Forest City Gear, an industry-leading manufacturer of fine and medium pitch custom gears, is proud to have supplied over 100 gears for NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover. Forest City Gear manufactured gears for every actuator on the vehicle, from the wheel drive systems to the focusing the optics. All of the gear-driven motion systems that the rover utilizes to move or to articulate a part of its scientific instruments, including the Sky Crane that worked to lower Perseverance to the surface, are driven by gears from Forest City Gear.
According to Jared Lyford, Director of Manufacturing Operations at Forest City Gear, “As with every rover operation we’ve been part of, this was an incredibly challenging project that demanded operational excellence every step of the way, from engineering planning all the way through production execution. To begin with, we had to map out a production plan to meet the design requirements within the required timeline, which was critical to ensure there were no delays in any portion of the build that could result in a delayed launch. We leveraged as much of the technical design elements from previous rovers in order to optimize the design phase of the systems. And of course, those design requirements were exceedingly strenuous from a tolerancing perspective to prevent any stacking of error in the final assembly or when exposed to Martian atmospheric extremes. Each unit needed to consistently function properly without exception as there is no maintenance available on Mars in the event of a system encountering operational issues. Despite the most rigorous planning and testing, there’s always a great sigh of relief with the rover’s successful landing.”