This paper presents a design algorithm to automate the preliminary design of multi-stage gear drives. Since the design of multi-stage gear drives includes both the dimensional design of gears and the configuration design of the gear train, it is necessary to integrate the design processes in a formalized algorithm in consideration of the highly coupled nature of them. The proposed algorithm begins with splitting gear ratio and dimensional design of the gear pairs on the criteria of strength and durability. Then, it proceeds with a configuration design to position gear drive elements in an available space while minimizing gearbox size and satisfying spatial constraints. The design algorithm has been validated through the redesign example of a geared motor reduction drive. The design has been carried out for six different types of methods according to the ratio splitting algorithms and objective function formulations. The results have been compared with each other and with the existing design. All the designs showed considerably good results: it takes very short time to obtain a solution and the gearbox size reduced considerably while the amounts of constraints violation converged to negligible level. The proposed design algorithm may be used effectively to reduce time and cost for the practical design of multi-stage gear drives.

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