GEROTOR DESIGN STUDIO
Gerotor Design Studio (GDS) provides a unique, fully featured CAD/CAM solution to the difficult task of designing, analysing and manufacturing gerotor pumping elements.
These pumping elements are used in many types of fluid transfer and hydraulic power applications across the world as they offer significant benefits over traditional ‘spur gear’ type pumps.
Simon Baron-Oxberry has over 25 years experience designing gerotor oil pumps. At the beginning of his career all the required points defining the gerotor shape were created by hand calculation and entered manually into a CNC machine. With so many points defining the shape, this took around two weeks to create a pump and any error would cause a time-consuming problem.
Most designers therefore used an ‘off the shelf’ item from one of the major gerotor manufacturers, constraining their pump design by what was commercially available.
The ability to design bespoke gerotor sets and be able to manufacture them, giving complete control over the pump design and manufacture processes, was the driving force behind the creation of the Gerotor Design Studio software.
Gerotor profiles can be designed using the customer’s necessary parameters. Alternatively, GDS offer the service to create the design themselves, using just a few of the client’s key parameters. This is especially useful for reverse engineering a gerotor set to fit an existing housing.
Simon began developing the software in 2002, and once perfected, he founded GDS in Preston in 2011.
Today, his software is used with CNC machines all over the world, throughout industries including Automotive, Aerospace, Formula 1, Medical and Oil & Gas. Customers range from global Automotive OEMs and the high-tech ‘Silicon Valley’ giants, to race car teams and high precision micro-hydraulics.
Simon recognised the need to invest in a CNC machine of his own when some of his office-based clients began asking for prototypes to test their work.
“I worked on a Haas mill at a previous company,” he explains, “so I knew it was the only choice for me; I didn’t need to shop around.”
He opted for a VF-1 vertical machining centre, which has 508 x 406 x 508 mm travels and a 30 horsepower 8,100 rpm spindle.
“I knew the machine was easy to use and I was confident in its abilities and accuracy. Also, the price was far more competitive than the equivalent Japanese models.
“I use the WIPS (Wireless Probing) option a lot (see the video at the end of this article). I’m often working to tolerances of less than 10 microns so the probe is invaluable and using it is perfectly straightforward.”
The first GDS customer’s design manufactured on the VF-1 was a pump destined for an Australian cruise ship. The pumps are used for moving stabilisation to level the ship depending on how it is loaded.
Simon’s next step is to become a full service supplier of prototype pumps. “We can currently design and manufacture; now we want to add a comprehensive test rig to complete the service.
“I can see us needing a lathe at some point too. Obviously, it will be a Haas. When I called the head office to enquire about a mill the sales manager was on the phone within ten minutes. He’s been really supportive, as have the engineers.
“The installation engineer went through a lot of things on the day; I’ve had a couple of queries since the training so I just shot an email to the instructor and he came straight back to me.
“Everyone has been just great.”