A rack and pinion drive system consists of a rack (or a “linear gear”) and a pinion (or “circular gear”). The teeth of a rack and pinion drive can be straight or helical, although helical teeth are often used due to their higher load capacity and quieter operation. For a rack and pinion drive system, the maximum force that can be transmitted is largely determined by the tooth pitch and the size of the pinion.
These systems are well-established linear drive mechanisms, providing high-speed travel over extremely long lengths. They are frequently used in large gantry systems for material handling, machining, welding and assembly, especially in the automotive, machine tool, and packaging industries.