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How do gearboxes work?

As they’re a fully-contained unit, it’s easy to use a gearbox without considering what’s going on inside and how they actually operate. So today we’re asking “how do gearboxes work?” Well, the answer is simpler than you might think.

All gearboxes work on the same principle that the gears will rotate in a certain direction depending on their orientation and the input direction. So, if the initial gear rotates in a clockwise direction, the gear it engages will rotate anti-clockwise. If there are multiple gears then this reversal of direction continues down the gear train.

In order to achieve a particular output speed, a gearbox will have a combination of different-sized gears with the number of teeth on each determining gear ratio. High gear ratios allow for greater output torque and lower speed, while lower gear ratios produce higher speed and less output torque.

So in a system with the drive gear having 20 teeth and the driven gear having 10, the gear ratio will be 2:1. This means that for every full rotation of the drive gear, the driven gear will turn twice. Certain gear combinations can therefore be very effective for greatly increasing (or decreasing) rotation speed, giving the manufacturing and process industries a world of flexibility.

Our Transmission Systems division provides gearboxes and gear motors built to the highest specification by top manufacturers such as Bonfiglioli and Sumitomo. Give us a call on 01621 868138 or email for more information.

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