Common Applications for Worm Gearboxes [VIDEO]
The worm gearbox is an effective compact mechanical solution to reducing speed or increasing torque in many industrial settings. It can help with engineering challenges around rotational speed and torque. Another benefit is the gearing system inside a worm gearbox is self-locking by nature. A worm gearbox gets its name from the screw-shaped shaft that drives it and how that interacts with the wheel gear is where the magic happens.
Overcoming Challenges in Automated Equipment Applications
Worm gearboxes offer several distinct advantages in automated equipment. First, they allow for high gear ratios like 10-1, 20-1, or even greater depending on the design. This means you can manage both power and torque efficiently.
Worm gearboxes can be customized for shaft sizes, shaft configurations, ratios, or bore sizes. You can have hollow-bore models where you can insert keyed shafting through the bore or solid output shaft models for two-way or three-way applications. Worm gearboxes are often used where higher output torques are needed on things like conveyor systems and automated equipment.
Other Advantages of Worm Gearboxes
A worm gearbox is an updated version of a screw - one of the six simple machines that’s been in use for thousands of years. The 21st-century version that is in use in lots of applications has several advantages thanks to the physics involved. These include:
- Reduce speed
- Increase torque
- Self-locking (load can’t drive the gearbox backwards)
- Won’t drop vertical loads with a loss of power
- Can operate lead screw actuators, lead-type screw systems, and acme screw systems
- Operates quietly
Where Worm Gearboxes Thrive
Worm gears are used in low to moderate horsepower applications. They offer low initial cost, high gear ratios, high output torque, and are self-locking - all in a small package. You should consider using worm gears in these situations:
- Material Handling
- Packaging Equipment
- Power Conveyor Systems
- Medical Equipment
The determining factor on what type of gearbox you need often comes down to the torque, speeds, and ratios that your application requires.