Technical Blog

How does a Planetary Gearbox Work?

A planetary gearbox, also known as an epicyclic gearbox, is one of the most interesting types of gearboxes available within motion control. They are often used in automotive as an important part of automatic transmissions.

Planetary Gearboxes are a type of gearbox where the input and output both have the same centre of rotation. This means that the centre of the input gear revolves around the centre of the output gear and the input and output shafts are aligned.

How Does a Planetary Gearbox Work?

The alignment of the gears can be compared to our solar system where the planets revolve around the sun, hence the name “Planetary Gearbox”.

In the middle of the planetary gearbox, there is a “sun” gear –also known as a central gear. This is often the input gear. Around the outside, there are 2 or more “planet” gears – or outer gears. Surrounding the planet gears there is a ring gear which holds the formation together. The planet gears are connected by a carrier which in turn is connected to the output shaft.

Planetary Gearbox Applications

As well as uses for transmissions in vehicles, planetary gearboxes are used in various industries for different applications. They offer high precision and high torque-to-volume ratio making them well suited to applications which involve; increasing torque, reducing speed, precise positioning and controlling reproducible machinery. Applications include;

  • AGV’s
  • Wheel drives
  • Slew drives
  • Winch drives
  • Slew drives
  • Track drives
  • Mixing
  • Pumps
  • Cutter heads
  • Renewable energy
  • Medical scanners
  • Operating tables
  • Petrochemical

Selecting a Planetary Gearbox

When selecting a planetary gearbox for your application it is important to take note of;

Specifications required – torque, backlash, ratio etc of the application must be taken into considerations.

Environment – some environments may leave a gearbox exposed to dust, dirt or moisture so it is important to consider this factor and select a gearbox with the correct protection.

Space – planetary gearboxes are available in various sizes, if there is limited space available then smaller gearbox can be used.

Planetary Gearboxes from Heason

Our planetary gearboxes come from our supplier Micron, we are a leading distributor for their products within the UK. We have a team of specialists to help you with your selection and give you expert advice on which planetary gearbox would best suit your application.

We can supply Micron planetary gearboxes complete with a RediMount system to match your motor. We can even supply the gearbox and motor pre-assembled and tested.

Browse our full range of planetary gearboxes, there are seven different types available, each suited to different circumstances and applications.

For more information on our planetary gearboxes or to discuss your application please contact us.

Article published on: 14/08/2020