Drives & Controls January 2024

38 n GEARS AND GEARBOXES January 2024 Hypoid gearboxes: why use them, and where? Hypoid gearboxes are a type of spiral bevel gearbox. In contrast to traditional bevel gearboxes, they have nonintersecting axes, meaning they are not parallel, but o set from one another. This results in a hyperbolic rather than conical geometry. Due to the tooth design, there is a large contact area, meaning high torques and gear ratios are possible, delivering greater precision. Hypoid gearboxes are compact and also o er smoother running properties, have quiet operation and can achieve lower backlash ratings than traditional bevel or worm type gearboxes. They tend to be used where speeds exceed 1,000 rpm, or for slower applications that demand extreme smoothness or quietness. Although hypoid gearboxes are currently a relatively small segment of the precision gear market, it is likely to grow faster than the market as a whole because a range of industries see the benets in the technology. This includes high-growth sectors such as robotics and automation. Recent research by Interact Analysis (IA) predicts that the precision gear market will expand at a CAGR of 7.7% between 2022 and 2027, from $3.6bn to $5.2bn. A range of industries use hypoid gearboxes in a variety of applications. Some of the key markets are outlined below. Robotics and automation IA predicts that the value of gearboxes for industrial robots will leap from $1bn in 2021 to $1.9bn by 2027. Hypoid gearboxes o er high precision and eŽciency, making them attractive for automation and robotic systems. Benets include: n High positional accuracy, because the low backlash ensures precise positioning and makes them suitable for applications requiring precision control. n Reduced maintenance due to the gearboxes’eŽciency and durability, reducing the need for frequent maintenance and lubrication, and delivering cost savings and increased uptime. n EŽcient power transmission at di erent gear ratios, facilitating the dynamic movement and manipulation of robot arms Industrial Machinery Hypoid gearboxes are used widely in heavy-duty machinery where high torque loads need to be transmitted. The advantages include: n High torque capacity and the ability to withstand heavy shock loads without compromising performance, making hypoid gearboxes ideal for heavy machinery such as mining equipment, cranes and conveyors. n High gearbox durability and long service lives, due to the meshing of hypoid gears generating a large contact area to distribute the load evenly. This reduces wear and tear and enhances the ability to endure challenging working conditions. n Versatile mounting options, allowing more –exibility in machinery design and adapting to space constraints. n Smooth, quiet operation as a result of the unique tooth geometry, making hypoid gears suitable for environments with noise restrictions. Renewable energy Hypoid gearboxes are proving popular for renewable energy applications such as wind turbines and solar tracking because of their eŽciency and reliable power transmission. Advantages include: n The ability to handle forces generated by rotating blades. n Low noise and vibration characteristics. Power tools In tools such as circular saws, angle grinders and worm drive saws, hypoid gearboxes transfer power eŽciently from the motor to the grinding or cutting elements. Advantages include: n High power output, enabling the tools to handle tough materials and cutting tasks. n Providing better lubrication and cooling to cut maintenance and extend tool lives. n High power-to-weight ratios, resulting in portable tools. Hypoid gearboxes are also used for rear-wheel-drive and all-wheeldrive systems in the automotive industry, to ensure eŽcient torque transfer between the engine and the drive wheels. They o er higher mechanical eŽciency than bevel gearboxes, reducing energy losses and improving fuel economy. The gears’unique gear tooth geometry and o set pinion design, also result in enhanced noise and vibration control. Hypoid gearboxes have established themselves as a popular choice in a variety of industries and applications due to their unique design and exceptional performance. They o er eŽciency, compact designs, high durability, and precision motor control. Hypoid gearboxes are likely to evolve further, nding their way into new applications as the technology develops and companies are won over by the increased productivity, reduced maintenance costs and performance improvements they deliver. n Hypoid gearboxes are becoming increasingly popular for transferring power and torque eciently between components. Mike Gulliford, managing director of Apex Dynamics, looks at the key performance advantages that makes them attractive for a variety of applications. Apex Dynamics’ BKM hypoid gearboxes o er high torque and accuracy, good radial load capacities and low backlash, in a compact design compatible with any motor.