Monday, July 21, 2014

Spiral Bevel Gearboxes - When Size Matters

spiral bevel gearboxes
With torques up to 4,440Nm, frame sizes up to 350mm, and power ratings up to 267kW, the V-Series is tough enough to handle demanding power transmission applications.   

For miniature mechatronic applications when space is a premium, our L-Series is the best option available on the market. The housings are manufactured from high-strength aluminum which means they are light weight, dissipate heat efficiently, and resist corrosion.       

Considerations for Continuous Running Spiral Bevel Gearbox Applications

spiral bevel gearboxes for continuous running applications

Spiral bevel gearboxes are often selected for continuous running applications due to their high efficiency ratings up to 96%.  However, in low ratio configurations, the input and output shafts will be running at higher speeds resulting in greater heat generation.  A properly sized gearbox will be able to dissipate the heat effectively and the temperature will stabilize to an acceptable level. 

While there are several factors that impact the gearbox temperature, two important considerations are the input running speed and mounting orientation.  These two criteria will help to determine if minor adjustments can be made to the gearbox during assembly to aid heat dissipation.  Adjustments can be made to the backlash, bearing pre-loads, lubrication (volume/viscosity), and a vent filter or oil cooling system may ultimately be required.  Spiral bevel gearboxes that cannot be adjusted may not be suitable for continuous running applications. 

The chart above graphs the housing temperature of a V-Series gearbox (blue-dash) and a competitive spiral bevel gearbox (red-dotted) of comparable size.  Both gearboxes were 1:1 ratios and tested at a continuous input speed of 1,800 RPM for 2 hours.  Because the V-Series gearbox (blue-dash) was sized and assembled for the continuous application, it was able to dissipate the heat properly allowing the temperature to stabilize to an acceptable value of approximately 80°C.  The competitive spiral bevel gearbox (red-dotted) could not dissipate the heat and the gearbox temperature continued to rise to 140°C before the test was terminated to avoid eventual failure.

To help prevent a spiral bevel gearbox from failing due to overheating, it is important to specify the duty cycle, input running speed, and mounting orientation.  Those criteria are specified in GAM's V-Series type code to help ensure the gearbox is ordered and assembled to best suit each application. 

GAM Spiral Bevel Gearboxes: Dependable by Design

spiral bevel gearboxes
1. Housing: Sturdy cast iron housing (Aluminum in size 35mm and 45mm) - all 6 sides can be used for mounting 
2. Bearings:  Deep groove ball bearings handle axial and radial loading. (Reinforced and taper roller options available)
3. Spiral Bevel Gearing:  Precision cut, hardened, and lapped in pairs for ideal tooth contact. Mathematically precise ratios from 1:1 to 6:1
4. Input:  Available with shaft input or integrated motor adapter and coupling to easily mount to any IEC, NEMA, or servo motor
5. Output:  Solid shaft with key or keyed hollow shaft are standard. (Smooth shaft or shrink disc clamping available)
6. Seals:  Lubricated for life and protected with high quality NBR seals. (Viton® and FPM seals available) 

Carefully engineered and crafted with high quality materials, GAM spiral bevel gearboxes are robust and can handle high shock loads. Since they are maintenance free and lubricated for life, have confidence knowing that they are built to last. Put one onto your machine and forget about it!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

High School Students in Career Exploration Course Visit GAM

Students enrolled in a Summer Career Exploration Course sponsored by Oakton Community College and NSERVE, visited GAM to see what a future in engineering and advanced manufacturing could be like.  Through the Career Exploration Course, students get first hand experience of the careers and work environments in the areas of their choice.  The program is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors from nearby high schools.

What are Engineers?  
What things do Engineers build? 
What skills must one have to become an Engineer?
What is the job outlook like for Engineers?  

These were some of the questions answered in an interactive presentation with the students.  Students also learned how important internships are to discover their interests in addition to getting an upper hand at landing a job after college.  After the presentation, the students were split into three groups for a factory tour to see different functions at GAM including design engineering, machining, and assembly.

This is the third STEM program that GAM has been involved in this year alone.  In addition to participating in educational programs such as this, GAM often has internships available for high school students interested in engineering, manufacturing, and business.  For factory tours or information on internships, please contact  For more information about the Career Exploration Course, please visit

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why are Hypoid Gearboxes Ideal for Right Angle Applications?

Right Angle Hypoid Gearbox

This example will compare a traditional planetary bevel gearbox (left) with a hypoid gearbox (right), in a 5:1 gear reduction ratio.

Planetary Bevel Gearbox
By construction, a planetary bevel gearbox is the combination of an input bevel gear stage and an output planetary gear stage.  In order to achieve any gear reduction ratio, this type of gearbox always requires two or three gear stages.  In this example, the first stage is a 1:1 bevel gear ratio and the second stage is a 5:1 planetary gear ratio.  For a 3,000 RPM application, the motor speed is continued throughout the entire first gear stage, which means the input bearings and seals, gears, and output bearings and seals are all rotating at 3,000 RPM.  The actual reduction doesn't occur until the planetary gear stage.  Higher speeds throughout the gearbox means higher heat and can also result in a 50% service life de-rating for continuous applications.

Hypoid Gearbox

A hypoid gearbox on the other hand can achieve up to a 15:1 ratio with only a single gear stage.  In this 3,000 RPM application, the motor speed is immediately reduced to the final reduction speed of 600 RPM which is ideal for the gears, seals, bearings, and shaft.  A lower speed means less heat, which is important to maximizing the life and load carrying capabilities of the output bearings in a gearbox.  GAM’s Dyna Series hypoid gearbox has a 30,000 hour service life rating which is 50% more than a comparable planetary bevel gearbox.  In addition to the performance advantages of using a hypoid gearbox, as mentioned in a previous post there is also a substantial space saving benefit.  In the example above, GAM’s hypoid gearbox is 46% more compact than the planetary bevel gearbox.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Thomas Middle School Students Visit GAM - 5-1-2014

GAM has partnered with nearby Thomas Middle School to help educate students interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.  For several years now, students visit GAM as a part of the Careers Connection class which includes a job shadow.

The day started with a presentation on the different types of engineering fields, followed by another on the various manufacturing processes.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

After the presentations, things got hands on as the students got to design a phone docking station.  They rough sketched the initial concept on a whiteboard and made sure to include all features and dimensions.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) SketchSTEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Drawing

With some help from one of GAM’s engineers, the students created a 3D model of their part using Solidworks.  They tweaked the model until it was perfect and then created a dimensional drawing which would then be sent for manufacturing.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Solidworks

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Engineering

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) 3D model

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) 3D drawing

While the students ate some pizza for lunch, their part was programmed on a CNC machine.  After lunch, students got to watch as the machine took a block of aluminum and turned it into the phone docking station they designed.  The students were thrilled to leave with the part they actually designed!

GAM Employees Participated in the Shelter Inc. 5K

This past weekend, GAM employees participated in the Shelter Inc. 5K race in Arlington Heights.  Several employees actually took home awards for finishing.  Dan came in 2nd overall, Matt and Jesus both placed in their age group.  Shelter, Inc. provides community based, emergency and longer-term housing for children and adolescents who are abused, neglected, dependent or in need of supervision.  For more information on Shelter Inc. or to donate to their cause, please visit

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Right Angle Gearbox Comparison: Hypoid Gear Technology vs. Planetary Bevel

right angle gearbox hypoid

Right angle gearboxes using hypoid gear technology offer several mechanical advantages compared to gearboxes using a planetary bevel gear combination.  Hypoid gearboxes achieve gear ratios up to 15:1 in a single stage and still yield mechanical efficiencies up to 96% depending upon the ratio throughout the speed range.  Planetary bevel gearboxes can be just as efficient, however they require two to three gear stages regardless of ratio which results in a much larger footprint.

Right angle gear reducer hypoid

The hypoid gearset is spatially efficient because its component parts are compact individually, and
their “overlapping” mesh geometry helps to minimize the mass of both moving components and the support housing. The hypoid gear design is also thermally efficient, so the housing can be kept smaller and free of heat-dispersing elements (cooling fans/aluminum fins). A single-piece cast aluminum construction for the housing keeps the weight low with maximum rigidity.  The result is a gearbox that by itself is compact and lightweight.  Compared to standard right angle gearboxes, the Dyna Series hypoid gear reducer as shown above has a more compact profile that fits into smaller spaces. And the low mass of the moving components minimizes running inertia.   

For more information on the GAM Dyna Series Hypoid Right Angle Gear Reducer 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Students From Local John Hersey High School Visit GAM

GAM Gear - High School Students Tour GAM Manufacturing

Students from local John Hersey High School (District 214) visited GAM as a part of their Career Trek curriculum.  Career Trek is a program that gives students the opportunity to visit actual companies in professions they are interested in and expose them to what a potential career may be like.  These particular students enjoy building things with their hands and have shown an interest in manufacturing.
As noted in a recent Forbes article, right now, "there are over 600,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs in America.  And in order to fill those jobs, we need to invest more in STEM education programs that engage and prepare American students for these careers".  The Career Trek is a great example of what a STEM program can do.  The day started off with a presentation that reviewed manufacturing processes, job outlook, compensation, skills required for a career in manufacturing, and Q&A with GAM machinists.

GAM Gear Manufacturing
After the presentation, the students toured GAM's facility where they saw how gear reducers and servo couplings are manufactured.  They got to watch modern CNC machines in action transforming raw material into finished products.

High School Students Tour GAM Manufacturing
Safety glasses (and goggles) are a must at GAM

By the end of the day, students had an understanding of what a career in manufacturing can be like, along with the critical skills and training that can give them an edge when they enter the job market.  A few days after the tour, we received great news that several students went directly to their guidance counselors to sign up for manufacturing classes for their schedules next year.  Who knows, maybe they will return to GAM in a few years as an intern or an actual employee.  For more information about internship opportunities available at GAM, please contact

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Meet the Newest Members of the GAM Team

We are focused on growth at GAM.  But in order to grow properly, you need the right people, processes, and technology.  And while processes and technology are extremely critical, people are the most essential part of that equation.  Meet the newest members of the team that are helping to take GAM to the next level:

Jeanne - Materials Manager - Jeanne comes to GAM with 28 years of manufacturing experience.  Her leadership and strong background in planning, purchasing, and materials management have already made a great impact at GAM.  She is thoroughly knowledgeable in Project Management, ERP Implementations, Supply Chain Optimization, MRP, Kanban, and Strategic Planning.  Outside of work, Jeanne enjoys fishing.

Austin- Assembly and Shipping - After starting in the coupling cell, he was quickly promoted to gearbox assembly after demonstrating a strong mechanical aptitude.  He takes pride in fully understanding each job and doing it right the first time.  Outside of work, Austin enjoys basketball, volleyball, hunting and fishing.

Ron - Manufacturing - Ron comes to GAM with over 15 years of manufacturing experience.  He is mechanically inclined and skilled in CNC manufacturing setups.  As he gets more familiar with GAM's machines, he hopes to learn CNC programming.  Outside of work, Ron enjoys relaxing.

Jesus - Manufacturing -  Jesus is new to the workforce and is eager to learn and operate all of the machines at GAM.  His attitude and adaptability make him a great fit for our culture.  Outside of work, Jesus enjoys spending time with his family and playing soccer.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The greater the face width of a gear, the greater the permissible torque

Helical Gear
The face width of the helical gears in GAM's SPH Series are up to 70% longer than some competitor's gears, which means more tooth contact and greater overall torque density.
In order to achieve high torques, especially during shock loading or dynamic applications, the gears must be strong.  SPH gears are case hardened which imparts strength deeper into the gear compared to nitriding which hardens just the surface.  Lastly, they are ground for smooth and quiet operation as well as higher precision

Visit GAM at ATX 2014

ATX Automation Technology Expo
GAM will be at booth #4589 with the Quatro Automation Group for the ATX Automation Technology Expo West, February 11-13 at the Anaheim Convention Center.  Register for the show here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

MCA 2014 Business Conference

GAM will be attending the 2014 MCA Business conference this week in Orlando, Florida.  For more information on the MCA (Motion Control Association) or the MCA Business Conference visit here.