How Green is Your Gearbox?


Earth Day is just around the corner. Rising energy costs and concerns about global warming are at the forefront of today's news. Before the Pandemic, you could browse the internet or watch the news and find numerous stories about the seemingly irreversible energy costs. They would also mention the subsequent impact that these costs have on merely doing business. The result? We're becoming increasingly aware of energy costs and methods or new products to minimize it. 

Power consumption in the manufacturing environment accounts for approximately 1/3 of all energy consumed annually within the United States. In the enclosed gearing industry, questions such as "how efficient is product X" is becoming increasingly common. 

Several factors influence how efficiency is lost during the operation of the industrial gearbox system. This paper will address some of these factors, and it will further provide recommendations/ideas for obtaining a highly efficient gearbox while still taking into consideration application constraints.

Gearbox Efficiency – Defined 

As it relates to enclosed gearing, efficiency is simply the ratio of the output power (power transmitted through the gearbox as usable work) to the input power. As no mechanical device is 100% efficient, this numeric value of efficiency will always be less than 1. As an example, take a Sumitomo Paramax gear reducer (shown below) 


If this speed reducer were 100% efficient, it would be concluded that the 3,600 in•lbs of torque being applied to the input shaft would generate 540,000 in•lbs of torque at the output shaft through the 150:1 gear reduction. It can be seen in this example that the output torque is less than the “expected” value due to the internal losses. In using this example, the unit efficiency in can be determined as follows: 


Given this, it is calculated that the gearbox in this example is 85.8% efficient. 


Download this Whitepaper to continue reading and learn more about:

  • Efficiency of Gearing Types
  • Oil Seals and Efficiency
  • Bearings and Effiency
  • ....and more.

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About Sumitomo Drive Technologies

Sumitomo Drive Technologies has been trusted by many to provide quality products and innovative solutions to help our customers solve their complex challenges. This rich history has made us a leading manufacturer of power transmission and control products such as gearmotors and industrial gearboxes for a wide variety of applications for leading brands around the globe. For more information about our products and services, please contact us.