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 Anode material for safe batteries with a long cycle life
06.08.2020 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

nachricht ETRI develops eco-friendly color thin-film solar cells
31.07.2020 | National Research Council of Science & Technology

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: ScanCut project completed: laser cutting enables more intricate plug connector designs

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.

Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...

Im Focus: New Strategy Against Osteoporosis

An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.

Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

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

07.07.2020 | Event News

Latest News

Rare Earth Elements in Norwegian Fjords?

06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences

Anode material for safe batteries with a long cycle life

06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Turning carbon dioxide into liquid fuel

06.08.2020 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>