What Is a Helical Reducer

Posted on Dec 11, 2020

Helical Reducer

The power source of a machine or an automation control system is usually either a motor or an engine. There is usually a gearbox that complements the engine through an output shaft. The helical reducer is a major component of the gearbox that amplifies the torque and controls the speed.

A helical reducer is a device used to control the output speed of a machine or a motor. It is commonly used in automation control systems. The two primary goals of a helical reducer, as well as other reducers, are to multiply the amount of torque that is generated by an input power source to reduce the input power resource speed and amplify the amount of work to achieve desired output speed.

The power source of a machine or an automation control system is usually either a motor or an engine. There is usually a gearbox that complements the engine through an output shaft. The helical reducer is a major component of the gearbox that amplifies the torque and controls the speed. Typically, the torque increases while the speed reduces. To increase the torque, the output shaft of a gearbox rotates slower than the input shaft of an engine.

Likewise, the output shaft that is controlled by the reducer in the gearbox can rotate at a faster rate than the input shaft. Therefore, the output speed of the machine or the system is faster and thus the torque is reduced accordingly. This very mechanism is essential in automation control systems because the performance of a machine can be managed as an operation actually requires.

How Does Helical Reducer Work?

The helical reducers operate more smoothly and quietly compared to other types of gears and reducers due to the way the teeth engage. The teeth on a helical gear cut to the face of the gear at an angle. When two of the teeth start to engage, the contact is not complete at once. Instead, as the gear rotates, the teeth gradually engage with the gear until they are fully in contact. The helical reducers can move in both directions. Either way, the curved configuration of the teeth creates a helix while the two gears gradually engage with each other during the rotation.

The average range of the helix angle is around fifteen to thirty degrees. The thrust load is affected primarily by the tangent of the helix angle. When a large amount of thrust is generated, the thrust load is supported by the bearings. When mounted on perpendicular shafts, the helical reducer can be used to adjust the rotation angle by ninety degrees. Because of the thrust that is produced when the helical gears turn, the helical reducer is ideal for heavy load operations. Also, because of the quiet feature, the helical reducers are used frequently in automation systems such as lifting or pulling operations.

There are different types of speed reducers that a motor or a machine can apply, and each of them has its own pros and cons. In addition to the helical reducers, there are also spur gear reducers, worm reducers, bevel gear, etc. They are all designed for controlling the speed and torque output of a system while the usage may vary because of the distinctive features each of them has.

:: Read More: What is a speed reducer gearbox?

The Spur Gears

The spur gears are the most common gears which are used for large gear reductions. The teeth of the spur gears are straight instead of curved. The gears are mounted on different motion shafts in a parallel configuration. They are common because the application of the spur gears is rather wide. They can be seen on washing machines, or windup alarm clocks, etc. Unlike the helical gears, they are used more in a compact, standalone devices rather than automation systems.

The engagement of the spur gears is less smooth compared to the helical gear reducers because the teeth are straight and they collide when contacting. As a result, when the spur gears are turning, it tends to make noticeable noises. The noise, collision, and vibration that the spur gear makes limit the application of them. They are less likely to be applied in precision machinery or automation systems.

Worm Gears

Worm gears are another common speed reducer applied in a gearbox. Like the spur gears, the worm gears are used mostly in large gear reduction operations. The gear ratio of worm gears has a relatively wider range than other types of reducers. The worm can turn the gear but is not able to turn the worm. It is an inherent safety mechanism that is built-in to the design. With this design, the gear cannot go in the reverse direction.

The worm gears are used frequently in a conveyor system since the locking feature given by the irreversible turning direction can serve as a brake or stop. A conveyor system is a device that transports workpieces or components. The transportation of the components is achieved by rollers, wheels, or a belt. The worm gears are used here for turning the moving parts.

Bevel Gears

The bevel gears are considered very versatile because the configuration of the teeth comes in a wide variety of styles. The teeth can be straight like the spur gears, they can be spiral like the worm gears, and they can be helical like the helical gears. The straight teeth, just like the spur gears, make loud noise and impact when engaging. On the other hand, spiral teeth can work just like helical gears. By how the teeth are configured, the application of bevel gears is various.

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