Gearbox system helps machine builder simplify maintenance access on roller leveler


Delta Steel Technologies Inc., a second generation manufacturing company located in Irving, Texas, builds and repairs machinery for steel mills across the country. In its 226,000 sq.ft. factory, the company’s 120 employees design and manufacture custom stretch levelers, rotary shears, quench mills and cut-to-length lines. All of them are used to convert raw steel coils into a flat, precision-cut material suitable for use by automotive manufacturers, home appliance manufacturers and other manufacturers of sheet metal components and assemblies.

The company also renovates, reconditiones and modernizes existing equipment; repairs cylinders and gearboxes; custom machining and manufacturing; and offers turnkey installations of its systems. And many of these systems are highly automated to maximize throughput. Simply put, Delta Steel’s goal is to provide everything our customers need to process steel efficiently and cost effectively.

During a recent project, however, the manufacturer ran into a problem. After delivering the winning bid for a roller leveler, President Joseph Savariego and his design team discovered that the gearboxes of a critical subassembly needed to be placed closer together than they were. wished. They knew that this setup would make it difficult for the customer to maintain the machine in the future.

This roller leveler uses 11 rollers in total, five above the sheet and six below. Each roller is attached to a driveshaft and each driveshaft connects to a gearbox driven by its own 150 HP motor. Designers had to stack the two rows of components on top of each other to fit everything into the limited space, but this limited access to the lower row of drive components. So they developed a sliding mechanism that would allow technicians to easily disconnect each gearbox and motor combination from the driveshaft and simply remove it for service. Despite this space-saving arrangement, a compact but powerful gearbox would still be needed.


Delta Steel decided to approach the supplier of electromechanical systems NORD DRIVESYSTEMS, with whom it had been working for several years. Application engineer Jeff Wittrock recommended a large SK5207 series MaxxDrive industrial gearbox in a parallel axis configuration and a 14: 1 drive ratio. With a one-piece Unicase housing, symmetrical design and power density Extremely high for its size, the gearbox would provide the torque, performance and life needed for this demanding application.

“There were definitely challenges,” said Savariego. “For example, if one of the lower reducers were damaged, how would you access it without having to remove the upper ones? And even the best gearbox and motor require routine maintenance, which would have been extremely difficult if we had gone with a less flexible design. This is what led us to the sliding mechanism, but it meant we had to minimize the angle of the driveshaft, which in turn required us to keep everything close together. NORD was very helpful and willing to assist us throughout the process until we reached the optimal design.

Every project is different, added Savariego, noting that such details often need to be worked out once the client has accepted the preliminary proposal. It is only when designers look at the complete requirements that they can understand any potential hurdles, which makes partnering with vendors that offer a variety of component options backed by people experienced in the design especially important. support and applications.

“NORD was able to help us transmit a lot of torque in a fairly small package,” he said. “They were also very helpful in determining the best way to organize the transmissions.”

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