Industrial Gearboxes: Types and Applications

For industrial processes, motors and other driving devices supply mechanical power to components to perform specific tasks. The amount of power provided can vary, which may at times be a higher power or speed that other components down the line can safely handle. Industrial gearboxes take the mechanical power and modify it so that the speed, torque, or other properties match better the operational power required for processes.

Gearboxes rely on the gear’s teeth and their orientation to modulate the power. Typically, straight teeth on the gear provide lower speed for applications, while a gear with spiral (helical) teeth offers higher speeds. Thus, a company has different gearboxes to select from based on their operational needs.

Types and Applications

Helical Gearboxes

Helical gearboxes have spiral teeth as the gearbox is fixed at an angle. This angle allows for more teeth to interact with each other in the same direction. As a result, this type of gearbox provides lower power. It may be found in elevators, coolers, conveyors, extruders, and heavy industrial applications.

Bevel Gearboxes

Bevel gearboxes have straight and spiral gear teeth. They are standard gearboxes for automobiles and power plants.

Bevel Helical Gearboxes

Bevel helical gearboxes have gear teeth on a cone-shaped surface as the teeth are curved. This type of gearbox is placed on non-parallel shafts as it provides rotary motions. Mining and quarry applications commonly have bevel helical gearboxes.

Worm Gearboxes

A worm gearbox has a wider wheel breadth. A screw thread, called the worm, on the axis meshes with the wheel’s teeth along the peripheral edge to turn the wheel. For industrial applications, the work gearbox is used in conveyor belts and lifts. They are also found on guitar tuning instruments.

Planetary Gearboxes

Planetary gearboxes get their names due to their designs that are similar to the solar system. For example, a center gear is like a sun as planetary gears rotate around the center mesh gear and a ring gear. Planetary gearboxes are found in cranes, lifts, and many machine tools.

There are many additional gearboxes other than the ones mentioned above. The gearbox may be specially designed for a specific operation, such as a crane duty gearbox made for construction and mining applications.

Gearbox Operation

Keep in mind that all gearboxes work in a very similar fashion. Gears will rotate based on the directional orientation of the power input and the gear’s direction. The speed and torque output can change depending on the size of the gears and the number of teeth on the gear wheel. So the lower the gear ratio, the higher the speed and less torque, while the higher gear ratio provides a lower speed and higher torque.

Industrial gearboxes are designed out of durable and strong materials to handle daily operations for extended periods. However, they may undergo excessive wear and tear as well as experiencing warning signs of potential malfunctions. Therefore, they should undergo regular inspection and maintenance to ensure the gearbox runs at its optimal level.

For more information about industrial gearboxes, reach out to Kor-Pak.

Posted in Industrial Equipment.