39

Koyo Engineering Journal English Edition No.168E (2005)
1. Introduction
Of the various types of transmissions for passenger cars,
automatic transmissions, which have enabled easy driving,
have dominated the market. Although an increasing number of
compact and subcompact models are adopting belt-type
infinitely variable transmissions, the conventional stepped
type automatic transmission with a planetary gear mechanism
(hereinafter AT) still prevails for full-sized vehicles involving
high torque.
In response to various environmental problems, fuel
efficiency countermeasures related to ATs are being required,
and for that purpose AT lightweightness and the speed-
reduction ratios have been pursued along with increasing the
number of steps. As a consequence, the needle roller bearings
used in AT planetary gears (hereinafter "Planetary bearings")
have been required to cope with higher rotational speeds, as
illustrated in Fig. 1.
At the same time, the previously predominant full-
complement-type needle roller bearings are increasingly being
replaced as planetary bearings by caged needle roller
assemblies (cage & rollers) for the sake of lightweightness and
ease of handling.
For improving the fuel economy of vehicles to counter the environmental crisis, automatic transmissions (ATs) have become
multi-step types requiring high-speed revolution in the planetary bearings. On the other hand, planetary bearings for ATs are
used under severe conditions regarding such areas as moment and centrifugal force. This article describes characteristics and
design techniques concerning planetary bearing and shows newly developed planetary bearings capable of high-speed
revolution.
Key Words: needle roller bearing, planetary gear, automatic transmission, cage and roller
Trends regarding Needle Roller Bearings for
Automatic Transmission Planetary Gears
K. CHIHARA T. SATOU
TECHNICAL REPORT
Input shaft
Torque converter
Rr planetary gear
Fr planetary gear
One way
clutch
Output shaft
Control valve
Automatic transmission (AT)
(for FR)
Pinion gear
Carrier
Sun gear
Ring gear
Planetary gear
Needle roller bearing for planetary gear
Fig. 2 Automatic transmission for FR vehicle
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Fig. 1 Influence of AT multi-stepping
H
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Carrier rotational speed
Low High
4-speed
5-speed
6-speed
−Trends regarding Needle Roller Bearings for Automatic Transmission Planetary Gears−
40
Koyo Engineering Journal English Edition No.168E (2005)
C: Dynamic load rating of the bearing
P: Radial load
However, equation a does not take into account increased
contact stress around the end of the roller due to the moment,
and actual life of the planetary bearing is shorter than that
obtained by equation a.
The incremental contact stress due to the moment varies
depending on the gear specifications (helix angle, gear
meshing pitch circle diameter, etc.) as well as on the torque
transmitted through the gear unit. Therefore, life calculation of
the planetary bearing takes into account a life reduction factor
based on contact stress at each step of speed calculated from
the actual gear specifications and transmitted torque at each
speed step, using the actual percentage of usage of each speed
step.
It has been known from past experience that the life of a
planetary bearing under a moment is reduced to as short as
30%~5% of that under a radial load only.
3. 2 Seizure Propensity (Limiting Speed)
The limiting speed of a bearing is often evaluated in terms
of the DmN value, i.e. the value obtained by multiplying the
pitch circle diameter of the rollers and the rotational speed of
the bearing. In case of high load (or if the contact stress is
high), however, it is necessary to take into account a
correction coefficient depending on the C/P value (Fig. 5).
Nevertheless, since the planetary bearing is subject to
widely varying contact stress due to the moment, as mentioned
earlier, it is not appropriate to simply use the correction
coefficient for the C/P value.
Therefore, taking into consideration all the above
circumstances, a new parameter called the "rolling PV value,"
obtained by multiplying the DmN with the contact stress
under the above mentioned moment, has been introduced.
Figure 6 shows the results of a series of anti-seizure tests
under varying lubricant supply conditions to determine what
rolling PV value the bearing can withstand.
This paper will introduce features and technical trends of
the planetary bearings for AT's.
2. Structure of Planetary Gear Unit and Bearing
Design
Figure 2 shows an example of an AT utilizing a simple
planetary gear mechanism for a FR vehicle. Although various
types of mechanisms, such as the double pinion type and
Ravigneaux type, have recently been commercialized, the
basic issues involving the bearing are the same as those on the
simple planetary gear mechanism.
3. Bearing Design to Cope with Moment
3. 1 Bearing Life
As the planetary gears of the AT are helical, the planetary
bearing inside the planetary gear is subjected to tangential
force Ft, radial force Fr, and axial force Fa due to the helix
angle of the gear (Fig. 3). The axial force Fa acts on the
bearing as a moment. Because the moment acts to augment the
radial load, it tends to incline the gear. Consequently, the
contact stress at the end of the roller raceway becomes
extremely high, which eventually causes edge loading if it
exceeds a certain limit. Since edge loading can shorten bearing
life extremely, it is necessary to crown the roller properly to
preclude edge loading (Fig. 4).
However, even if edge loading is avoided by crowning the
roller profile, increased contact stress in the vicinity of the
roller end is still unavoidable. Generally, the life of a roller
bearing in terms of total number of rotations L is expressed by
the following equation a:
Ring gear
Sun gear
r
R
Moment loaded zone
Radial loaded zone
Ft
Fa
Fr
Ft
Fr
Fa
Fa
M
M
Fa
Fig. 3 Forces acting on planetary gear
Edge load
High contact stress zone
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s
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s
Center of roller
Distance from center of roller
Fig. 4 Distribution of roller contact stress
L=
C
P
10
3
----
a
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
C/P
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Fig. 5 Values of correction coefficient of load magnitude
−Trends regarding Needle Roller Bearings for Automatic Transmission Planetary Gears−
41
Koyo Engineering Journal English Edition No.168E (2005)
4. Bearing Design Taking into Account
Centrifugal Force
4. 1 Centrifugal Force Acting on Cage due to
Orbiting of Planetary Gear
Figure 7 shows various action patterns of the simple
planetary gears and corresponding bearing behaviors. In
patterns A and B, the planetary bearing is subjected to
centrifugal force due to its orbiting movement, which has
repeated peaks due to its rotating movement.
Supposing, for instance, that the radius and the orbiting
speed of the carrier are 50mm and 6 000 min
−1
, respectively,
the centrifugal acceleration due to orbiting will reach
approximately 2 000 G. Because of this, the planetary bearing
needs to be designed to cope with the load due to centrifugal
force on top of the load from the gear meshing.
4. 2 Design of Cage
Because of centrifugal acceleration, the cage is subjected to
a centrifugal force due to the mass of the cage itself.
Also due to this centrifugal force, the cage is pushed against
the bore of the gear, and hence tries to rotate at the same speed
as the gear. However, since the rollers orbit at approximately
half the speed of the gear, the rollers push back on the cage
with a force equivalent to the friction force between the cage
OD and the gear bore. In addition, as the rollers orbit around
the sun gear with centrifugal force generated, each roller
exerts such centrifugal force against the cage.
Since these forces act in the form of repeated load, the cage
needs to be designed in such a manner that the stress generated
by the centrifugal force is equal to or less than the fatigue
limit. An example of FEM analysis is shown in Fig. 8.
5. Planetary Bearing for High Rotational Speed
5.1 Lightweight High Strength Cage
In an effort to meet the increased speed of the planetary
gear, a new design planetary bearing has been developed,
whose features are summarized in Fig. 9. In response to the
increase of centrifugal acceleration, the thickness and weight
of the cage have been reduced to make the centrifugal force
smaller, while the strength of the cage has been increased by
improving the design of the ribs.
0 2.0 4.0 6.0 8.0 10.0
0
10
100
1 000
Cage and rollers
NG region
Full complement type
OK region
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m
l
/
m
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Rolling PV value, MPa·mm·min
−1
(×10
8
)
Fig. 6 Result of seizure resistance test
Ring gear
Revolution Revolution + Orbiting Revolution + Orbiting
Sun gear Carrier Ring gear Carrier
Sun gear Sun gear Carrier Ring gear Carrier
Sun gear Carrier
B C A
Fixed element
Input element
Output element
Bearing behavior
Bearing rotation
direction and
load direction
Movement in gear
mechanism
Ring gear
Fig. 7 Basic motions of planetary gear
Fig. 8 Example of FEM analysis
Design
Mass, g
Stress under
2000 G, MPa
Normal load rating
C/C0, kN
Developed Conventional
4.4 4.9
170 270
18.4/24.5 17.5/22.9
Fig. 9 Developed vs. conventional
−Trends regarding Needle Roller Bearings for Automatic Transmission Planetary Gears−
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Koyo Engineering Journal English Edition No.168E (2005)
6. Conclusions
Planetary gear units are currently used in various
applications other than ATs, such as the forward/backward
changer in belt-type CVTs, the power source changer in
hybrid cars, and the speed reducer in electric vehicle motors.
Thanks to its compactness and feature of speed changing on
the same axle, it is expected that the planetary gear unit will be
employed in broader range of applications.
The author's team will continue to develop products for a
wider range of applications based on our expertise
accumulated through development of bearings for ATs.
Reference
1) T. Morozumi : Zukai Kuruma no Tekunoroji Kisohen , San-
ei Shobo (1991) 82.
5. 2 Evaluation of Lightweight High Strength Cage
5. 2. 1 Fatigue Strength Test (Static Evaluation)
In order to ascertain the strength of the ribs, a compressive
fatigue test was conducted using a hydraulic pulsating fatigue
tester, with results as shown in Fig. 10.
From Fig. 10, it was confirmed that the developed cage
with improved rib design is stronger than the conventional
cage, even though it is thinner and lighter.
5. 2. 2 Centrifugal Acceleration Test (Dynamic Test)
To evaluate the strength of the cage in test conditions closer
to those in the actual vehicle, a test was conducted on the
planetary gear test machine shown in Fig. 11, which simulates
the influence of centrifugal force, such as friction between the
gear bore and the cage, as well as the load imposed by the
rollers on the cage.
The test results, shown in Fig. 12, confirmed that the
developed cage could handle approximately 1.6 times greater
centrifugal acceleration than the conventional cage.
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N
Conventional
Developed
High
Low
10
3
10
4
10
5
10
6
10
7
Number of stress, cycles
Fig. 10 Result of fatigue test
1 500
2 000
2 500
3 000
3 500
Conventional Developed
1.6 times
improvement
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Fig. 12 Result of planetary gear test
Sun gear
Planetary gear
Test bearing
Carrier
Fig. 11 Schematic of test device
K. CHIHARA
*
T. SATOU
*
* Automotive Bearing Engineering Department, Bearing Business
Operations Headquarters