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Application of the Month

Gearbox Drives 4 Axes At The Same Time
October, 2014 - View all Application Examples

Because of the wide range of gearbox technologies we have in our product line up we often get calls with some strange requests. Well, they may seem strange to most gearbox suppliers since they usually only offer run of the mill solutions. But for us the unusual seems to be more the norm these days.

We recently received a call from a customer who was looking for a way to drive 4 sets of rollers with a single power source. These rollers were set 90 degrees apart and were intended to rotate a load that was placed on top. He was trying to avoid designing some convoluted mechanical drive system that would connect all the rollers.

Why not use a rotary table of some sort? The geometry of the system didn’t allow it. In this application a conveyor moved a part (that was wider than the conveyor) to a position above the rollers. The rollers where then raised beyond the width of the conveyor to lift the part. The synchronized rollers were then activated to rotate the part to a new position.

Ok, maybe it’s not that easy to visualize. Suffice it to say there wasn’t another easy way to do it. They wanted the rollers and they were really long. So the shafts driving them had to be long too.

The customer had called all his usual sources and a few others to boot. Nobody would do what he wanted done. After a search on the Internet for special right angle boxes, he found us. With some reluctance that he was heading down a dead end he was quite surprised to learn that we had actually done similar designs before and that his concept was only a minor modification of one of or standard designs. Ok, minor, but not necessarily cheap, although cheaper than his alternatives.

The solution was a version of our Tandler ZA series of spiral bevel gearbox with auxiliary shafts in different planes, just with custom longer shaft lengths.. These boxes are designed with multiple bevel gears inside to provide the potential for up to 6 shaft extensions. In this case we needed 5 shafts. One shaft in one plane to drive and 4 others in another plane to synchronously drive the four rollers.

There were also a couple of other design options like special bearings for increased radial capacity and seal covers to protect against dust contamination.

Sharing the torque and speed and specific selection for this application is not nearly as important as recognizing that a lot of special designs can be achieved within our standard spiral bevel gearbox program. With a myriad of different options available and a design that is highly customizable, we can create special solutions for just about anything you can think of. We even have a page on our website dedicated to the special designs and capabilities of this program.

When you have an especially difficult design problem that could be satisfied with a right angle gearbox, give us a call. Right angles are a particular specialty of ours. They are a configuration that we have more solutions to offer than anyone else.

Chris Popp
Director of Marketing

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