The 3 Most Common Types of Gearboxes

The 3 Most Common Types of Gearboxes

Gearboxes are commonly used within DC motor applications for projects which require higher output torque or lower speed than what is readily available from radial flux motors.

Simply put, pairing a gearbox with an electric motor allows for a change (increase) in the torque and a change in the speed (decrease) between the motor and the load. There are many different systems which can help to achieve the desired torque and speed requirements for specific applications, and we take a closer look at some of them here:

What are the different types of gearboxes?

Here are the 3 most common types of gearboxes our customers use…

Right-angle gearboxes

As the name suggests, the shaft from the motor and gearbox have a 90-degree relationship. This is commonly known as a worm gear setup and is popular for use in applications and industries where avoiding slippage is important.

Right-angle gearboxes are also prevalent due to their comparatively lower costs and ease of availability; they are generally available in a smaller range of ratios (7:1 through to 100:1) and typically have a lower efficiency than the other options, especially when utilising a higher ratio.

Planetary gearboxes

These gearboxes got their name due to the outside (planet) gear revolving around a central (sun) gear. Planetary gearboxes are a more expensive option to implement within client systems, however they have certain advantages in terms of performance, durability, accuracy, and size when compared to right-angle units.

A planetary gearbox would suit customers looking for higher efficiency and savings in terms of size and weight within their system. These units can be produced with various mounting and shaft configuration options, along with a wider range of ratios (from 3:1 through to 400:1), which allows for more options in terms of increasing the torque or lowering the speed of various projects and applications.

Hybrid gearboxes

This unit combines traits of each of the above units, with non-parallel gears, but still has more contact area between the gears which allows for ratios up to 200:1 and in the shape of a right-angle gearbox.

While this option can be costly and somewhat heavier than the alternatives, it is a commonly used solution for high torque requirements within traction applications.

Why is a complete solution important?

When designing a complete solution for any type of product or industry, our clients’ specifications will define what type of motor and gearbox should be utilised. These considerations may include size of the overall system, weight restrictions, accuracy, or backlash requirements, and of course the final output torque and speed.

Being able to pair an EMP electric motor with the right gearbox from one of our approved suppliers allows us to present a complete solution which addresses all the client’s relevant requirements.

We can work with you to solve your specific challenges and present a suitable gearbox solution based on optimising the overall efficiency and minimising losses. For example, we can modify the speed from our motors to suit the specific output torque and speed requirements of your project.

Who can assist with selecting a suitable system?

Any one of Electric Motor Power’s technical experts can assist you with selecting the right type of motor and gearbox combination. Our staff maintain strong relationships with a range of gearbox suppliers and understand the different input speed, torque limitations and efficiency of various systems.

For example, the output torque from the gearbox is equivalent to the motor torque X ratio X efficiency; and it is important to understand the efficiency of each unit and the motor output torque to accurately gauge which system will meet the desired outputs from the customer.

No project is too big or small, and in addition to carrying our standard range of over 100 motors and accessories manufactured to IEC standards, we also offer custom motor solutions to meet any project requirement be it large or small.


If you have a project that requires an gearbox and need advice on the best type for your project, click here to contact us and one of our experts will be in touch.

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