Recently Systema sent out an article commenting on FCC replacement parts for their training weapons. FCC have now sent out a response to this which they have sent to us. As is only fair, they have a right to reply and of course will have a differing opinion which we are putting up for you to read and make your own informed decision. Unfortunately we haven’t been supplied with a website link for FCC at this time:
Dear PTW users,
Regarding to a recent article written by PAPA from a Japan PTW club and subsequent discussions in different forums concerning FCC gear box, I believe it is an appropriate time for us to supplement additional information.
As a representative of FCC, I would like to thanks all constructive comments and appreciations related to FCC parts. These will surely en-light our mind in future. Therefore, I would like to take this chance to elaborate our theory of gearbox development. Referring to all issues raised by PAPA, I hope following illustrations can clarify any ambiguity.
1. Concept of FCC gearbox development
Like all our projects, reason of gearbox development is aiming to provide improvements. Similar to all users’ experiences on the fragility of 490A motor, without supply of any original improvement or after market product evolved yet, what we are addressing is to reduce the burden of this motor in order to endure its useful life. By reducing friction inside gear box is our concept to tackle burden.
In additions, MAX and SUPERMAX platforms have existed in market for a long time to fit different gear-set ratio for various spring power. However, from users point of view and feedback, there is lacking of MAX or SUPERMAX separate gear box in market for them to switch between power range of within M150 or > M150 according to field needs. We hear about repeating criticisms of why a user must pay another high price of a complete new gun for switching to next level of power. Instead of this, should there be possibility that a single gear box can install different gear sets of variety ratios for speed/torque ?
Besides, from lots of failure cases that raised to us, and our experience of use, driving M150 with MAX gearbox and existing 490A motor may reach the max limit of tolerance level to motor, battery and gear. Should we able to find a suitable solution by replacing a lower-ratio gear even for M150 without getting a new SUPERMAX platform ?
Without foreseeable enhancement can be found officially from Systems, it triggers our thought of redefining available resource to answer above situation.
Recalling to FCC doctrine, we believe perfection shall come up with mindset of pursuing improvement. We are not trying to change the world, we are just trying to question everything. From which, evolution carries on. This is the background of our project.
2. Discovery from Systema gear box
We are not sure how many users have experiences to open Systema gearbox for maintenance or other investigation purpose, we are used to do so, because from cases of gear-dragging, we continuously find Systema gear boxes are poorly greased nowadays, either by putting too much grease like fruit jam or putting insufficient grease. We would not like to draw simple conclusion on existing quality control in manufacturing process of Systema, we just simply illustrates that there is no 100% perfect or supremacy, even what norm from market told us.
Referring to the grease quality used by Systema, we find it is nothing special than any kind of common lubricant in market. On the other hand, in our gear box, we applies a better one (SKF -30/120 degree) which a thin layer is already enough for protection. Again, as from user manual of Systema, applying grease is critical, and we are ensuring this is sufficient rather than above phenomena mentioned from Systema gearbox.
By investigating a disassembled Systema gearbox, we can further find scratches at the right hand side of the gearbox on the hole for Sun gear and especially on hole for Bevel gear (Photo). Of course, they are due to frictions from operation and unfortunately, it should be where the burden for motor from. So, in our gear box, we tackle this problem by refining gears and box resulting in smoother operation without needs to manual fine tuning of gearbox screws which has no standard. From the same photo, we can see there is less wear and tear in FCC box after operation (Photo). There is a belief in market that gear box is a part should not wear but the fact told us no object would not depreciate after use especially it consists of moving parts.
Question again: When a Systema gear box depreciates, what can a user do? Is there any choice available for he/she to get a gear box replacement rather than buying a new kit or new gun. Without any after market choice, both of us know the answer is NO.
Referring to setting of gears, we found Planetary-Gear Shafts shall become a bit loose after use. Similar situation also happened to the contact point of Sun Gear Bushing with box. From our study, such loose condition shall result in certain resonance in shaft and gears and affect rotation stability and performance. That is why we choose to apply additional epoxy resin clue during each FCC box gear setting process to further secure additional stability (photos)
All these set up lead to better rotation performance with same force, even manually driven by finger. Below is an attached link to a Youtube video demonstrated the rotation performance of FCC gear box (vs. Systema box)
From existing Systema design, the trigger is positioned to the left (Photo) . We don’t know why, but if it is possible, we decide to rectify it back to middle for proper simulation, although it may be not material.
3. Material, design and assembly for FCC gearbox
Now, come to the critical matters about material, we believe it shall affect and contribute to performance
Our gearbox is made of A6061-T6 mono block aluminum. Some users may know T5 level is already military grade. Use of it is for purpose of stronger texture and durability. Moreover, to ensure all dimensions to be produce precisely, our gear box is CNC-machined. Box surface is strengthened by anodizing process, not painted. (Photo)
I don’t intend to response PAPA for being "light" or justify the benefit of being "light". However, when there is an availability of good quality metal, processed by CNC, provides stronger durability AND simultaneously lighter, it is a supplement to overall performance together with low internal friction. I don’t see why we should not embrace this.
All gears of FCC box are made of steel from lathing process to provide stronger tolerance level to depreciation. For bearings, we has selected high grade products from Sapporo Precision Inc. Last but not least, all boxes were assembled with cares from our experienced technician and fully tested to ensure functionality. (Photos)
To address compatibility of gear ratio mentioned above, we has designed to extend our gear box slot to enable installation of both low to high torque gear sets of our own design. (Photos)
4. The issue of screw
From PAPA article about application of screws, I don’t know why he spent large paragraph to criticize it. For strength or situation of rattles, I don’t share his logical flow because it cannot reasonably reflect our understanding of engineering and mindset of improvement. In fact, our purpose is to facilitate the convenience of gear box assembly process applying ONLY 1 hexagon tool for all screws of box and selector. As soon as material of screws and dimension are well-thought to ensure strength to secure gear box, I don’t know what is the problem on their ease-to-be-found in market.
Following the flow of his comment, sorry to say but I can only felt stereotype and obsolescence without anything from user standpoint and room of innovation. Without opening mind and gut to attempt for change, no matter how small a step it is, how can we make evolution
5. Condition of gears, gear setting and surface treatment
From PAPA, he has questioned about "cracks and groove on gears", "burr and scuffing on bearing". But from what we have on hands, all gears shows the contrary that they are well examined and produced neatly. (Photos)
He may comment those issues were caused after operation, but this possibility may also apply to Systema set and all moving parts. If this is the issue as what he believed, we welcome him to send back this set to us for well check. All our box sets are identified with traceable serial no. and 6-months guarantee is provided.
One photo from PAPA illustrated his question of a grinded surface on the top edge of Bearing plate that hosts the Sun-Gear Bearing. By taking a look from another angle, in fact, it revealed that the top edge was grinded down on purpose by 10C to reduce friction from contacting with SUN gear to improve rotation performance. (Scratches on the surface of Systema SUN gear on the left shows the contact friction)
However, one point we find constructive is about surfacing treatments of gears, we can immediately ask our production partner next door to give more nice presentation on surface to secure better image from users.
6. Gearbox alignment with lower receivers (CNC aluminum vs. Systema zinc-alloy)
From photo of our gear box alignments to CNC lower and Systema lower, they are illustrating that there is nothing misaligned, it was fitted as sharp as what Systema gear box can do. It may be caused by installation process and skill.
All of above, we just want to emphasize, what we have thought and done are from user angle, to pursuit for improvement on reducing internal friction as well as provide compatibility solution for different gearing ratios for speed and torque. These are driving forces that generate the production of this enhanced FCC gear box.
Someone may criticize us from different angle, we would not say anything, because from dimensions and design concepts, we has put efforts to refine what we see from existing platform and increase the compatibility of gear set choice for large range of torque/speed.
For the relationship of price, quality and customer expectation, there is no need to say that both of them in PTW platform are highly valued. And, we share the same essential triangle belief during our project development.
And, from many years passing by, we both know to what extend that Systema had put to address users’ requests for improvements or provide more stable performance on motors, quality of parts and electronics. It is the reason why more and more after market parts are evolving to fill the gaps and room of improvement. Availability of choices shall only advocate evolution not destruction.
Customer needs should come first, and we should believe improvement shall achieve from diversity and choice. I hope all of us shall positively view and provide constructive review to all potential products that shall come up in future. Let’s devote to make this platform become more perfect and famous