Selecting the Right Slewing Drive For Your System

July 25, 2016- In many ways, slewing drives are unsung heroes, delivering the positional accuracy and mechanical control that make much of modern technology possible. Like any precision engineering component, however, the effectiveness of a slewing drive is the direct result of selecting the right one for your specific application requirements.

While many factors are involved in identifying the best slewing drive design for your needs, wisely evaluating your own application parameters starts with a small set of basic questions.

What are your actual performance requirements? The most cost effective and reliable drive design will be the one that fits a minimum size profile while also meeting particular structural, power, duty cycle and survivability holding torque values. Fully appreciating your actual operating requirements is critical when evaluating slewing drive designs intended to meet them.

What are your expected environmental conditions? Your drive’s protective outer casing must be sufficient to ensure a long mechanical life, reliable performance and adequate defense against the surrounding elements. Will the drive be exposed to dust, dirt or other particulate contaminants? Will water or other liquids be a concern? Kinematics slewing drives are available with IP55, IP65, IP66 and other standard rated housings for various environmental conditions, as well as fully exposed open architecture anything you need to confront even the most challenging stresses.

What are your expected axes of rotation and motion ranges? A best-fit slewing drive design will easily and smoothly accommodate a necessary range of motion about one or more rotation axes. Kinematics drives can be designed with single or dual-axis rotation capability in any specific motion range.

What are your required backlash tolerances? Backlash, also called play or lash, refers to the slewing drive’s accuracy. It is a measure of the clearance existing between the gear teeth, gaps that result in lost motion potential in the drive. Greater backlash tolerances looser gear fittings may be necessary to accommodate thermal expansion, bending stresses or other engineering concerns. Backlash, however, limits the accuracy of the drive and the efficiency of kinetic energy transmission between the gears.

What are your power requirements? A slewing drive can be designed using one of many different common types of power systems. Kinematics drives are available with electric (DC brushed/brushless and AC motor), hydraulic and hand rotation power controls.

Selecting the right combination of slewing drive design factors can be a detailed and complex process, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one and you don’t need to tackle it alone. Kinematics engineers are available to help simplify the process, and to assist your organization in picking the most cost-effective, highly reliable slewing drive solution for your specific application needs.