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Simulation of a Steering Gear

Question asked by Ceri Gittins on Mar 14, 2011
Latest reply on Mar 14, 2011 by John Sutherland

Hi there !

I've been using SolidWorks now for the past few years, but only really to 
design & optimise assembly equipment, quite frankly the computer 
equipment I have in work is really poor, however this week I'm finally 
having a new workstation so i'm hoping I can start to get into simulation 
& analysis.

On one of our assembly lines we build manual steering gears that are 
then fitted into vehicles with C-EPS (Column Electric Power Steering) but 
we are having problems sometimes with the rotational torque of the 
assembly & I would like to utilise SolidWorks if possibly to simulate the 
gear assembly & change certain features of the individual components to 
see the effect on the rotational torque pattern.

The gear is a rack & pinion design, and has some other components in 
contact with it, one being a bush & the other a support yoke & spring 
assembly that keeps the gears in mesh. 

Would it be possibly to simulate the movement of the steering gear 
through it's entire stroke & generate a graph showing the rotational 
torque required on the pinion shaft through the entire range of movement 
? thus then by changing some of the component parameters, maybe helix 
angle of the pinion, or over-pin diameter of the rack, or frictional 
coefficient of the support yoke in contact with the rack, or the spring 
force that keeps the yoke in contact with the rack, I can then re-run the 
simulation and see how these changes effect the torque curve ?

We have tried to do swap tests with the components from a good / bad 
gear & also measured the components, so if I can use SolidWorks to run tests & only 
change one variable at a time then hopefully it can help me pinpoint the 
root cause of the torque fails

As i've not run any simulations / analysis yet then any help pointing me in 
the direction of some tutorials & firstly even if it's possible to do what I 
want within SolidWorks !