Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - MD-2

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INSIDE STORY
Gearboxes are essential components for machines in practically every industry. They must
comply with the environmental, safety, and production/efficiency regulations and standards for
these industries. Environmental performance can be especially challenging because the operating
conditions are harsh or extreme. Fortunately, standard gearboxes are extremely sturdy components
that can be modified to fulfill almost any application or requirement. In this interview,
Hitesh Patel, Power Transmissions Products Manager, DieQua Corporation, discusses the many
challenges food and beverage industry presents for gearboxes and how to mitigate them.
Tech Briefs: Why does the food and
beverage industry represent extreme
challenges to gearbox designs?
Hitesh Patel: Gearbox design can be
challenging because with all the strict
federal regulations the wrong design
can cause premature failure and cost
hundreds or even thousands of dollars
in downtime. Washdown applications
have two big challenges for gearbox performance and life.
The first is the chemicals can eventually make their way into
the gearbox and the second is the corrosion due to water and
chemical mix that can eat away at the housing paint. During the
design process, gearbox location and the type of exposure the
gearbox will have are extremely important. Luckily, at DieQua we
do have a box rated for IP69K that can address these concerns.
Tech Briefs: As gearbox designs become more complex, with
added functionality, they typically require greater protection
in their end-use environment. What are the key specifications
for food-grade gearboxes?
Patel: Depending on where down the line the gearbox is located,
there are alternatives that can be chosen for the correct
gearbox design. The next most important thing would be what
type of washdown will the gearbox see - commonly known as
IP ratings for washdowns. The most extreme design can be a
stainless gearbox that is rated for IP69K; the other end of
the spectrum can be IP64 which are our standard boxes. Also
on any type of gearbox we can add an anti-microbial coating
that prevents bacterial growth where additional protection is
needed. The highest degree of washdown protection is required
for an IP rating of IP69K. For these conditions, the gearbox
must have a standard stainless-steel housing, H-1 lubricant, and
one screw plug per housing face. Customized features that can
be added include mounting machine holes, cover plates for
radial shaft seals, and slinger shields.
Tech Briefs: Can gearboxes be easily modified for food-grade
applications? If so, on what factors do these design modifications
depend on?
Patel: Gearboxes can be easily modified for food-grade applications.
Design modifications depend on the proximity to the
food product, what the gearbox is expected to do, and operating
conditions in the end-use environment. For example, depending
on the foodgrade application, couplings, gear motors, and other
2
components can be added to the gearbox for improved functionality;
multiple gearboxes can even be combined. Sometimes
components must be modified to fit into a particular gearbox
configuration or footprint. At DieQua, most gearboxes can be
modified and easily accepted for food-grade applications. It
really comes down to the location of the gearbox and how close
it is to food. Based on that we can go extreme to IP69K or the
opposite end which consists of a standard gearbox that has
Viton materials, FDA white epoxy paint with food grade NSFH1
lubricant. At DieQua, we can quickly and easily change out
standard lubrication to food grade oil or grease as specified.
Tech Briefs: How important is weight in food-grade applications
of gearboxes?
Patel: Weight is important in many different industries for design.
For food grade applications, there is an option to consider
aluminum versus a standard cast iron. Stainless steel is most
common but depending on the motion profile it is advantageous
to use aluminum.
Tech Briefs: How are servo-driven gearboxes different? Can
you give us an example of their application?
Patel: For automated equipment, gearboxes are usually servo
driven. For example, a machine that carves out carcasses
just prior to packaging. No humans are involved during this
process. Several design elements need to be considered with
servo-driven operations - for example, servo motors runs hot
and that heat needs to be directed away from the gearbox.
Adding a zerobacklash bellows coupling helps to isolate that
heat and keep it away from the gearbox. Spacers can also be
used to physically increase the distance between the gearbox
and the motor.
Tech Briefs: What other considerations should design engineers
keep in mind for customizing gearboxes?
Patel: When choosing a gearbox design or a gearbox gearing
in general it all really comes down to location of the gearbox to
food and the type of application. At DieQua, our staff is knowledgeable
to help spec the proper gearbox. Going stainless is
not as expensive as it was before and with tightened federal
regulations this direction is more acceptable in terms of cost,
as those requirements change.
To learn more about DieQua's gearboxes visit https://www.
diequa.com/.
Motion Design, June 2022
MD Inside Story 0622_3.indd 2
Cov
ToC
5/18/22 10:05 AM
http://info.hotims.com/82322-852 http://info.hotims.com/82322-850

Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022

Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Sponsor
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Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Band2
Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Cov2
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Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Sensor-Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Sensor-Cov2
Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Sensor-1
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