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How to Choose a Geared-Motor Unit


When selecting gearboxes and geared motors, you should always consider certain key design aspects in accordance with the intended motion control application.

The first step should always be a studious examination of the relevant technical and commercial requirements of your application and the gearbox or geared-motor unit you wish to use with it. This information will help you identify the ideal motor for the intended application, and is also crucial when custom-designing a gear motor and building it from scratch.

Ideally you should use an application checklist when deciding on the motor specifications you will need. These details along with project specific elements will determine the course of the gear motor design or selection process.

Gear Motor Design and Motion Control Applications

Every motion control application will have its own individual characteristics, so early on in the design or selection process you must determine which particular parameters are the most important for the intended application. It might be horsepower, lifespan, noise and vibration levels, or something like the starting torque ratio.

The speed and torque of the application are usually going to be important elements in most applications. It may be that the application requires a gearbox with a separate motor, or possibly a single geared-motor unit is the ideal driving component.

Separate Gearbox and Motor or Combined Gear Motor?

Motors and gearboxes can often be mixed and matched according to the requirements of the application, though sometimes a complete gear motor might be the best solution.

The types of motors and gearbox designs that can be combined together include the likes of planetary and parallel shaft gearboxes which can be combined with either permanent magnet DC motors or AC induction motors. Getting the blend right is crucial as certain combinations of gearboxes and motors will be more efficient, produce higher performances and be more cost-effective than others.

Selecting a geared-motor unit can be the easiest option for many applications as you have the option of buying a pre-engineered gear motor that will save you time.

Examine Gear Motor Design Limitations

Once you have identified potential gearboxes and motors or a combined gear motor for your applications, it is necessary to review the limitations inherent in the design. Examine aspects such as the gear motor’s thermal characteristics, the gearbox input speed and yield strength, as well as the gearbox torque when fully loaded.

Perform Test Runs with the Selected Geared-Motor Unit

Ideally you will have the opportunity to perform test runs that will reflect typical operating scenarios the gear motor will operate in. Look out for issues such as weird noises, excessive heat emanating from the motor, or any other obvious signs of motor stress. Without the test process you can never really be sure if the chosen gear motor will definitely perform well under the conditions it is expected to. The problems an unsuitable motor encounters can ultimately damage the motion control application itself.

Remember that the geared-motor unit selection process is as important as it can be arduous, but by following these steps you can ensure your gear motor has a long life with a consistently optimal performance level.

If you require any gearboxes and motors or geared-motor units then contact YB Components who are the UK’s leading gearbox and motor suppliers.