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Elevator Drive Shaft Redesign Based on Keyway Stress Concentration

While a shaft may seem to be strong enough to carry a load based on the cross sectional area, other
factors must be taken into account, more so if the piece experiences a high cycle load. These factors
include the size, surface finish, temperature, and various other conditions the part experiences.
Stress concentrations are a key component that can significantly affect the endurance strength of a
part. Stress concentrations are introduced in the design and manufacturing of a part. A critical
design cause is related to sharp corners and notches. A stress concentration in the form of a notch
presents itself in the manufacturing of a keyway. Keyways are a common way to attach components
to a shaft and can significantly reduce the endurance strength of the piece.
An elevator drive shaft is a crucial part that experiences cyclic loading. Many also employ a keyway
to secure the drive pulley to the shaft which introduces a stress concentration. Based off an analysis
by Göksenli and Eryürek of a known elevator drive shaft that failed, we were able to modify the
keyway notch radius and significantly improve the fatigue strength of the piece. Increasing the
radius from 0.4 mm to 1.2 mm resulted in an increase from 1.412 to 2.95 in the factor of safety with
infinite life.
Problem Statement
Elevator drive shafts are responsible for transmitting power from the main drive motor to the pulley
system, which raises and lowers the elevator. These shafts are crucial to the safety of the passengers
in the elevator and must not fail. Assuming frequent use and varying loads due to different numbers
of riders, these shafts are perfect examples of machine pieces susceptible to fatigue failure.
Furthermore, attaching the pulley wheels to the shaft often involves a keyway. Keyways introduce
stress concentrations which can significantly lower the strength of the component and must be taken
into account when calculating the fatigue life of the part.
Pictured below in Figure 1 and 2 is part of an elevator drive shaft. The shaft is supported by
bearings at the grooves and the milled keyway is visible. This design is based off a report by

Figure 1. Elevator drive shaft

Elevator drive shaft Göksenli and Eryürek in which they analyzed an elevator drive shaft that failed. Material properties of St52. We are also assuming a constant diameter shaft of 60 mm. We are assuming a normal stress due to bending and a torsion force due to the force of the motor and load of the elevator.Figure 2. This will increase the endurance strength of the material.4 mm based off the smallest possible radius produced by an end mill. we have decided to increase the notch radius of the keyway. To make the analysis relevant. A life cycle count of 6. and moment acting on the shaft. A minimum load of 1000 kg and a max load of 1320 kg was also used.0 and determined the material properties stated below in Table 1 [1]. shear force. Yield Strength [MPa] 339 Tensile Strength [MPa] 569 Hardness (BHN) 165 Table 1. we have assumed the same values as used in the Göksenli and Eryürek analysis for our redesign. We are assuming a simply supported shaft with a distributed load acting over the center of the piece. thus increasing the life and reliability of the piece without increasing manufacturing cost. They used a notch radius of 0. While these forces may change between use of the elevator. They found the material to be St52.8 x 106 was determined based off assumed elevator use over 30 yrs. We have assumed that any travel of the elevator constitutes a significant amount of cycles for the drive shaft. Technical Approach Due to the significant effect that stress concentrations can have on a design.0. Because of this. Figure 3 shows the general load distribution. it will occur relatively few times in relation to the number of cycles and will not have a significant impact on the part. . we have assumed a constant torque and completely reversible bending in the shaft.

4 mm while the new design would use a radius of 1. but with a modified keyway notch radius. shear.2 mm. Force. Force. Previous radius was 0.Figure 3. Analysis Results Using the same shaft diameter and loads. Shear. and moment over shaft. Moment Diagrams: .


Stresses on the shaft: J Shaft: Shear Torsion: .

05 Current Design Recalculated: Stresses on Shaft [3]: Assuming max load for each trip of the elevator and same speed of travel. DE-Goodman and . the shaft had a factor of safety of 1. Torsion is steady and bending stress is completely reversed: Ta = 0. Minimum load of 1000 kg.4 mm.Shaft Strength [1]. Mm = 0 Assuming a balanced load on the shaft when not in motion. maximum load of 1320 kg. [2]: Current Design [1]: 60 mm diameter shaft with a keyway notch radius of 0.8 x 106. Using a cycle life of 6.

2 mm for a diameter of 60 mm allows for the following values [2]. . Critical Speed: Not applicable due to relatively slow speed of shaft. DE-Goodman Alternate Approach for Modified Design: therefore the piece has infinite life.Modified Design: Using a radius of 1.

D. Budynas and K.05. After deciding upon this design. 2006. 2009. New York: John Wiley & Sons. This value can be compared to our recalculated value of 1. Nisbett. Looking at the analysis of the modified design and the recalculated original design. Assuming that a more accurate factor of safety is slightly lower than our calculated value.S. INC. Göksenli and I.elsevier. This design made less assumptions and simplifications to the shaft and resulted in a factor of safety of 1. Eryürek. [3] W. This means that neither shaft will fail but the modified design will be significantly more reliable due to a simple increase in the notch radius.Conclusion Modifying the keyway notch radius has a significant affect on the fatigue strength of the shaft. our redesign is still a significant improvement through a minor modification. This can easily be done by using a ball-ended end-mill for the final pass on the keyway. a more complete analysis of the design can be found in [1] and the final values have been included in this report. 10. ELSEVIER. Shigley’s Mechanical Engineering Design. References [1] A.:McGraw-Hill. pp.412 to 2. Available: www. 8th Edition. 16. then current manufacturing of the piece will need to be changed to take into account the larger radius. vol. the next step will be to build a full scale test rig to simulate exact conditions on the shaft. 1997." Engineering Failure Analysis. "Failure Analysis of an Elevator Shaft. 2009] [2] R. . [Accessed Oct. B. U. Pilkey.412 and can be used to determine error in our analysis. [Online]. Should the modified design perform better with less fatigue observed. Peterson’s Stress Concentration Factors. the DEGoodman equation shows an increase from 1. Critical speed was not determined to be a factor since the speed of the shaft is relatively slow. 2nd Edition. 1011-1019.95 in the factor of safety.