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Gibbons jargon buster #13: What is a worm gear motor?

Time to clear up another confusing term from our industry, and today we’re asking “what is a worm gear motor?” Read on as we explain all.

As you can see in this image, a worm gear consists of a threaded gear similar to a screw and a toothed wheel. The screw is driven by the shaft of an electric motor, which in turn rotates the toothed wheel. If you’ve ever used a hand-powered music box then chances are you’ve worked a worm gear!

Due to its unique configuration, a worm gear motor magnifies the rotational force of the motor that drives the gear. For this reason they’re very useful in heavy industries and are found in milling machines, presses and mining equipment.

The wheel cannot drive the screw – this is due to the angle of the screw threads. Because of this, worm gear motors are self-locking, explaining why they are heavily used by lift and escalator manufacturers.

Worm gear motors form part of Gibbons’ transmission systems range, with top-quality gearboxes from manufacturers such as Bonfiglioli and Sumitomo available. For more information, give us a call on 01621 868138 or email

Transmission Systems

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