Efficiency and automation driving demand for gearboxes

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  • Nov 15,19
Gearbox - a mechanical device that transmits energy from one device to another to reduce speed and generate torque – is vital for the functioning of industrial equipment and products.
Efficiency and automation driving demand for gearboxes

Gearbox - a mechanical device that transmits energy from one device to another to reduce speed and generate torque – is vital for the functioning of industrial equipment and products. As companies look to reduce operating cost and carbon footprint, there is an increasing requirement for energy-efficient gearbox. At the same time, rising need for clean energy sources is driving the growth of the industrial gearbox market.
 
Mechanical power transmission – which refers to products used in systems with moving parts as opposed to systems powered electrically - is the transfer of energy from where it is generated to a place where it is used to perform work using simple machines, linkages and mechanical power transmission elements. Mechanical power may be transmitted directly using a solid structure such as a driveshaft; transmission gears can adjust the amount of torque or force vs speed in much the same way an electrical transformer adjusts voltage vs current.
 
Nearly all machines have some kind of power and motion transmission from an input source - which is usually an electric motor or an internal combustion engine (ICE) that typically provides rotary driving torque via an input shaft-coupling combination. Types of mechanical power transmission elements include shafts & couplings; power screws; gears & gear trains; brakes & clutches; belts, ropes & pulleys; chains & sprockets, etc.
 
All geared-up 
Gearbox is a mechanical device that transmits energy from one device to another to reduce speed and generate torque. A gearbox assembly includes assorted components like gears, shafts, bearing covers, bearing keys, oil rings, and oil seals.
 
In gear train, gears are installed on shafts so the teeth of the mating gears engage and each roll on each other on its pitch circle diameter. Speed ratio and mechanical advantage of mating gears are defined by the pitch circle diameter ratio. Companies in the industrial gear market manufactures all types of gears including helical, worm gears, bevel, herringbone, spline, sprocket, double helical, internal, and rack. The size of the gear sets also vary vastly, from pitch diameters of 80 to 2000 mm, says a report of Transparency Market Research (TMR).
 
As opposed to gear that are used for the manufacturing of consumer and commercial products, industrial gears have added properties such as durable metal composition and heavy duty construction. Since industrial gears are vital components for the functioning of industrial equipment and products, the excellent progress of several other industries has resulted in a surge in the demand for industrial gears.
Growing population and surge in the rate of urbanization in India are leading to rise in consumption of products. Flourishing industries like textile, oil and gas, pulp and paper, and food & beverage are always in expansion mode and thus they are in demand of plants and machineries which are driven by geared motors.
 
However, according to TMR report, the market for industrial gear is cost sensitive, and hence the increasing prices of raw materials such as stainless steels, hardened steel, aluminum, cast iron, bronze, and brass is seen as a factor that may hinder the growth rate during the forecast period. To overcome this restraint, the vendors vary shapes, sizes, speed ratios, and designs of the gears as per the requirement to remain competitive in the market, adds TMR report.
 
Rise in need for efficiency
To reduce operating cost and carbon footprint, companies across industries seek to reduce energy consumption. In many cases, high-efficiency gearing cuts the cost of drives and their operation.
 
“Increasing requirement for energy-efficient gearbox and clean energy sources are driving the growth of the industrial gearbox market. In addition to this, the increasing automation in manufacturing technology is facilitating the growth of the industrial gearbox market,” says Neeraj Bisaria, CEO and Managing Director, Premium Transmission Pvt Ltd - a leading player in the industrial gearboxes, geared motors and fluid coupling segment.
 
The estimated market size of industrial gearboxes in India is worth approximately Rs 1,800-2,000 crores. The industry, which is populated with large number of vendors, faces the threat of cheap imports from China. Realising the fact that gears have big impacts on final performance and reliability of the equipment, customers in India are increasingly demanding technically advanced products. To meet these expectations, manufacturers are investing heavily in R&D to provide efficient gearbox systems to end-users. It has been observed that bevel helical gear units are becoming popular in replacing conventional gearboxes like standard worm gearboxes which are less efficient.
 
Similarly, the planetary gearbox segment is witnessing highest demand due to increasing awareness of alternate sources of energy. Due to this demand, many vendors are investing heavily in R&D to provide efficient gearbox systems to end-users. “Planetary gearboxes are a major component in wind turbines as they provide high torque value to wind turbines and account for almost 40 per cent of the industrial gearbox market in EMEA. In wind turbines, the compact and lightweight character of planetary gearboxes ensures that they require a smaller installation space. The gears in planetary gearboxes help in the delivery of high reduction ratios, with up to 98 per cent efficiency. With wind energy emerging as a major alternative to fossil fuels to supply power, the demand for planetary gearboxes is expected to get a boost,” says a Technavio report.
 
What’s trendy?
According to Neeraj Bisaria, the top three emerging trends in the industrial gearboxes and geared motors are use of 3D printing for engineered gearbox and drives component manufacture, provision of attractive financing options, and growth of equipment rental business. “Technology plays a crucial role in designing and maintaining the quality of the products during manufacturing. We have the latest CAD software for gear design and calculation, 3D modeling and analysis. We have also deployed product management lifecycle tools (PLM). Our focus is on simulation-driven design to develop efficient product platform and architecture. Also, we have in-house 3D printing facilities for prototyping and well-equipped testing lab for physical validation of the product,” he adds.
 
Growing demand for mechanical power transmission products is attracting global majors to invest in the country. For example, Italy-based Bonfiglioli, which expanded capacity of its Thirumudivakkam plant (near Chennai) last year, has expressed its intention to invest Rs 100 crore over the next three years in the company’s two Chennai units to boost capacity. Bonfiglioli’s Sriperumbudur factory can manufacture 1.5 lakh gear boxes a year, while Thirumudivakkam plant’s annual capacity has been raised from 50,000 gearboxes to 75,000 units. The new capacity addition has enabled Bonfiglioli to serve existing and new customers in off-highway, construction, mining and material handling applications. Bonfiglioli - one of the leading suppliers of gearmotors, drive systems and planetary gearboxes to industrial processes, automation, mobile and renewable energy - also intends to convert its Indian operations into the production hub for the Asia-Pacific.
 
Rise in investment for infrastructure development is leading to increase in demand for heavy machinery, which in turn is driving the market for mechanical power transmission products. “The core sector in India will grow faster therefore I see good growth prospects for mechanical power transmission companies. Premium Transmission is an innovation and technology driven company, and our focus is to provide innovative and customer specific products which in return deliver real value for money. Premium Transmission is the only company that indigenously designs products. By 2025, Premium should be Rs 1000-crore company with strong global footprint in different continents across geographies,” says Bisaria.
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quotes
Increasing requirement for energy-efficient gearbox and clean energy sources are driving the growth of the industrial gearbox market. In addition to this, the increasing automation in manufacturing technology is facilitating the growth of the industrial gearbox market.
Neeraj Bisaria, CEO and MD, Premium Transmission Pvt Ltd 
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