Gear manufacturers fabricate and distribute gears, which are rotating machine parts that have cut teeth, also called cogs, that interlock with one another as they turn. The goal of gears is to transmit torque, which is the measure of the twist or rotational force placed on an object. When used in conjunction with one another and with other parts, gears facilitate transfer rotational torque power or mechanical motion.
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Applications of Gears
Gear manufacturers commonly produce products for customers in the hydrocarbon (oil and gas) exploration, textile manufacturing, food processing, heavy industrial mining equipment manufacturing, automotive, and food processing industries.
Materials Used in Gear Manufacturing
Gear manufacturers may fabricate gears using any number of materials depending on the requirements of the application. For example, for use with those demanding applications like automotive torque transmission, manufacturers will likely select a hard metal like brass, copper, steel, stainless steel, or titanium. To accommodate applications where low weight is a requirement, but taxing conditions are not, expect gears made of highly wear-resistant plastics like polycarbonate or nylon.
Points to Consider When Purchasing Gears
Most gear systems, aside from those used in consumer applications, are likely to experience vibration, heat, and the presence of corrosive materials. To combat their wearing effects and the possible disruption of proper gear performance, gear manufacturers generally recommend some form of lubrication be used on the majority of gear systems. To learn more, prospective gear owners should discuss their application settings with an experienced gear manufacturing professional. After a customer shares his or her requirements, gear manufacturers will also be able to decide whether or not their gear system would benefit from additional machining processes like gear hobbing. With the right gear manufacturer, prospective owners can’t go wrong.
Notable Types of Gears
There are a wide variety of gear designs made available by gear manufacturers. Configurations include: rack and pinion gears, bevel gears, helical gears, planetary gears, spur gears, nylon gears and plastic gears. Each type of gear ensures effective and efficient operations of the application they serve in a different way.
- Rack and Pinion Gears
- Linear actuators that consist of a linear gear, which is the rack, and a circular gear, which is the pinion, under which the rack sits and is interlocked. To work, rotational motion is first applied to pinion, causing it to move. As it moves, the rack moves along relative to it. Rack and pinion gear applications include: stair lift operation, product movement during manufacturing processes, rack railway control, and steering control in some vehicles.
- Bevel Gears
- Made to assist industrial processes, are characterized by the intersection of the axes of the two shafts upon which the gear themselves are mounted. They are conically shaped with teeth that can work with the similarly shaped teeth of other gears in order to transfer torque as they turn.
- Gear manufacturers produce more than one kind of bevel gear. These include straight bevel gears, spiral bevel gears, zerol bevel gears, hypoid bevel gears, and mitre gears. Each type of bevel gear is characterized by its pitch surface, pitch angle, and tooth shape. Bevel gears are used to assist automatic doors, hinges, automotive components, railway transport, printing presses, liquid storage and control systems, and power plants.
- Helical Gears
- Circular and have teeth that gear manufacturers have cut in a helical path at an angle relative to the gear’s axis of rotation. Usually, this angle is parallel or crossed, allowing the gear to transmit torque perpendicularly. Some helical gear applications include sand mullers, rolling mills, presses, feed drives, clay working machinery, cutters, blowers, and conveyors. In addition, helical gears, along with planetary gears, are important in the operation of power transmissions and vehicle motors.
- Planetary Gears
- Also known as epicyclic gears, are called planetary gears because they consist of three or more outer gears, known as planets, that revolve around a central gear, called the sun gear. In addition to their importance to automotive torque transmission, planetary gears, which offer increased torque capabilities, are also used with helicopters, bicycles, wind turbines, paper feeders, heavy machinery, and electric motors.
- Spur Gears
- Carry the distinction of being the most common and simplest gear types available. They consist only of a cylinder or disc that uses the machined teeth around its perimeter to transfer torque to and from other gears. They are typically found in children’s toys, windmills, trains, elevators, escalators, power hand tools, and heavy industrial machinery.
- Nylon Gears
- And small gears are inexpensive alternatives to metal gears. When paired with low-demand applications, they are very reliable. They are used extensively to service consumer products like clocks, small toys, printers, vacuum cleaners, electric sprinklers, food processors, electric shavers, and a myriad of around-the-house items.