Gearbox Inspection with SPI Borescopes

What is a Gearbox?

A gearbox is one of the most basic mechanical components that goes into just about any automotive vehicle. As the name suggests, it is an encasement of gears. The primary function of a gearbox is providing mechanical conversions from one rotating power source to another. It works to increase torque while reducing speed and they are present in most cars and similar transportation vehicles.

You may have heard the term gearbox used interchangeably with transmission or transmission box. While this is not entirely accurate, it may stem from the British term transmission, which typically refers to all the machinery in the drivetrain. Essentially, the gearbox allows your vehicle to switch gears seamlessly. However, there are different components that make up the gearbox and allow it to operate properly. Learning about these different parts can help when it comes time to perform an inspection!

Gearbox Components

The gearbox is comprised of four main components. Within that, there are tons of different moving parts and pieces that go into keeping it running smoothly. The most important parts are:

The countershaft connects directly to the clutch shaft and contains the gear that connects this piece to the main shaft. The countershaft can run at engine speed or lower, as determined by to the gear ratio.

The main shaft runs at vehicle speed and carriers the power harnessed by the countershaft and gears as per the gear ratio. It connects with the universal shaft at one end and runs at different speed and torque than the countershaft.

The gears are the most significant aspect of the gearbox, as they are what gives it its name and overall purpose. This piece determines the gear ratio, which is the ratio of the input/driver gear teeth to the output/driving gear teeth. The gear ratio essentially determines the speed and torque of the car. In a traditional four-speed manual transmission car, the gearbox will contain four-speed gear ratios and one reverse gear to operate the vehicle.

The bearings are the support system within the gearbox that supports the counter and main shaft. The bearings are also essential to reducing friction by supporting the revolving parts of the gearbox.

Types of Industrial Gearboxes & Applications

There are various different types of gearboxes available and they can be used in a number of mechanical applications. Ultimately, all gearboxes function by transmitting energy and communicating with an output source to dictate the speed of rotation within the mechanism. Here are the most common types of industrial gearboxes and what they used for.

Coaxial Helical Inline

This gearbox is particularly useful in heavy-duty applications like lifting or transportation, as they are revered for their durability and efficiency. The coaxial helical gearbox is fabricated with hardened materials, such as tempered steel, which help to minimize friction.

Bevel Helical Gearbox

This distinct gearbox is outfitted with a set of curved teeth on its cone-shape surface. Recommended for quarries and conveyors, the bevel helical gearbox is primary used to create rotary motions in between perpendicular shafts.

Planetary Gearbox

This gearbox is available in either a hollow or solid input format and can have different mounting options, making it a versatile option well known for its endurance and accuracy in applications like pencil sharpeners or 3D printers.

Worm Reduction Gearbox

This gearbox is primarily used to operate heavy duty applications such as elevators. The gearbox is outfitted with a large worm wheel (thus the name) that fits into the teeth of the surrounding area of the gearbox. In some cases, it may even look like a screw with a nut. Worm gearboxes are used to provide a significant speed reduction ratio.

Helical Gearbox

This smaller-sized gearbox is a low-power application that can be used in heavy-duty operations such as construction or conveyors, though it can be used in a wide variety of industrial equipment. The helical gearbox sits at an angle that allows more teeth to mesh in the same direction, leading to more direct contact over an extended amount of time.

Skew Bevel Helical Gearbox

The skew bevel helical gearbox is easily discerned by its rigid and monolithic appearance, which makes it an excellent component for heavy loads. One properly mounted on the motor shaft output, this gearbox combines its dual-helical-cylinder stages of reduction with the skew axis to deliver remarkable strength and rigidness to whatever application it is used for. This gearbox is customizable to accommodate the various number of teeth and gears so it can be used in a variety of industrial operations.

Borescope Inspections

Similar to the human body, mechanical components such as gearboxes will eventually require a check-up of sorts to ensure everything is working as it should be. Just like it can be difficult to truly see inside our body to determine issues, it can be just as difficult to accurate diagnosis a damaged gearbox without being able to see clearly inside.

The borescope is a highly useful tool for helping mechanics look inside of complicated mechanisms related to all sorts of machines, such as cars or airplanes. For gearbox repairs, we highly recommend two of our highest quality borescopes to deliver clear, accurate insight: the DG1 Series and the X1 Series articulating video borescopes.

The X1 Series is available in 3.8mm and 6mm diameters as well as two interchangeable camera probe lengths in 1.5 meters and 3.0 meters. It features incredible 360˚ articulation response and a user-friendly interface in addition to a sleek joystick design and military-grade durability.

The DG1 Series offers users an ultra-portable borescope that features an HD display as well as 6 LED lights surrounding the camera tip to deliver the highest quality picture available. It is available in 2 camera probe lengths, 1.5 meter and 3.0 meter, as well as two sizes, 4mm and 6mm. Enjoy 360˚ articulation, soft grip design, and user-friendly technology with this remarkable tool.

Try Our Borescopes on Your Gearbox Inspections

Are you looking for new inspection technology to help provide in-depth inspections for all your gearbox needs? Look no further than SPI Borescopes. We have a wide range of borescopes available for different industries and applications, including gearbox repair and inspections. Contact us today at 888-490-9673 to learn more about our free borescope demo program!

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