The primary benefit for worm gears is their capability to provide high reduction ratios and correspondingly high torque multiplication. They may also be utilized as rate reducers in low- to medium-acceleration applications. And, because their reduction ratio is based on the amount of gear teeth by itself, they are more compact than other types of gears. Like fine-pitch business lead screws, worm gears are typically self-locking, making them perfect for hoisting and lifting applications.
Although the sliding contact reduces efficiency, it provides extremely quiet operation. (The utilization of dissimilar metals for the worm and equipment also plays a part in quiet procedure.) This makes worm gears ideal for use where sound should be minimized, such as for example in elevators. Furthermore, the application of a softer material for the apparatus means that it could absorb shock loads, like those experienced in hefty equipment or crushing devices.
The meshing of the worm and the apparatus is a mixture of sliding and rolling actions, but sliding contact dominates at high reduction ratios. This sliding actions causes friction and temperature, which limits the proficiency of worm gears to 30 to 50 percent. To be able to minimize friction (and for that reason, warmth), the worm and gear are made from dissimilar metals – for instance, the worm may be made of hardened metal and the gear made of bronze or aluminum.
Just like a ball screw, the worm in a worm gear may well have an individual start or multiple starts – and therefore there are multiple threads, or helicies, on the worm. For a single-start worm, each complete turn (360 degrees) of the worm increases the gear by one tooth. Hence a gear with 24 teeth provides a gear reduced amount of 24:1. For a multi-start worm, the apparatus reduction equals the quantity of teeth on the apparatus, divided by the number of begins on the worm. (That is different from almost every other types of gears, where the gear reduction is normally a function of the diameters of the two components.)
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