[VIDEO] Right Angle Gearboxes: Answers to Common Questions
Right angle gearboxes are used in all sorts of industrial applications. This video answers some of the most common questions we receive regarding the best way to select and deploy a W.C. Branham right angle gearbox.
What gearing types are available?
Gear types include crossed helical, spiral bevel, and worm. Crossed helical offer the flexibility of 2-, 3-, and 4-way configurations simply by inserting keyed shafting through the bores. They can also be configured to offer right-handed or left-handed output rotation.
Spiral bevel types can be configured in 2- or 3-way and offer in-line, same plane shaft alignment. They are also more efficient than crossed helical gears. Worm gearboxes are also highly efficient and can be configured with both solid shaft and hollow bore configurations.
What ratios are your gearboxes available in?
Both the crossed helical and the spiral bevel style gearboxes are common in low ratios. For the helical, we offer 1:1, 2:1, and 3:2 ratios. For the spiral bevel gearboxes, 1:1 ratios are the most common and 2:1 ratios are also available. For worm style gearboxes, higher ratios are the norm and we offer them both in 10:1 and 20:1 ratios.
Are your gearboxes bi-directional?
Both of our crossed helical and spiral bevel gearboxes are bi-directional regardless of the bore used as an input. The worm drive gearboxes are only bi-directional when using the worm gear as the input.
How do you determine output rotation for crossed helical gears?
Crossed helical boxes can be produced with either right-handed or left-handed output rotation. When viewed from the proper angle (in this case from the bearing cap sides on both bores) an RH model would rotate CW/CW and an LH model would rotate CW on the input and CCW on the output.
What are your required shaft and keyway fits and tolerances for your Insert-A-Shaft® gearboxes?
If a free-sliding fit is desired, your shafting should have a nominal dimension with a tolerance of +0.00/-.002 inch. The same goes for the keyway. If a free-sliding fit is desired, your keyway width should be the nominal dimension of -0.00/+.002 inch. This will ensure that your shafting slides freely into the bores of the Insert-A-Shaft® gearbox and no binding occurs.
Can gearboxes handle shaft loads?
It’s important to analyze your application and determine if the shafts connecting to the gearbox will be applying a radial or axial load to the gearbox. While some gearboxes can take external loads to the shafts, others require the shafts to be supported by external bearing blocks so that additional loads are not transmitted to the gearbox. It’s recommended to contact the manufacturer to determine suitability.
What types of lubrication are common?
There are two main types of lubrication that are commonly used in right angle gearboxes. One is grease — if the gearbox is not adequately sealed to use a fluid lubricant then normally a thick grease, like a grade 2, is used so that it can be retained in the gearcase. If the gearbox is sealed, like our CRL models, which include shaft seals, then a fluid lubricant like a 00-grade grease or gear oil may be used.
Are there advantages to either type of lubricant?
Grease will be more economical and suitable for most light-duty and intermittent use applications. Oil offers the benefit of better, long-term lubrication. It is preferable in higher service factors and continuous use applications.
What are some mounting options?
Most gearboxes come with integrated mounting holes in the gearcase so that the gearbox can be firmly mounted. Some gearbox styles like our Insert-A-Shaft® models can be mounted by the installed shafts and “float” on the shafts if they are properly supported on the input and output.
Can your gearboxes be mounted in any orientation?
The answer is yes. The gearboxes are sealed in all axes and can be mounted in any orientation — vertical, horizontal, upside down — you name it.
Are gearboxes repairable?
Yes, our Insert-A-Shaft® helical gearboxes, spiral bevel models and worm gearboxes can be repaired. They are all simple to disassemble due to the screw-on bearing caps and accessible gearing. For most models, we maintain sufficient inventory of parts to offer quick turnaround in case a customer needs it. Depending on the application, you may be able to repair them on-site, though, sometimes the gearbox or gearboxes may need to be returned to the factory to evaluate and perform the repairs.
What factors into choosing the right-sized gearbox?
Right angle gearboxes are useful across a broad range of industrial applications. To choose the best gearbox(es) for your design, you’ll need to consider the size ratios, torque, speeds, capability, mounting, and environmental requirements. For example, applications where the MICROGEAR® gearboxes could be a huge advantage, or even required, include:
- Medical equipment and devices are used in surgery, clinics, and labs where the products are designed for portability.
- Automation and robotics where precise operation and compact power transmission is a must.
- Food and beverage where the "shrinking" trend for individually packaged snacks continues to expand.
- Processing and packaging where smaller-scale production equipment is required.