Machine Design

Scanning for Ideas: Adding sensors to gearboxes

Engineers at alpha gear drives Inc., Bartlett, Ill. (alphagear.com), have applied an old principle, feedback control, to a traditional piece of hardware, the gearbox, to come up with the alphaIQ gearbox.

The company added proprietary sensors inside the gearbox to measure torques, shear forces, speeds, axial, radial and thermal loads, temperature, and backlash. Software lets PCs display sensors’ readouts. Users can take this data to better understand their system and use it to provide feedback to the electronics and controls powering the motor turning the gearbox.

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