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Gearbox Design and Manufacture

Understanding exactly what goes into the design of a gearbox will help anyone who needs to identify the ideal model for their purposes. There is no one-size-fits-all method and many gearbox manufacturers these days even offer entirely customised options for unique applications.

Here we will delve into the gearbox design process and explain the steps that an engineer must take in order to develop a gearbox design.

Preliminary Gearbox Design Questions

The first step is identifying the basic framework within which the more detailed elements will added. Questions a gearbox engineer must ask before commencing the design stage include the likes of what kind of input speed and horsepower the final build will be required to sustain. The engineer will also need to know the gearbox’s target output torque which will help define the gear ratio.

Additional information the designer will need will include what periods of time the gearbox will be required to remain operational for, as well as how robust it will need to be to withstand impact shocks and vibrations.

Another issue is how overhung the load will be and whether or not there will be any internal overhang loads. Some gear designs cannot facilitate multiple supports because of the way the shafts intersect, particularly when this results in load overhang, which can cause misalignment between the gears which leads to severe wear and tear on the gear’s teeth.

The engineer will also have to consider whether or not the machine requires a shaft with either a hollow-bore input or hollow-bore output. How the gearing is orientated is important too, as certain designs such as a right-angled worm geared-motor can function with the worm either above or underneath the wheel. The design process will also have to determine the housing structure and material to incorporate the orientation of the shafts, especially as they might protrude vertically or horizontally according to the intended application.

The final preliminary question will usually involve determining whether the gearbox will require any special coating, such as corrosion-resistant paint.

Service Factor, Class of Service and Mounting

Once the preliminary design aspects have been determined, the gearbox engineer must now define the service factor and class of service for the gearbox.

The service factor is directly related to details such as the type of input the gearbox will receive and the amount of time it should be able to operate for, as well as its ability to handle shocks and vibrations. A low service factor means the gearbox will be operated intermittently with low vibrational interference, while a high service factor will usually be assigned for a gearbox that needs to either run constantly or withstand significant shocks and vibrations, or both.

The last element to be incorporated into the design phase is the gearbox mounting, of which there are multiple options determined according to the intended application. The likes of lubrication and seals will be identified once the final gearbox design has been realised, as these elements can be adapted as required.

New Gearboxes Distributors

There are many excellent manufacturers whose gearboxes and geared-motor units are available through gearboxes distributor YB Components. There are also two recent additions to the catalogue, starting with Supror Gearboxes who have produced a number of high quality planetary and helical worm gear motors, while RGM Ruhrgetriebe Gearboxes feature a diverse range of drive options for large and small scale applications.

If you require any Supror gearboxes or RGM Ruhrgetriebe gearboxes, then contact YB Components who are the UK’s leading gearboxes distributors.