Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Innovative gear principle: "Smart Gear" makes industrial robots more powerful and intelligent


A doctoral student at Graz University of Technology has developed a compact gearbox with intelligent sensor technology that achieves twice the gear ratios of previous gearboxes and enables new, smart services.

As part of his master's thesis at TU Graz, Philipp Eisele developed a concept for a collaborative robot in 2019, i.e. an industrial robot that works together with humans.

As a doctoral student at TU Graz’s Institute of Production Engineering (, he developed the concept further – and is now the inventor of "Smart Gear". This is an innovative and meanwhile patented drive system which is currently being implemented as a prototype and could be a watershed in drive technology.

Lightweight with smart interior

The innovative gear principle allows transmission ratios twice as high as previous coaxial gears, as Eisele uses pistons for power transmission instead of revolving gear wheels. "Compared to conventional gear units, the patented system allows the transmission ratio to be doubled while increasing the transmitted torque."

As a result, the size and thus the weight can be halved in comparison to existing gear units without losing effect. The Smart Gear prototype consists of steel and aluminium. The structure is modular, which means that the individual components can be inexpensively produced in mass production and cover a wide range of products through various combinations.

"In practice, this means drives will become smaller, lighter and cheaper," says Eisele, summarising the advantages. The use of Smart Gear is possible with industrial robots, lifting devices and positioning equipment.

The main strength of Smart Gear lies in the available space in the housing, which was created by the elimination of the revolving gears, as Eisele explains: "We can use the empty space for intelligent sensor technology to enable completely new services."

For example, the gear can be connected to cloud services or local company networks, allowing companies to monitor performance data and transmission status in addition to the mechanical system, thus enabling them to manage their production processes efficiently.

Worthwhile payment models

In addition, the networking of the gear opens up new business models that can be used to keep acquisition costs low. Eisele names three types as examples: “As in pay-by-use models, only those hours during which the gear is used are charged for. In fact, the company only pays for the actual duration of use. The system also allows for predictable maintenance. This maximizes uptime and reduces costs for the company. In addition, the maximum power can be limited by software and can be unlocked as needed, allowing a power upgrade without having to replace the gearbox."

With this business model, Smart Gear won the twelfth edition of the Start-Up Garage ( in 2019 – a cooperation project between TU Graz and the University of Graz that trains students to become the founders of tomorrow – and thus also attracted investment.

System to be further developed with business partners

Pre-series production is scheduled to start this year; initial talks are already underway with robot manufacturers and companies from the manufacturing industry who want to integrate Smart Gear into their products. Eisele is already thinking one step ahead. He would like to make production even more cost-effective and efficient by using innovative manufacturing processes and new materials.

This research is anchored in the Field of Expertise "Mobility & Production” ( at TU Graz, one of five strategic research core areas of the University.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Philipp Simon EISELE
Dipl.-Ing. B.Sc
TU Graz | Institute of Production Engineering
Phone: +43 316 873 7175

Weitere Informationen: (Website TU Graz)

Mag. Christoph Pelzl, MSc | Technische Universität Graz

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Record efficiency for printed solar cells
09.07.2020 | Swansea University

nachricht Bespoke catalysts for power-to-X
09.07.2020 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Latest News

X-ray scattering shines light on protein folding

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Looking at linkers helps to join the dots

10.07.2020 | Materials Sciences

Surprisingly many peculiar long introns found in brain genes

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>