1-800-428-1974 |

    Solutions in Motion™

    Right Angle Gearboxes: Does My Design Call for a Right or Left-Hand Rotation?

    Posted by Troy Branham on Sep 21 ,2016

    Right angle gearboxes are used throughout dozens of industries in hundreds of applications that require a reliable transfer of speed or power. They're versatile, but the name can be a bit of a misnomer — the “right” in "right angle" comes from their 90-degree angle — but they can be right- or left-facing. If your application demands a right angle gearbox, it’s important to know if your design calls for a left-hand or right-hand rotation.

    Right-Hand or Left-Hand Rotation

    The main differentiation between the right-hand and left-hand versions of right angle gearboxes is the rotation of the gear drives.

    For example, a bottom gear in both left- and right-hand rotations turning clockwise would have the top gear turning counterclockwise for left-hand rotation, and clockwise in the right-hand rotation.

    With many standard types and sizes are available, and the ability for specialty shaft configurations, ensuring the right angle gearbox for your application is key. Having multiple mounting options also helps simplify your design considerations.

    Read More

    Topics: Right Angle Gearboxes

    What is a Linear Actuator?

    Posted by Troy Branham on Sep 7 ,2016

    A linear actuator is any mechanical device that converts energy (power from air, electricity, or liquid) to create motion in a straight line, such as blocking, clamping, ejecting, lifting, descending, pushing, or pulling.

    It’s typically used in industrial automation and machinery, in applications along with motors, valves, pumps, switches, dampers, and in many other places where linear motion is required.

    A linear actuator moves a load, which can be an assembly, components, or a finished product, in a straight line, and is powered by pressurized fluid or air, as well as electricity.

    How Do Linear Actuators Work?

    Hydraulic and pneumatic actuators differ in how they work.

    Hydraulic actuators — also known as hydraulic cylinders — have a hollow cylinder with a piston inserted. An unbalanced pressure applied to the piston generates force that can move an external object.

    Since liquids are nearly incompressible, a hydraulic cylinder can provide controlled, precise linear displacement of the piston, but only along the axis of the piston. A good example is a hydraulic car jack.

    Read More

    Topics: Pneumatic Actuators

    [Video] Introduction to OVLPRO™ Low Profile Pneumatic Cylinders

    Posted by Troy Branham on Aug 31 ,2016

    W.C. Branham President and CEO Troy Branham introduces our newest product line, OVLPRO™ Low Profile Pneumatic Cylinders, in this edition of Solutions in Motion. 

    Like many of our products, OVLPRO™ was originally designed from a specific customer request: looking for a low profile, compact, high reciprocating cylinder for a specific application. We offer OVLPRO™ in three bore sizes: 25mm, 32mm, and 44mm bore. 

    Read More

    Topics: Hydraulic Cylinders

    Advice for Enhancing Your Engineering Design Process

    Posted by Chad Randleman on Aug 24 ,2016

    The engineering design process is a basic progression of several steps that mimic the process used in almost any problem-solving scenario.  The difference between a basic analytical problem and an engineered design problem is that an analytical problem has only one solution whereas a design problem can have many potential solutions. The job of an engineer or designer is to determine which solution is the best based upon what the most desirable outcome is.

    1. Identification

    The process begins by identifying a problem that requires an engineered solution. The first step is to identify and define what the problem is. Next, it is important to gather information, define any constraints that would impact the design and begin to imagine possible solutions to solve the problem.

    2. Planning 

    Once you have generated a few solutions you can begin planning what you will need.

    • What materials will be required?
    • What manufactured products exist that can be implemented into the design?  
    • What are the most important criteria of the design?
    Read More

    Topics: Insider

    How Does a Magnetic Coupling Work?

    Posted by Troy Branham on Aug 17 ,2016

    Magnetic couplers convey force without any actual physical contact. Because magnetic forces attract and repel, they can perform this action in a linear or rotary fashion. But how does magnetic coupling work, and why is it so useful? 

    The Magic of Magnets

    Magnetic couplers convey force without any actual physical contact. Because magnetic forces attract and repel, they can perform this action in a linear or rotary fashion.

    Magnetically coupled cylinders have a carrier that moves from end to end in both directions on a tube.

    End caps with pneumatic fittings allow the user to shuttle the carrier from one position to another using air as power in conjunction with a pneumatic control box. It could shuttle a few inches on an industrial machine or move 10 feet on a car wash door (like the DoorTec pictured here on a car wash door).

    Read More

    Topics: Pneumatic Actuators

    [VIDEO] Fixed Brakes vs. Floating Brakes

    Posted by Chad Randleman on Aug 10 ,2016

    What are the differences between double live sided fixed mount caliper disc brakes and single live sided floating mount caliper disc brakes? Those are the two options available when specifying and designing in the caliper disc brake for an application.

    Many models are available in both options and you can choose between the two depending on your mounting preference. Chad Ranldleman, W.C. Branham's VP Engineering and General Manager, discusses your options in this edition of Solutions in Motion.

    Read More

    Topics: Caliper Disc Brakes

    Tips for Choosing the Right Overhead Pneumatic Door Operator

    Posted by Troy Branham on Aug 3 ,2016

    The biggest question you might ask when choosing an overhead pneumatic door operator is, “Why pay more for pneumatic when an electrical operator will do?” The answer is that the added expense more than pays for itself in applications that require the smooth performance, higher speed, and increased dependability that pneumatic door operators offer. Here are some tips that will help you make the right choice.

    The greatest advantage of pneumatic door operators over electrical is dependability. Pneumatic door operators are, by design, air cylinders. A basic pneumatic operator looks like two rod cylinders connected by a chain and sprocket. Lower-cost electrical operators can require costly maintenance – meaning potentially lost customers who can’t enter, or equipment damaged to the elements when the door won’t properly shut.

    Dependability revolves around two important qualities in the right pneumatic door operator: speed and power.

    Speedy Operation

    Speed becomes important when you’re trying to keep out elements that can damage equipment, like cold weather. Saving seconds in opening and closing times can make a big difference in working equipment when temperatures dip below freezing. Also, in an application like a car wash, continuous door cycling paces customers through the service, adding up throughout the year.

    Read More

    Topics: Pneumatic Door Operators

    7 Signs You May Need an Air Cylinder Repair

    Posted by Troy Branham on Jul 28 ,2016

    Troubleshooting problems with air cylinders can be complicated when you’re faced with numerous situations that can lead to downtime and equipment damage or failure. With a rigorous preventive maintenance program and awareness of where problems can come from, air cylinders can be kept running at optimum performance levels while maintaining maximum functionality. So what are the seven signs you may need an air cylinder repair?

    Your air cylinder may need repair if you notice any of these warning signs:

    1. Failure to move (or actuate)
      Lack of movement is a clear sign that something is wrong. Monitoring actuating pressure can help avoid system breakdown.

    2. Actuating too slowly

    3. Requiring higher than normal pressure to actuate
      If pilot control pressure is too low, the control line may be too small or the metering choke valve could be malfunctioning. Also, there may be mechanical binding between the working load and the air cylinder, so check to make sure that the parallelism is maintained.

    4. Visual corrosion or excessive wear

    5. Hissing noises

    6. Load pulsing
      Air cylinders are known for their smooth, almost silent movement. If you notice a change, it’s probably not running right.
    Read More

    Topics: Air Cylinders

    [VIDEO] Introduction to DURATRK™ Rodless Cylinders

    Posted by Troy Branham on Jul 26 ,2016


    W.C. Branham President and CEO Troy Branham introduces our pneumatic actuator line, specifically our new DURATRK™ slot tube style rodless band cylinders in this edition of Solutions in Motion. 

    We make the  DURATRK™ product in six bore sizes, ranging from 18mm bore diameter up to 63mm. We cut our tube profiles in very small increments all the way up to 21 feet, depending upon a specific customer need. Our standard DTS model has an integrated piston yoke assembly, ideally for those applications where there's a light to moderate cylinder load requirement that the cylinder must move. 

    Read More

    Topics: Pneumatic Actuators

    Mechanical, Pneumatic or Hydraulic Brakes: What is Best for My Application?

    Posted by Troy Branham on Jul 14 ,2016

     When you’re trying to decide which type of brake is best for your particular application (such as mechanical, pneumatic, or hydraulic brakes), it’s important to understand both the reasons for braking and the differences in the types of brakes available for industrial equipment and on- and off-road braking applications.

    Understanding the Reasons for Braking

    1. Dynamic Braking

    The primary reason for braking is, of course, to get something to stop — also known as “dynamic braking.” A disc is moving and your goal is to get it to come to a complete stop. Any on- or off-road vehicle, aircraft service vehicles, golf carts, construction machinery or even wind turbines refer to this as “active braking.”

    2. Holding Position

    A second reason involves a “holding position,” which is common with industrial machinery with rotating parts. A winch is a good example of holding position braking. When payout or reeling is complete, a holding position can be of critical value.

    3. Controlling Speed

    Lastly, there’s “tensioning,” which falls between dynamic braking and holding, and is used for controlling speed. Anything that comes on a roll, such as newspaper, foil, or tape, is manufactured by a web handling system and involves tensioning. Tensioning brakes are applied often, so their pads have high wear rates, but are easily replaceable.

    However deciding on which type of brake to use will depend on what’s best for your application, so let’s “brake it down” further…

    Read More

    Topics: Caliper Disc Brakes