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Choosing the right gearbox for the right application

By |  September 17, 2020

Logo: Sumitomo Drive TechnologiesWe talk a lot about gearbox startup, asset management and extending the life of your investment, but what about making sure you have the right industrial gearbox for the job? It may seem trivial, especially if you are on the MRO side, as you often have to trust that the equipment builder made the right decision when designing. However, what might seem practical or economical on the OEM side may not always translate to the MRO side.

This tends to be a concern when it comes to standard shaft mounted units, where belts, sheaves and pulleys are commonplace. In these applications, which most often involve conveying equipment, general-purpose shaft mounted units provide an economical solution. However, it’s important to also factor in safety and ease of use. Before replacing your next shaft mount, consider these essential points.

Equipment protection
Belts offer a built-in failure point, which protect your equipment from sudden shock loads that can occur in many conveying applications. Many gearbox options provide better than average service factors. Cycloidal technology, for example, offers 500 percent momentary shock load capacity.

Speed flexibilityA belt and sheave setup can also give you the flexibility to adjust the speed at which your conveyor is running. This is a helpful feature, but it’s also important to learn and consider the optimal speed that the equipment and gearbox were designed to run at. Changing the speed can have an impact on your equipment’s life.

Safety
Sheaves, belts and motor mounts all require safety guards. These create unneeded pinch points, are prime MSHA targets, and often become the source of a fine or infraction.

Maintenance
Belts will wear faster than most of the other wearable items on your machine. Therefore, you may require additional maintenance to change them, adjust tension or reinstall a thrown belt. Incorrect tension can also lead to pre-loaded bearings, leaking seals and ultimately failure.

Costs
On the surface, a shaft-mounted unit, belt, sheave, motor mount and guard all seem like they will cost less. However, combined, the above points can lead to a more significant Total Cost of Ownership.

Curious about your options? First, the type of shaft mount setups described above has been around for a while. They are pretty much the industry standard, and you will see most stackers and small belt conveyors utilizing this type of set up, especially in the aggregate, cement and sand industry. So, there may not be a reason to make a change.

However, if you have persisting issues and are already looking for a change, then chances are you might want to download Sumitomo Drive Technologies’ gearbox replacement planning guide and consider a different option for your current setup.

Photo: Sumitomo Drive Technologies

Photo: Sumitomo Drive Technologies

Consider right angle and offset parallel gearmotors

With products like the Bevel BuddyBox (BBB) or Helical BuddyBox(HBB), nearly all of the issues discussed in this article are overcome. We’ll list each of these below, but don’t just take it from us. Talk to many of the nation’s largest aggregate producers, and you’ll see why many are making the switch to Sumitomo Drive Technologies.

Equipment protection
The BBB and HBB utilize inline Cycloidal technology, which offers 500 percent momentary shock load capability. When matched with an oversized Bevel or Helical gear, we can offer up to 300 percent shock load in a right angle (BBB) and offset parallel unit (HBB.)

Speed flexibility
Before you just up and change the speed, be sure to find out if the rest of your equipment can handle it. If so, BBB and HBB both offer cycloidal input, which takes a majority of the ratio for the unit. This cycloidal input can be changed within the proper range to accommodate different ratios and provide different output speeds.

Safety
BBB and HBB gearmotors and C-face units offer direct drive options, and they eliminate the need for belts and sheaves as the motor is connected directly to the input shaft. With these new belt options, you can direct MSHA to another portion of your operation.

Maintenance and installation
With belts and sheaves gone, normal gearbox maintenance is all that is required. Mainly, this is lubrication and seal changes. Taking it a step further, with BBB and HBB, they can often be grease filled, meaning you can forget about changing that oil as well.

Installation can be a pain with belts and sheaves, but with a direct drive set up, you mount the unit on the shaft, and off you go. Plus, with Sumitomo’s patented Taper Grip Bushing (TGB) solution, there is no need for shaft modifications. The TGB is easily installed and easily removed. If done correctly, you’ll never need to cut another shaft just to get the gearbox off.

Costs
Even with each of these added benefits, BBB and HBB products are often more expensive than your economical shaft mounts – but not by much.

When you add up all the additional costs, downtime, and maintenance, the BBB and HBB will “pay for themselves,” according to Sumitomo Drive Technologies, before you have to provide that next downtime report to management.

If you’re ready to move on from your standard shaft mounted units, with belts, sheaves and pulleys – contact Sumitimo Drive Technologies. You likely already have a list of the critical requirements and possible enhancements you desire in your new gearbox. Let us help you centralize and quickly gather your thoughts and requests for your particular application’s needs.

Click here to download Sumitomo Drive Technoloiges’ 2020 Gearbox Replacement Planning Guide. The guide will act as the foundation of any discussion with our team and make the replacement process a breeze.

About Sumitomo Drive Technologies

Sumitomo Drive Technologies has been trusted by many to provide quality products and innovative solutions to help customers solve their complex challenges. This rich history has made them a leading manufacturer of power transmission and control products such as gearmotors and industrial gearboxes for a wide variety of applications for leading brands around the globe. For more information about Sumitomo Drive Technologies products and services, please contact them.


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Motion Industries is a distributor of maintenance, repair and operation replacement parts and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genuine Parts Co.

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