Ikona Gear International (Coquitlam, British Columbia; www.ikonagear.com) has begun development of a continuously variable transmission based on its proprietary gear platform. The technology was invented in the former Soviet Union for use on the rotor drive of a lightweight, long-range military assault helicopter, and imported to North America in 1992. It is being adapted to a number of different markets, including automotive.
Ikona's gear sets operate on a high-reduction, high-tooth-contact-ratio principle that has rolling instead of sliding contact between the gear teeth. The Ikona tooth form is a patented non-involute profile consisting of a specifically matched external and internal tooth pair that provide maximum performance in the smallest size possible with no contact at top dead center. Instead, the company claims there is symmetrical contact on either side of the centerlines that allows zero backlash with no fear of jamming. The company also claims its gear set are quieter, more compact, and more efficient than other gear sets. In addition to the CVT, Ikona has applications for differentials and steering systems in the pipeline.