Use of state-of-the-art calculation and simulation tools
  • Simulation of the entire drive train 
  • FMEA for analysis and evaluation of faults and risks 
  • Strength calculations
  • Vibration measurements
  • Design based on high-grade polynomials 
  • Calculation of the interfaces of the gear in the companion structure (screw connections, etc.)
  • Integration and mounting suitability check
  • Design of motor brakes

High level of technological competence for optimally designed cycloidal gears

As the largest and oldest manufacturer of precision cycloidal gears, we are familiar with the requirements of our customers and know exactly what is important in gear design. We pursue a consistent design-to-cost method, in addition to our simplicity principle for reducing complexity within the overall system. The result is high-performance cycloidal gears that are 100% tailored to the customer’s application and enable substantial cost savings.

Our technical know-how for your application:

  • More than 30 years of experience in robotics and automation
  • Extensive expertise in gear design
  • Highly qualified application engineers
  • A broad product portfolio of high-performance cycloidal gears with high reduction ratios
  • Comprehensive analysis of the customer’s application
  • Design-to-cost method ensures economical drive solutions
  • Minimization of risks through the principle of simplicity (reduction of complexity in the overall system)

Would you like to learn more about the design of cycloidal gears? Are you in search of a drive solution for your application? Challenge us! Don’t hesitate to contact our experts.