New Modular Gear Box Takes Shape to Ease the Job of Engineers
Plastic Powerdrive Products, LLC, which specializes in high-precision plastic components in the power transmission and motion control markets, filed a U.S. patent application this summer for a new modular gear box that the company will be releasing in the fall. Dubbed "Mod Box," the gear box offers a number of advantages because of its modular design and is intended to help engineers looking to save time and hassle, said company president, Bruce Billmeyer.
The all-plastic, molded gear box is based on a standard one- , two- , and three-stage planetary gear box system. Within the gear box, an engineer can mix and match different pitches within the same form factor and can also mix plastic and metal.
"There are a number of variations that you can do within this gear box," Billmeyer said. "In addition to which the engineer has the ability to affix to anybody's pin-out for attachment to a gear motor."
An engineer typically must devise complex equations to configure a gear box for a specific solution, but this Mod Box narrows the variations down and is based on one, two, or three planetary systems, so they can buy it off the shelf, he said. "It just comes to them off the shelf and they can modify it to meet their demands," Billmeyer added.
Instead of taking two weeks to design a gear box, which costs money, engineers can bring a product to market much faster. "There's not anything else on the market like it," Billmeyer continued. "Although it's modular, it's also standard based, so you come out with a standard product that maybe you want to modify, but you still have a standard form factor. So you can do anything you want within that box. You can attach the motor; you can take your standards, or modify it to meet your demands. And that's the key to all of this—the modularity and the ability to be standard based, versus going to different motor manufacturers to figure out what gear box you need," he said, adding that examples of easy changes are the output and input shafts.
In a June interview, Billmeyer said that tooling was being made for the 2-inch square Mod Box, which is being billed as an "easy solution" for engineers. "We're trying to make it easy for engineers to pick out something they can really modify, and we have a smaller one, too—the Mini Mod—coming out soon after that," he said, adding that the Mini Mod would be about 1 inch square.
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