On the Road with the Gearbus

Apex Dynamics taking servo gearbox solutions on the road with The Gearbus

Apex Dynamics is taking its precision gearbox solutions direct to customers in a 7.5-tonne custom fitted truck complete with dynamic and static demos.

Solving motion control challenges in situ means solutions can be tailored to customers onsite without taking much time out of their day – they can hop aboard The Gearbus for just 10 minutes or for 30 minutes or more. Visits are pre-booked and planned to make sure customers get the best opportunity to identify the right motion control solutions for their needs.

The Gearbus is a 7.5-tonne box truck that has been refitted internally and externally, has an onboard generator, and can also run off its own batteries for hours. It comes a number of significant dynamic and static demos on board, including an impressive demonstration of precise synchronisation control using a fragile 0.5mm pencil lead and two counter-rotating discs each controlled by a servo set up. The Gearbus is also kitted out with a TV system for videos, a series of static displays and demo cases and seating for 6.

A recent trip to the Republic of Ireland resulted in 9 visits to customers over 4 days, and 35 engineers who had never met Apex Dynamics at a traditional trade show were able to witness the company’s market-leading technology at work first-hand. We now plan to go to 50 locations with the Gearbus over the coming months, visiting new and existing customers across the UK.

Part of what drove the Gearbus idea was that, at many companies, staff being allowed out to go to exhibitions has become more of a luxury, due to rising costs. This way, we come to them, and people just need to hop on board the Gearbus for a few minutes!

For customers it’s hugely convenient if they are interested in the tech and want to learn more without taking much time out of their day. The exhibition comes to you. You can see people’s reaction – how surprised they are when they go into the bus and see what’s there. They don’t expect the real product and dynamic demos to be on board.

See the Gearbus in action

An Unrivalled Offering in Planetary and Other Servo Gearboxes

Apex Dynamics is proud to announce that we have maintained our production schedule and delivery time integrity during all the recent industrial lockdowns and supply chain issues which have occurred within the drives, controls and motors sectors. We offer an industry leading 3-week lead time on new orders, guaranteed delivery and 5 year warranty with ATEX certification as standard- all without sacrificing quality or service!

Delivery Integrity

Thanks to our state-of the art manufacturing facilities, we have been able produce at least 100,000 gearboxes per month. The company’s newest factory opened in 2022 and will allow us to produce an additional 100,000 units monthly when fully operational in early 2023

Because our manufacturing facilities are based outside of Europe we have no problems with importing into the UK and avoiding the Brexit -related import issues we know are still being experienced by some other suppliers, further impacting their delivery lead times.

New Products

Last year, Apex Dynamics expanded its product portfolio by introducing a new fully automatic and programmable lubrication system as well as rotary housing gearbox range designed for the AGV/AMR market. In addition we also have stainless steel line of planetary gearboxes that are perfect for application in food manufacturing and similar industries

Our latest gearbox ranges to be released are the Helical Bevel, Hypoid Bevel and Helical Worm gearboxes, along with their gearbox and motor combinations.

Superior Designs For High Performance

Our planetary gearboxes have a number of patented features which offer unique advantages for higher performance. For example, the single piece construction with bearing mounted sun gear is a huge advantage.

Easy to Move to Apex Dynamics?

We have the largest range of drop-in replacement gearboxes for other leading servo gearbox manufacturers and a mobile app which makes it very straightforward to generate our equivalent product code from the competitor model. Changing to Apex Dynamics to get the servo gearbox performance and delivery you need could not be easier. The converter app can be found in the iPhone app store or on Google Play with the title “Servo Gearbox Converter”.

What are the Key Advantages of Planetary Gear Reducers

Planetary gear reducers are compact components that strive to maximize the transmission of torque in various applications. The mechanisms ensure the transmission of high torque levels while simultaneously decreasing the required number of motor revolutions for a set level of power. The reducers are composed of a gearbox and aligned input and output shafts. Industrial automation systems, including DC transmission, servo, and stepping systems, use planetary gear reducers to efficiently manage tasks that demand high levels of torque.

Both small and large systems benefit from planetary gear reducers because they can effectively reduce speed and the system’s torsional inertia ratio while increasing torque within the system.

Compact Size and Low Weight

Compared to similar gear reducer systems, these components weigh less and have a compact format that can fit easily into more design solutions. Planetary gear reducers can maintain the same torque output while decreasing size by up to 50%.

Durability and Long Life

Planetary gear reducers have ball bearings that help the components operate smoothly and efficiently. This reduces wear throughout their operational lifespan, leading to less damage and long product life.

Increased Repeatability

Planetary gear reducers offer higher axial load and radial load speeds than comparable systems. This increases their overall reliability and sturdiness and decreases the potential for misalignment. These features allow planetary gear reducers to mitigate the effects of vibration and ensure consistent power transmission over time.

Increased Torque Transmission

Planetary gear reducers are built for maximum gear teeth engagement. Because more teeth are in contact, the configuration can both handle and also transfer more torque

Versatility

Each stage of a planetary gear reducer system can be stacked or modified for custom configurations that meet the needs of a given application. Planetary gear reducers are also easy to work with: once they’re housed in a cylindrical gearbox, they can be installed almost anywhere.

Key Applications of Planetary Gear Reducers

Planetary gear reducers offer excellent performance in a wide range of industries including automation, electronics, food processing, packaging, textiles, construction, energy, medical, security systems, and transportation. Specific applications include:

  • Ball screws
  • CNC spindles
  • Conveyor systems
  • Indexing systems
  • Laser equipment
  • Printing machines
  • Rack and pinion
  • Robots
  • Rollers and belts
  • Working tables

Planetary Gear Reducers From Apex Dynamics

At Apex Dynamics we specialize in providing high-quality, high-performance mechanical solutions. Our extensive series of planetary gear reducers are designed to provide effective, smooth and even torque transmission across a wide range of applications and systems. Each unit can be supplied in custom configurations for the chosen servomotor and built for different speed ratios. We have the widest range of drop-in replacements for any competitor’s planetary units.

Each helical gear component is precisely machined for fine-tuned engagement and has twice the number of meshing teeth as comparable spur gear solutions. This helps provide better engagement and smooth performance while minimizing backlash and noise. Every gearbox is also finished with a corrosion-resistant surface finish for long-term durability.

Choosing a Right Angle Gearbox?

A right-angle gearbox is applied to drive a rotary motion at right angles, but which right-angle gearbox is the best for a specific application? What are the individual characteristics and what are the pitfalls? What is the efficiency of right-angle gears, and which is best suited in servo technology?

The reasons to use a right-angle gear unit are:

  • Space saving: as a motor with gearbox combination becomes too long for the space available.
  • If you want a gearbox with hollow shaft, to feed a shaft or cables through.
  • In the event of shaft mounted gearbox there are other benefits.

Here is a brief summary of the different types of existing right-angle gears, with their specific characteristics:

Bevel Gears

These bevel gears are used to transmit rotational motion at right angles, whereby the two axes of the gears intersect. This type of gear is therefore often built symmetrically. The movement consists of rolling without sliding of two bevels, hence the name. Gears with spur or spiral teeth are used.

Hypoid Gears

Hypoid gears are special bevel gears wherein the axes of the gears are offset. This allows a larger spiral angle on the pinion which means the pinion can be larger and transmit higher torques and give higher gear ratio options. They are used, for example, in cars and fork-lift trucks to achieve the rotation of the drive shaft on the rear axle and thus to drive the wheels. With this principle, the toothing is always spiral (helical).

Worm and Worm Wheel Gears

A worm and worm wheel are considered as gears. If the “worm” (a spiral gear) is driven, the worm wheel will rotate slowly (for example, one tooth per revolution of the worm), but with a high torque.

Worm boxes can give a much larger ratio reduction with high torque increase. With normal worm gears the higher ratios give the inability to back drive the gearbox giving a self-locking property. The traditional worm gearbox is very inefficient though and requires higher power to overcome the friction within the gear movement. Common applications for worm boxes are conveyors & escalators where high ratios and high friction is not a concern or in elevation a benefit as the drive will self-lock and restrict the load driving the gear backwards.

In addition to these more ‘standard’ right-angle transmissions there are countless more “exotic” right-angle gears which we will not attempt to describe in this summary.

Efficiencies and Precision can vary between manufacturers, but typical characteristics are below.

Technical Characteristics and Differences By Type:

Of course, manufacturers of servo gearboxes do not have the “antique” cage gear in their programmes now. The worm gear has the advantage that it can easily be made low backlash at a high ratio and is inexpensive, however, the disadvantage is the poor efficiency: approximately 70%.

Because of this poor efficiency the servomotor has to be heavier to compensate for this loss. Also the servo amplifier or frequency converter often has to be forced cooled. Eventually, the drive combination can be much more expensive. And in S5 operation, the wear of the teeth is often large.

The intended benefit of self-locking ability is void in the eyes of CE: Since a gear unit must not be seen as self-locking in the event this could cause personal injury or other danger.

Apex Dynamics is a major supplier of servo gearboxes, and we have in our product range for right-angle variations the choice of bevel gearboxes and hypoid gearboxes, whether or not fitted with a front or end planetary stage. As with our other servo gearboxes they have low backlash and low inertia for dynamic applications.

Why Does Patented Technology Matter In Planetary Gearboxes?

There are many things which set Apex Dynamics apart from the competition including the 3-week standard lead time and 5-year warranty. Today we are going to look at the patented technology which is the foundation behind the outstanding performance from Apex planetary gearboxes.

What is a planetary gear and what are the benefits? A planetary gearing system is made up of a centre sun gear (pinion) which rotates and drives the planet gears (3 in most typical planetary gearboxes) this rotates against a fixed planet ring and moves the planet carrier through the drive pins which are connected to or part of the output shaft. Planetary gears offer higher and more accurate transmission than a standard single tooth connection as you have more teeth engaged at all times transmitting torque to the output instead of one gear meaning much higher loads are achievable

Apex different variants and performances

Apex patents within its gearbox offer unique advantages. The single piece construction with bearing mounted sun gear is a huge advantage. The main internal carrier is machined on a single piece of steel and all surfaces have the same datum.

Patented planet carrier design locates the sun gear bearing directly into the planet carrier to offer full concentricity and alignment from input shaft to output shaft, this design also reduces indifferent thermal expansion when compared to the standard two-piece construction as well as reduced heat build up due reduced input bearing speed.

Patented input and output sealing design with Hi-tech ball burnished surfaces which creates superior contact interface and low breakaway friction with the dual lipped spring-loaded Teflon coated Viton seals allowing high efficiency and low heat.

Special cut channels on the planet gears allow lubrication to flow to the needle bearings during rotation increasing lubrication circulation through the bearing reducing heat buildup and increasing life.

Why are Food Grade Planetary Gearboxes In Demand ?

In the present situation automated machinery is being used in food product processing and packaging more frequently than ever. With these applications, servo control is becoming a must for flexible and high-speed machine operations and the need to select the right precision gearbox to suit is paramount.

With processing machine operators facing increasing requirements to keep the manufacturing environment clean and contamination free, stainless steel gearboxes are becoming a more viable option for servo applications to enable wash- down procedures without the risk of corrosion or potentially toxic contamination from paint peel

The New Agv Gearbox Series With Low Backlash Helical Gears

Apex Dynamics as a world class manufacturer of low-backlash gearboxes, racks and pinions received more and more questions about which gearbox is ideal for an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) application?

We have now developed a series of gearboxes specifically for this type of mobile robot application, the GL series is a high-end gearbox range which complements the existing PD/PDR and the PL/PLR ranges and offers a number of technical advantages.

The GL series is designed with high precision helical gears with a maximum backlash of 3 arc minutes for a single stage ratio. With this series, the flange and the housing are made from one rotating part, making it ideal for direct mounting and supporting of the drive wheel without getting high bending moments.

Continuous Application Of Servo Planetary Gearboxes

Designing for continuous applications can be challenging. In this white paper, we outline what constitutes a continuous application for servo gearboxes, how to size for continuous applications and the pitfalls that can lead to premature failure of your system.

Apex Dynamics Continuous Operation White Paper

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