Different Types of Gearboxes

by Keith Allen; Updated September 26, 2017
Gearboxes move energy between two shafts.

In a gear assembly a gearbox is an essential piece of equipment. Transmitting the cause of mechanical rotation between two shafts is the fundamental principle of a gearbox. Generally designed to reduce speed, gearboxes, also known as speed reducers, gear heads and gear reducers, may sometimes be designed to enhance speed.

Popular Types of Gearboxes

According to the Gears & Gearbox website, there are a variety of gearboxes used in industries such as aerospace, paper, mining, agriculture and pulp. Some of the most common gearboxes are ground, bevel, worm, helical and spur. The manufacturing industry considers ground and hardened gearboxes the best types of gearboxes, according to the Gears Hub website. Ground gearboxes are made of materials such as titanium, stainless steel and nickel and used in industrial applications in the cement and aviation industries and windmills. Right angle applications use mainly bevel gearboxes, which are special speed reducers with their shafts lying perpendicular to each other.

Other Types

A worm gearbox changes the direction of rotary motion because of the screw thread on its axis that meshes with a toothed wheel, according to gears-gearbox.com. Worm gearboxes are constructed from materials such as stainless steel, cast iron, bronze or aluminum. A spur gearbox provides continuous speed drive by transmitting power and constant, uniform rotary motion from one parallel shaft to the other. Helical gearboxes are similar to spur gearboxs as far as working performance is concerned and possess teeth in a spiral format around the gear. Fabricated to work noiselessly, helical gearboxes are used in transmission operations.

Crane Duty Gearbox

Heavy-duty applications use crane duty gearboxes, which are an advanced type of gearbox and give maximum thermal efficiency, according to gearshub.com. Proper meshing of the gear teeth facilitates enhanced performance of the gearbox. Accurate bearings and precision gearing ensure the high efficiency of the crane duty gearbox, which is used in the automobile, construction and mining industries. Crane duty gearboxes possess a number of different features, such as high efficiency, precise tolerance, reduction ratios and correct and maximum tooth contact.

About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.

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