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Efficient drive technology for the Wimbldon roof

Nord Gear, which supplied the 256:1 ratio gearboxes critical to the smooth and efficient movement of the Wimbledon retractable roof, is a specialist in efficient gearbox design.

Industrial gearbox designs with optimum meshing of gears, efficient gear profiles, the use of the latest manufacturing technology and techniques ensure that Nord helical and bevel gears reduce frictional losses to a minimum. An average of 98% efficiency per stage, so that the drive is practically loss-free!

All of the company's gear units are produced in the Unicase format, which we first developed in 1981. This design principle ensures that meshing of the internal gears is perfect by having all the bearing journals machined in the same main housing. This results in a more efficient design but also added benefits like extended bearing life, low running noise, high output torque capacity and high axial and radial load capacity are also experienced. These lead to greater machine uptime due to reduced maintenance and longer life, essential for ongoing operational reliability.

High efficiency gearboxes in the form of inline helical, parallel helical, right angle helical bevel and right angle helical worm are available to suit input motor powers up to 200kW.  The inline and parallel gearboxes are inherently efficient as they use helical gears throughout with typical efficiencies of 98% per stage, as is the case with the right angle helical bevel.

When right angle worm or helical worm gearboxes are used there is generally a huge potential for saving money on running costs. The worm gear design principle is inherently inefficient, but is very often used in industry to achieve a simple cheap to buy right angle drive. However with efficiency levels that can be as low as 32% (100:1) and at best 93% (5:1) they may not be cheap to run!

If your application needs ratios higher than 20:1 (on-average 72% efficient), then you should consider using a helical worm gearbox. Manufacturers such as Nord select the worm reduction that is most efficient and then add a helical stage to achieve on-average 85% efficiency levels. Better still, change to a helical bevel unit where you will see efficiency levels on-average at 96%. Therefore you can see right angle drives utilising helical bevel gears can, on average, save in excess of 40% on running costs when compared to traditional worm gear drives.

In addition to specifying the gearbox type you should also consider the lubrication. If you specify synthetic oil then you will see longer periods between maintenance and the gearbox can be as much as 4% more efficient - a very short payback on initial outlay.
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