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How to Choose Reducer/Gearbox Parts

December 05, 2018

Your conveyor relies on many different parts and components to transport various materials from one point to another.

Materials transported by a conveyor may include:

  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Sugar
  • Wood
  • Paper
  • Zinc

Ideally, each conveyor component combines to form one “well-oiled machine”, reaching the desired levels of efficiency. However, if just one part isn’t up to snuff, it could mean major implications for the overall workings of the conveyor.

Selecting Reducer/Gearbox Parts

A critical area where conveyors can be optimized involve reducer/gearbox parts.

Here’s a breakdown of these categories and some considerations when selecting each part for your reducers/gearboxes.

Conveyor Gearboxes

It’s said that the gearbox is the heart of the conveyor. If it’s working well, so too will the conveyor. But if it’s not, that’s going to translate to downtime, repair costs and lost productivity, which can eat into profit margins.

The main role of the gearbox is to speed or slow down the conveyor belt. It does so by controlling the amount of torque that is delivered. Furthermore, gearboxes also help belts work better for longer.

Types of speed reducer gearbox operating styles include the following:

  • Bevel
  • Concentric
  • Helical
  • Right/90 Degree angle
  • Parallel
  • Worm
  • Inline
  • Planetary
  • Shaft
  • Vertical

Considerations For Choosing Reducer/Gearbox Parts

Selecting the right reducer/gearbox for your conveyor when working with sand, gravel, gold, silver, sugar, wood, paper and zinc mining applications isn’t as always easy as it seems.

Here’s a look at some considerations you’ll want to keep in mind when selecting a gearbox for your conveyor or any other associated parts that help make the gearbox work (ex: seals, wiring, vent plugs, etc.).

Size to the load

Many professionals make the mistake of sizing the gearbox equivalent to the motor versus sizing it to the equivalent of the load the conveyor is working with. Though it’s often easier this way, it usually results in the purchase of a bigger, typically more expensive gearbox that is too much for the load.

What professionals should aim to do is size the gearbox pertaining to the load. This can save money and energy usage in the long term.

Consider other sizing factors

After you size the gearbox per the load that the conveyor will carry, there are other factors that must be considered to ensure that the gearbox is appropriate for the application.

These include the likes of ambient temperature, the specific type of load, and the environment in which the conveyor will be performing. There’s also the consideration of how often the conveyor will be working during any given day.

For instance, in the case of high ambient temperature, the internal pressure is increased. This means that there should be an increase in the service factor (SF) overload capacity.

Impact loads also warrant an increase in the service factor (SF).

Plan ahead

There are a variety of technical specifications that you should already know regarding your equipment prior to selecting gearbox parts. RPM and Horsepower are two of the main specifications. You can use this information to help you narrow down your search faster. If you need additional assistance, be sure to leverage the expertise of your supplier or manufacturer.

Conveyor Reducers/Gearboxes

Many conveyor belt assemblies for gravel and sand applications, among others, use speed reducers, which help in converting speed into torque or torque into speed.

But choosing the right speed reducer parts isn’t as cut and dry as it may seem on the surface.

Professionals should begin by assessing the amount of torque that they’ll need and work their way into the selection from there. Then, the reducer must be properly sized taking into account variables such as service factor and load considerations.

Reducer gearings and shaft mount reducers are other types that can be incorporated.

Here are a few tips for selecting gearbox parts.

Space

Is your conveyor running in a confined space (ex: underground) or is space not an issue?

If space is a challenge, then selecting a compact reducer should be considered. Shaft mount reducers, for example, are known for being space saving compared to other types.

Maintenance

Maintenance should always be a key consideration when weighing reducer options.

As we mentioned above, unexpected repair only leads to downtime and lost productivity, which can greatly hamper the overall bottom line. It’s worth noting that proper preventative maintenance is key to keeping anything working efficiently and effectively, let alone a conveyor belt.

However, selecting a reducer that’s a good fit, easy to maintain and easy to install is imperative when working with demanding applications from sand and gravel to paper and zinc, and everywhere in between.

Seek expert opinion

Rely on the expertise of the supplier or manufacturer that you’re working with to ensure the right reducer for your conveyor.

If you know what reducer you want and need, that’s great. But if you don’t, don’t play a guessing game as to which one may work best. In the long run, this is just likely to result in more money spent and time wasted.

Selecting The Right Reducer/Gearbox Parts

When it comes to reducer/gearbox parts, there are a variety of different makes and styles from which you can choose. Foote Jones, Hansen, Sumitomo, Dodge, Lufkin, Link Belt, Rexnord, Falk, and Browning are popular gearbox and reducer manufacturers for conveyor systems. You may have the option of selecting a new or used speed reducer.

Before making a selection, it’s important to properly assess the needs and requirements of your conveyor to best ensure that the chosen parts will perform how they're intended, without harming any other components of the conveyor.

West River carries a full line of new and used Reducer/Gearbox parts.

See in-stock reducer/gearbox parts