A worm gear, also called a worm drive, is a gear configuration in which a screw or worm meshes with the teeth of a gear. Worm gears are typically used when substantial speed reductions are required. A worm gear configuration enables the rotational speed to be adjusted, which is ultimately determined by the number of starts and teeth on the worm gear.
Applications of Worm Gears
Worm gears are used in many applications where low speed and a relatively large amplification of power is required. They appear in simple, everyday home devices as well as heavy machinery. Worm gears have many advantages over other transmission methods—especially for applications that require speed reduction.
Here are just a few examples that show how worm gears are commonly used today:
Elevators — Worm gears are standard to use in applications that require fast braking or stopping, such as an elevator. In addition to their compact size, worm gears are used in these applications because, in the proper size and ratio, they can stop and hold a load and won’t go in reverse. These properties help ensure that the load cannot free fall, and they help to regulate the elevator’s speed.
Tuning Instruments — One of the most common uses of a worm gear is the tuning mechanism found on stringed instruments such as guitars, banjos, and violins. Often referred to as a machine head and usually located on the instrument’s headstock, the worm gear allows the user to adjust the strings and lock the gear into place when the desired tightness is achieved. The worm gears used for tuning instruments are unique because they can be used to tighten or loosen the strings, whereas most other types of gears move only in one direction.
Conveyors — Conveyors are used extensively in industrial applications to move products from one place to another. Worm gearboxes are an economical way to provide the required torque increase and speed reduction required from electric motors to move the products efficiently.
Automatic Security Gates — Automatic security gates lock when closed and will not run in reverse. Security gates typically use two separate worm drives to open and close a gate. The ability of a worm drive to lock in place ensures that the gate remains in position and cannot be forced or breached.
Why Use a Worm Gear Speed Reducer?
Worm gears are commonly used for speed reduction because multiple conventional gear sets are needed to achieve the same effect. Rather than installing more gear sets, worm gears have an increased reduction ratio, which makes them more effective. The ratio increases depending on the number of teeth on the worm gear and how many threads are included on the pinion. Worm gears are also more cost-effective than conventional gears because they have fewer components and a lower risk of mechanical failure.
Learn How Superior Gearbox Company Can Help Reduce Speed on Your Work Gears
Worm gears are one of the most common and economical methods available for reducing rotational speed, and they are integral to many mechanisms, both simple and complex. They’re more practical for many applications than conventional gear kits because they require less space and operate quietly. They’re also more mechanically stable and have anti-reversing properties needed for some applications.
At Superior Gearbox, we have manufactured high-quality gear drives for power transmission systems since 1975. We offer our clients many gear drives designed for various applications and can also create custom designs to meet your specifications.
To request a quote or learn more about worm gears, contact us today.