Selecting gearboxes and servosystems

A servosystem coupled with a planetary gearbox is expected to provide precise motion, but this requires all components be carefully matched. Although it’s possible to buy the servodrive, motor, and gearbox from different suppliers, it’s not recommended as this requires a great deal of research and comparison to ensure all components will work together. Purchasing components from a single supplier — especially one that has carefully matched the components and will stand behind the specific combination of parts in question—offers several advantages.

The supplier has done all the research and confirms compatibility. Most suppliers will extend a more favorable warranty on such purchases. Plus, they can provide the approved mounting hardware to connect the components.

Some suppliers provide online tools for selecting servosystems and compatible gearboxes, easing the specification effort. These selection guides aid the design and provide specific recommendations for closely matched components that can be purchased as a system. In these cases, engineers can be certain the systems they specify are compatible in all critical areas, and that the components will come with the required mounting bushings and keys.

In fact, some selector tools let designers enter their torque and speed requirements, and then automatically filter a list of available motor-and-gearbox sets. Engineers can enter torque data in metric or imperial values, or the designer can select a particular servomotor size. Designers enter speed data as discrete values, or pick a gear ratio. Finally, the engineer can choose a preferred physical orientation—inline, right-angle gearing, or both.

The resulting list of available systems includes pricing information, a factor often critical to the selection process. After choosing a motor/gear combination, the designer moves to a page with full specifications for the selected servosystem, the gearbox, and the combination.

One caveat: Even though a selector can make the specifying process easier, engineers and designers should always verify that a system meets their needs and gets applied correctly.

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