How to Build a STRONG Gearbox

The industrial market is a unique one. Our customers’ applications require equipment built to handle the punishment and rigor dished out to keep the nation’s roads paved, grain bins full, and logistics flawless. Oh, and they want these heavy duty parts delivered fast! If there’s one thing we understand at Master PT, it’s the importance of our customers. So we build gearboxes that are strong, to handle the toughest applications, and we deliver them fast.


AGMA logoIn an effort to build the strongest units possible, we design our products to meet or exceed the standards put forth by the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA). This is important because AGMA has been the leading force in gear design and standards since 1916. The crucial component about AGMA vs. other gear standards is that AGMA looks at gear design as an inclusive system as opposed to just a gear rating standard, which means it takes into account the stresses induced on shafts and bearings as well as the material grade and surface finish of contact surfaces. Many gear design standards apply strictly to the gear set rating methodology but leave wide variances in other loading factors, essentially giving ample discretion to individual designers. To comply with AGMA, a manufacturer must meet their standards for allowable stresses throughout the system.


The by-product of meeting AGMA standards is a gearbox built to last. Allowable bearing stress is predetermined at 10,000 hours, requiring heavy duty bearing arrangements to account for the load introduced by the gear sets as well as overhung load applied by the application. Keyways are deep-set and ensure a robust mating between gear hub and shaft; preventing key rolling under intense vibration and heavy shock loads. Shaft bending moments are controlled and minimized to ensure proper gear contact and reduced bearing loads. Mating gears must maintain a minimum face contact ratio for proper load distribution. In our case, bearings are shimmed and pressed into the bearing journal to ensure proper end-play and bearing life; opposed to a quick snap ring assembly.


A lot of these factors seem hidden from our customer when simply looking in a catalog, but one simple indicator of the robust nature of the Master PT gearbox is the 6-digit part number attached to our APG product line. A 6-digit part number… instead of a massive nomenclature string indicating the necessity to account for every variable in an application. Our units are designed to handle tough applications and are designed to over perform, giving our customers easy to select units and easy to order part numbers.
Innova-M18P1806_Glam cropBuilding a strong gearbox also requires continual efforts to innovate and improve. Since our inception five years ago, we have increased capacity substantially to support our growth, created additional jobs in our communities, cut our lead times by 95% (yes, from 8 weeks to 48 hours), and launched innovative new products such as the Reeves Innovadrive. We continually look for ways to make our products more valuable to our customers. Master PT recently created a new role, Product Performance Manager, to intensify our focus even more on product development and improvement. As we continue to innovate and improve our product offering, we dedicate increasing resources to support our product growth, with the end goal being to find new ways to help our customers extract value from the power transmission components they purchase.


DSC_4092_rtFinally, another major ingredient to building a strong gearbox is having strong people and strong processes. I’m incredibly proud of our people here in Columbus, IN and the fact that we have 40-year team members working alongside teammates who are just coming on board. It’s an exciting time for us. I’m also proud to work for a true American Manufacturing company, not a domestic assembly center. Raw material flows into our facility, and after cutting, turning, hobbing, heat treating, grinding, and assembly, a finished unit is shipped out. And it happens fast! We are a true manufacturing company, and we make robust power transmission components.

Brett Lockwood
Product Performance Manager – Master Power Transmission.