If you need to address the issues of costs, space, and efficiency as a machine manufacturer or user looking for the perfect gear system, you’ll probably consider getting worm gears. Definitely, worm gears are not the best when it comes to efficiency, but they provide so many practical uses that make them a perfect choice.
Worm Gear Action
Worm gear and worm wheel are the two parts that constitute a worm gear. Mostly, steel is used to make the worm wheel is bronze. These gears operate on a sliding motion as opposed to rolling that’s typical of other gear types. The sliding action results in friction which negatively affects the efficiency of these gears. The usual range of efficiency for worm gears is between 40% and 90%. Because of the lower efficiency of these gears, more power will be used for the same task than would be the case if a more efficient kind of gear was applied.
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Resolving the Issue of Worm Gear Efficiency
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Since worm gear and worm wheel use a sliding action, their efficiency is affected, but there’s a way to handle the issue. The most effective way to resolve the matter of efficiency in worm gears is lubrication to minimize friction. Use of oil lubricants in worm gearboxes results in reduced friction, heat generation, and energy loss. When there’s less friction within the gear system, there’s increased efficiency.
Because the system employs two different metals, one for the worm wheel and the other for the worm gear, an enhanced efficiency level may also be achieved. There’s less friction between the bronze worm wheel and the steel worm gear owing to the softness of the former.
The Reasons You Should Still Use Worm Gears
The efficiency issues of worm gears notwithstanding, the gears offer numerous advantages that make them perfect for a several applications. Firstly, the gears are quieter in operation due to their sliding action, unlike other gear types. Also, it is possible to have a low number of teeth on worm gears, making it possible to attain higher ratios with just a couple of gears. And due to the softness of the bronze worm wheel, these gears have better shock absorbing capabilities.
Compact size is another good characteristic of worm gears. It is practical to make compact worm gearboxes due to the possibility to attaining higher ratios with only a few gear sets. Also, it is possible to put self-locking capabilities on worm gears for use in braking. When it is impossible to back-drive worm gears, these can be used in lifts, cranes, and other scenarios where braking is required.
If you’re a manufacturer or end-user, you’ll find worm gears to be one of the most ideal due to their numerous benefits.