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RPI turns to Apex Dynamics for precision planetary gearboxes

Posted on 17 May 2024. Edited: John Hunter. Read 529 times.
RPI turns to Apex Dynamics for precision planetary gearboxesRPI’s QuadDualPurpose assembly

Uttoxeter-based Apex Dynamics has been selected as the supplier of a key component by rotary measurement specialist Rotary Precision Instruments (RPI) UK, the world’s largest manufacturer of rotary devices, because of the fast delivery, low backlash, low noise and good value offered by its AF Series precision planetary gearboxes.

RPI UK was looking for a new supplier when lead times rose sharply after the Covid-19 pandemic and the company found it more difficult to source parts. After looking around for a reliable supplier that could meet its very specific requirements for high-accuracy measuring and angular positioning, the company turned to Apex Dynamics, which provides market-leading delivery times of two to three weeks. RPI UK needed a replacement gearbox with minimal vibration that could be delivered fast so that it could continue to meet its customers’ needs.

In this case, the gearbox needed to fit into the existing design of a rotary table for coordinate-measuring machines (CMMs), which are used for measuring components. CMMs cut down inspection times and costs for aerospace manufacturers, with no accumulation of errors. The AF Series gearbox is used in RPI UK’s LabStandard and QuadDualPurpose assemblies. It is mounted to a motor by a pulley arrangement with a belt that drives a worm and wheel arrangement.

The assemblies were specifically developed to enhance the productivity and efficiency of CMMs. With the option to mount parts horizontally and vertically for inspection, the devices are ISO 10360 Part 3 compliant, deliver angular accuracy of 2 arcseconds (0.00056deg) and can handle load capacities up to 1,000kgs.

The Apex Dynamics AF Series high precision, high speed planetary gearbox fitted into the existing space envelope on the machine without modification to the gearbox and with minimal changes to the design, providing RPI UK with a better value, quieter alternative gearbox.

Perfect concentricity

Providing the highest precision, highest torque and quiet operation, each Apex AF series gearbox has 100% optimised helical gearing, low backlash and easy mounting. High precision taper roller bearings equip the gearboxes to handle high axial and radial loads and output torque ranges from 14Nm-2.000Nm. The compact Apex Dynamics AF Series gearboxes are constructed with precision helical planetary gears hardened to 840 HV and feature Apex’s patented input bearing system to ensure perfect concentricity.

Following rigorous R&D development, lab tests, angular calibration and in-situ testing of the Apex Dynamics gearbox, RPI has purchased and fitted 12 AF Series gearboxes to date. The company plans to continue buying gearboxes from Apex Dynamics UK because the whole implementation process ran so smoothly. The Apex Dynamics UK team worked closely with the design team at RPI UK to identify the right product and supply the required specifications, files and models.

Adrian Blake, RPI UK technical manager, says: “With more than 80 years’ experience in rotary measurement, high levels of accuracy are key to the success of our application-specific products. As a key component of our CMM rotary table, the low backlash provided by the AF Series gearbox means that it positions correctly, an essential feature for our machines as it forms part of the drive assembly.

“Our suppliers are incredibly important to us and we have found Apex Dynamics UK very easy to work with. In this case, demand was key to us looking for a new supplier. However, we have found the relationship with Apex Dynamics to be positive in many different ways – from providing us with a better value product to strong customer service and reduced noise, as well as the excellent lead times for delivery.

“All the gearboxes we have purchased are running smoothly and have met our calibration standards. We are now using the AF Series gearbox in two of our products and, with the QuadDualPurpose rotary table becoming increasingly popular with our customers, we look forward to strengthening our relationship with Apex Dynamics UK still further.”