An inside look at an engineering staple: the gearbox

These devices run almost every machine in the world.
Loukia Papadopoulos

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Today, gearboxes, a series of integrated gears within some kind of housing, run almost every machine in the world. Their purpose is to transfer energy from one device to another or to increase or decrease output torque and change the speed of a motor.  

Gearboxes are as varied as they are useful with, helical gearboxes noted as some of the most widely-used and the most efficient. These types of gearboxes are used in the production of plastics, cement, and rubber, and contain different types of gears depending on their purpose.

Next up there are planetary gearboxes that are surrounded by three planet gears and held together through an outer ring with internal teeth, allowing power to be spread equally throughout the gears. These devices can be found in robotics and 3D printing technologies.

Lastly, there are automobile transmissions gearboxes including manual transmission and automatic transmission and worm reduction gearboxes, or worm wheel gearboxes, which are commonly found in heavy industries such as fertilizers and chemicals.

How are all these gearboxes engineered? How do they work and what are the main differences between each type? What new advancements have we seen in gearboxes in the past few years? This video answers all these questions and more.

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