Types of Gearboxes

A gearbox is a piece of equipment containing an enclosed gear coupled to an output device for the purpose of changing mechanical energy to a usable format. This process can result in a change in speed or torque, as is the case for speed reducers. This gearbox is a series of connected gears coupled to a motor and a piece of equipment, and its purpose is to reduce the rate per minute (RPM) of the two points. IPTS is able to offer clients speed reducers and a variety of other gearbox types to improve the operation of your transmission equipment.

Different Types of Gearboxes

Each variety of gearboxes has its specific usage and function. They include:

  • Helical gearboxes: Due to its compact size and low-power usage, this gearbox is ideal for low-power applications. It’s commonly used in industrial settings, including crushers, extruders, coolers, and conveyors.
  • Coaxial helical inline gearboxes: Features four parallel spur gears that rotate in the same or opposite direction, dependent on the application requirement. This gearbox is high-quality and efficient, and it’s recommended for usage in heavy-duty equipment.
  • Bevel helical gearboxes: This gearbox is used for high-power equipment, including in mining quarries, as well as conveyors. It is able to provide significant torque, and provides rotary motion in non-parallel shafts.
  • Skew bevel helical gearboxes: This gearbox is known for its rigid design and monolithic shape. It can be modified to match any industrial requirement and is ideal for heavy loads and other like applications.
  • Worm reduction gearboxes: This gearbox is applied when a need to increase speed reduction with non-intersecting axis shafts exists. It’s designed to operate and drive high-power applications.
  • Planetary gearboxes: This gearbox has the ability to extend the life span of equipment and increase performance. Commonly used for unique precision applications because of its accuracy, planetary gearboxes are designed in either a hollow format or with mounting options including flange, shaft, or foot.

Gearbox Functions

The main function of a gearbox is to transmit mechanical energy to an output device. This is done by coupling a driving gear to a driven mechanism. The gearbox can increase or decrease the speed of a driven mechanism, depending on the size and diameter of the coupled gears. The diameter is very important in how the gearbox functions. If the driving gear is smaller than the driven mechanism, the speed will be decreased. If the driving gear is larger than the driven mechanism, the speed will be increased.

Gearboxes are also versatile. They can be produced in a variety of sizes and shapes, and can be connected together.

Gear heads, part of a gearbox, can be used to reduce vibrations of a machine by being attached to a timing belt or chain with a gear ratio of 1:1. The gear ratio is important, as it tells what impact the gears will have on torque. Gear head types include:

  • Spur
  • Planetary
  • One-stage
  • Multiple-stage
  • Harmonics
  • Spur-epicyclic (cycloidal)
  • Worm

Contact IPTS for Your Gearbox Needs

At IPTS, we are proud to have served the power transmission needs of our clients for more than 30 years. Our dedicated team specializes in the production of worm gear and helical gear speed reducers. Our standard models are made of close-grained cast iron to provide bearing support and feature double-lipped seals to prevent oil from entering the reducer. If needed, we are able to create modifiable designs and can quickly ship across the United States. All of our products are tested prior to delivery. Contact us for your gearbox and power transmission solutions today.

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What is a Thrust Bearing?

Thrust Bearings: A Background

Rotary shafts transmit a linear axial load along the shaft. This force would continue to the housing or mounts, causing damage or uncontrolled force, without thrust bearings (a specialized type of rotary bearing) that absorb that load. Thrust bearings drive force parallel to the rotating shaft. Axial loads can be incorporated into the total motion of a system with a rotary shaft, such as in boats or planes with high-speed propellers, or even power drills that have a rapidly rotating shaft (the bit).

Different rotary shaft systems use different thrust bearings to take on axial loads best and operate at the speeds the overall system requires.

How Does a Thrust Bearing Work?

At their simplest, thrust bearings absorb axial loads. They interrupt the transfer of that load from the shaft itself to the mount or housings to which the shaft connects. The internal parts within thrust bearings rotate and permit rotation. Three common categories of thrust bearings include pure thrust bearings, combination bearings, and sliding thrust bearings. They are categorized based on what forces they are designed to resolve.

1. Pure Thrust Bearings

These bearings absorb only axial load forces. They do not interact with or resolve radial forces generated by the rotating shaft, and they consist of sliding bearings and rolling bearings.

2. Combination Bearings

Combination bearings resolve axial forces and radial forces. They’re designed to handle both forces through a single bearing. These bearings are commonly used on automobiles, carts, and other wheel systems.

3. Sliding Thrust Bearings

In some electric devices, the shaft moves from side to side as it rotates. Sliding thrust bearings slide against the flat faces of the shaft to minimize or entirely eliminate the unwanted movement. One type of sliding thrust bearings is formed of Oilite washers. These types of thrust bearings can be found between crankshaft throws, in airplane engines, and in water vessels with propellers.

Types of Thrust Bearings

While different kinds of thrust bearings are designed to mitigate specific forces, there are also different types of thrust bearings based on the mechanisms and components they use. The three common types of thrust bearings include ball thrust bearings, roller thrust bearings, and miniature thrust bearings.

Ball Thrust Bearings

Ball thrust bearings are a ring full of ball bearings. The washers in the system can be either flat or grooved. This type works best in systems with relatively low thrust and low levels of radial load.

Roller Thrust Bearings

Roller thrust bearings are made of rolling cylinders. Compared to ball thrust bearings, they have the capacity to handle higher levels of load. Spherical roller thrust bearings can handle even higher axial loads, and they work well in systems with misaligned shafts that need additional support.

Miniature Thrust Bearings

Miniature thrust bearings are very small in size. The smallest available option in a ball thrust bearing metric series has 2.0 mm bores, flat raceways, and a 6.00 mm outside diameter. For grooved raceways, the smallest miniature thrust bearing option has 3.0 mm bores and an 8.00 mm outside diameter.

Choose High-Quality Thrust Bearings from IPTS

Choosing the right thrust bearings for your specific project’s applications is essential. Different types of thrust bearings may resolve axial loads, radial loads, or both. Different types of thrust bearing systems can also handle different levels of load, so it’s essential to choose the type that can handle the system’s requirements most cost-effectively. IPTS, Inc. specializes in manufacturing high-quality power transmission equipment. For more than 30 years, our company has been serving the power transmission industry with high-quality designs and innovations. We create cost-effective products that provide valuable performance. Some of the benefits of choosing IPTS include:

  • Easy access to standard stock and modified products
  • Shipping within three to four days for fast order fulfillment
  • Equipment that has been tested before it reaches your doorstep

Contact us today to learn more about our design and manufacturing capabilities or request a quote to get started.

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What Are Worm Gears?

At IPTS, Inc., we are a premier manufacturer of components for power transmission equipment, including gears, shafts, castings, forgings, stampings, wheels, and rollers. We specialize in producing worm gears and helical gear speed reducers available in standard and custom-tailored designs.

All About Worm Gears

Worm gears are mechanical assemblies consisting of a threaded cylindrical screw (i.e., worm) and a toothed circular gear (i.e., worm wheel). The two components are placed on separate shafts on axes that are neither parallel nor intersecting. This configuration results in the threads of the worm intersecting with the teeth of the wheel at a 90-degree angle, which allows the mechanism to transmit motion from worm to wheel. When integrated into mechanical systems, they enable the transmission of force from the driving component (connected to the worm) to the driven component (connected to the wheel).

How Do Worm Gears Work?

In a worm gear assembly, the initial rotational input that powers the mechanism comes from a prime mover (e.g., a motor or engine). As the threads of the worm component are engaged with the teeth of the wheel component, when the motor or engine prompts the worm to rotate, the worm forces the advancement of the wheel.

The engagement between the worm and the wheel is a combination of sliding and rolling movements. In applications involving high reduction ratios, the sliding action generates significant heat and friction, both of which reduce the assembly’s energy transfer efficiency. Worm gear manufacturers generally combat this issue by using screws and gears made from dissimilar materials, which reduces the friction between the two components as well as improves their shock and vibration absorption capabilities.

Despite their low energy transfer efficiency, worm gears continue to find application in a wide range of mechanical devices, equipment, and systems, largely due to their speed reduction and torque multiplication capabilities. The gear reduction ratio of a worm gear assembly depends on the number of threads (i.e., helices) on the worm and teeth on the worm wheel. For example, a worm with one thread and a worm wheel with 20 teeth would have a gear reduction ratio of 20:1, while a worm with four threads and a worm with 20 teeth would have a gear reduction ration of 5:1. By increasing the circumference of the wheel, industry professionals can achieve higher torque and lower speed output.

Applications of Worm Gears

In addition to their superior speed reduction and torque multiplication capabilities, worm gears offer several other advantages over other types of gears. Altogether, these qualities make them suitable for use in a wide range of industrial, commercial, and consumer equipment. For example:

  • Their reduction mechanism—based on the number of helices on the screw and teeth on the gear—enables a more compact construction
  • Their speed-reducing capabilities accommodate low to medium operating speeds
  • Their self-locking capabilities allow for safer lifting and hoisting operations

Examples of common applications for worm gears include:

  • Conveyors
  • Elevators
  • Fishing pole reels
  • Gate control mechanisms
  • Gearboxes
  • Guitar string tuning pegs
  • Industrial presses
  • Lifting equipment (e.g., cranes and hoists)
  • Vehicle steering systems

Construction Materials for Worm Gears

As indicated above, the worm and wheel components of worm gear assemblies are typically made from dissimilar metals to reduce friction, shock, and vibration during operations. The worm screw shaft is usually created using hardened steel or phosphor bronze, for a highly durable component that can be used in heavy-load applications for an extended period of time. The worm wheel is usually made from a softer metal—such as brass, aluminum, or bronze—since it is easier to remove and replace when it wears down.

Although the standard worm gear assembly composition is a steel worm coupled with a bronze wheel, a variety of material combinations have been developed to meet the needs of different applications, including:

  • Steel worm and steel wheel.Due to their high strength and durability, steel worm/steel wheel combinations are often used for high-pressure applications. Compared to steel worm/brass wheel assemblies, they generally have more cost- and time-intensive repair operations.
  • Brass worm and brass wheel.Since brass is less durable than steel, brass worm/brass wheel combinations are generally used for light-load to medium-load applications to avoid premature wear and fatigue.
  • Plastic on plastic/plastic on metal/other plastic combinations.Plastics, such as acetal, nylon, and polycarbonate, are used to construct components for worm gear assemblies intended for light-load applications. As these materials are not as strong or durable as metal, they are unsuitable for components intended for heavy loads or extreme pressure.

When choosing the construction materials for worm gear components, it is important to consider the amount of friction likely to be generated between materials. Regardless of the materials selected, it is essential to use an appropriate lubricant to minimize the effects of friction and extend the service life of the gear assembly.

Quality Worm Gears From IPTS

At IPTS, we’ve provided high-quality standard and custom product solutions to the power transmission industry for over three decades. Our worm gear and helical gear speed reducer product offerings, including:

Worm gear reducers are available in sizes ranging from 1 inch to 13¾ inches (center distance), while helical reducers come in models accommodating up to 30 horsepower. In addition to our standard product line, we offer modification capabilities for customers with highly specific or unique needs.

By choosing us as their source for power transmission components, our customers benefit from our:

  • Extensive industry experience. We’ve served the power transmission industry for over 30 years, which gives our team the knowledge and skills needed to design, develop, and deliver components that fully meet each customer’s needs.
  • High-value, low-cost products. We are committed to producing innovative solutions for every reducer challenge. All of our products are designed and constructed for durability and longevity and thoroughly inspected and tested prior to shipment.
  • Fast delivery. We offer several shipping and delivery options, including standard (three to four days), same/next-day (for stock products), and JIT delivery.

For additional information about our worm gear products or assistance choosing one for your application, contact our experts today.

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What is a Gearbox?

A gearbox is a mechanical device that consists of a collection of interlocking gears inside a protective enclosure. Gearboxes are used to adjust the torque and speed within a driving device, such as an engine or motor. Some of the most common gearboxes include:

  • Helical gearbox
  • Coaxial inline helical or gearbox
  • Bevel helical gearbox
  • Skew bevel helical gearbox
  • Worm gear reducer
  • Planetary gearbox

Each gearbox design operates using different gear sizes, shapes, and quantities to enhance or diminish torque or speed for improved mechanical efficiency.

How Does a Gearbox Work?

A gearbox contains a series of gears that interlock in order to transmit energy from a driving gear, which is connected to a motor or driving mechanism, to load-bearing gears. The driving gear may be smaller or larger than the other gears with which it interlocks. If it is connected to a smaller gear, the smaller gear will rotate faster, thereby enhancing speed while diminishing torque or force. Conversely, if the driving gear is connected to a larger gear, the driven gear will rotate more slowly but with greater torque.

In essence, the gearbox is used to convert energy from the driving mechanism into high-speed, low-torque motion or low-speed, high-torque motion. The gearbox also helps to reduce reflected load inertia on the motor by a factor of the square of the gear ratio, thereby enhancing energy transfer efficiency. This can reduce unwanted vibrations and enhance control of the driven mechanism. In order to further reduce unwanted vibrations, the gears may also be connected to a timing belt with a 1:1 gear ratio. This improves the stability of the energy transfer between the driving mechanism and the load.

What are Gearboxes Used For?

Gearboxes are used in a wide range of applications, from machine tools to industrial equipment, conveyor mechanisms, and rotary power transmission equipment. Each gearbox design is uniquely engineered to meet particular mechanical needs:

  • Helical. Helical gearboxes are the most common gearboxes. They are often used in low-power industrial equipment such as crushers, extruders, and conveyors used for manufacturing plastics, rubber, cement, and other industrial materials.
  • Coaxial helical inline. Coaxial helical inline gearboxes are highly energy efficient and are often used in heavy-duty metallurgical applications and wastewater treatment facilities.
  • Bevel helical. Bevel helical gearboxes are used to transmit force from the driving shaft at a right angle. They exhibit high output torque and are often used in mining and quarry equipment and conveyors.
  • Skew bevel helical. Skew bevel helical gearboxes are useful for heavy loads and other applications in which force must be transferred between shafts at varying angles.
  • Worm reduction. Worm reduction gears use a turning screw to drive the gear for enhanced speed or torque. They are often self-locking, which makes worm gears particularly useful in heavy duty load-bearing, lifting, and hoisting of fertilizers, chemicals, and minerals.
  • Planetary. Planetary gearboxes consist of a central driving “sun gear” surrounded by  “planet gears” which rotate around it and propel a “ring gear” which surrounds the entire mechanism. Force is transmitted from the sun gear through the planetary gears to the ring gear in order to produce an extremely high amount of torque in a small amount of space. This type of gearbox is ideal for compact applications that require precision, such as automatic vehicle transmissions and turbine engines.

Superior Gearbox Solutions From IPTS

Gearboxes can enhance energy transfer within a power transmission system, thereby improving operational efficiency with high reduction ratios, increased output torque, and decreased output speed. At IPTS, we offer a broad range of power transmission equipment for industries around the world. We specialize in the production of worm and helical gear speed reducers, and we are pleased to offer a wide selection of standard and custom reducer solutions. For more information on how our gearboxes can improve your transmission operations, contact us today.

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Differences Between Traction and Hydraulic Elevator Systems

As a visitor to a building, when you step into an elevator, you don’t necessarily care what type of elevator it is. All you care about is whether it’s safe and gets you where you need to go. However, as a facility manager or building owner, knowing the type of elevator in the building is important.

If you’re a part of this latter group, recognizing whether there are traction or hydraulic elevators in your building can facilitate the implementation of more optimal maintenance schedules and the selection of the best parts for smooth performance. Additionally, knowing the differences between the two types can help you make the right choice for new elevator system outfitting applications.
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Helical Gears vs. Worm Gears

At IPTS, we manufacture a broad range of power transmission equipment, including worm gear and helical gear speed reducers. While both worm and helical gears are commonly utilized in power transmission equipment, helical gears remain the most popular choice between the two for many industry professionals.

Despite similarities in their application, distinct features differentiate worm gears and helical gears from one another. For example, in worm gears, one of the key characteristics is that the worm can turn the gear, but the gear cannot turn the worm. In helical gears, the specialized design of the gears’ teeth facilitates smoother and quieter operation than other comparable gears.
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Optimizing Industrial Automation Control Systems with Gear Speed Reducers

The industrial automation market has a current valuation of $158.5 billion, according to a recently published SBWire press release. In addition, the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8% by 2027—to $324.6 billion. Automation increases capabilities for manufacturers, such as longer operations and significantly higher production volumes.

Advances in automation technology will need to account for the greater demand this projected market growth will bring. Gear speed reducers can be implemented to ensure that machine motors operate efficiently and smoothly, enabling smooth operation, minimal service downtime, and longer service life. Here is an overview of how gear speed reducers work and the advantages the provide to industrial automation control systems.
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The Invention and Development of Electric Motors

Chances are, you can probably hear the hum of an electric motor right now. These machines power many aspects of modern life, including clocks, dishwashers, and garage door openers. But electric motors aren’t just vital in our homes—they also form an enormous part of many industrial processes. In manufacturing plants, electric motors run the fans, pumps, and power tools used in many forms of production. These devices also drive the production and transmission of power throughout the manufacturing industry.

Although they’re deeply intertwined with our lives today, electric motors haven’t always been around. Where did this powerful tool come from, and how did it become so ubiquitous in industrial processes around the world?
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Increasing Packaging Equipment Efficiency During the Holidays

Heightened sales during the holidays greatly impact the ability of packaging machinery to efficiently meet demand. What’s more, the growing prevalence of online shopping further strains the packaging industry’s ability to fill orders. The USPS alone expects to deliver over 900 million packages for the 2018–2019 holiday season.

As a result, this time of year sees increased wear and tear on conveyor belts, lifts, and other packaging machinery as they labor to keep up with seasonal demand. There is great opportunity in maintaining the efficiency of these machines despite times of heavier use.
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3 Applications Benefiting from Gear Reducers

Gear reducers are mechanical devices used primarily to reduce gear speeds while simultaneously increasing torque. Two of the most common types of gear reducers are worm and helical gear reducers.

Worm gear reducers are a simple and compact gear arrangement consisting of a spirally threaded shaft meshed with a toothed wheel (similar in appearance to a standard spur gear). The threaded shaft (worm screw) delivers an input rotational power which is transmitted in a 90o plane to the toothed wheel (worm wheel). Worm gears are renowned for their exceptional gear reduction ratios.
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