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Critical Factors for Proper

Product Selection and Sizing
By Greg Cober, Altra Industrial Motion Product Training Manager

“Well begun is half done,” a quote that Table 1: Service Factors for Gearing (Source: Boston Gear)
most reference materials attribute to Service Factor Operating Conditions
Aristotle, certainly applies when se- .8 Uniform — not more than 15 minutes in 2 hours.
lecting mechanical power transmis- Moderate Shock — not more than 15 minutes in 2 hours.
1.0 Uniform — not more than 10 hours per day.
sion products. A selection process that
Moderate Shock — not more than 10 hours per day.
is well thought out at the start can en- 1.25 Uniform — more than 10 hours per day.
sure that the product selected will be Heavy Shock — not more than 15 minutes in 2 hours.
properly sized and appropriate to the Moderate Shock — more than 10 hours per day.
application at hand. 1.75 Heavy Shock — not more than 10 hours per day.
Different manufacturers have differ- 2.0 Heavy Shock — more than 10 hours per day.
Heavy shock loads and/or severe wear conditions may require the use of higher service factors. Consultation
ent names for them: service factor, safe- with factory is recommended in these applications.
ty factor, overload factor, load factor,
etc. They all do basically the same thing: mon across the widest range of power ing a design hp or 1.5 hp for selection
they factor or adjust for the hours of us- transmission product types. purposes.
age and the nature of irregularity, shock Service factors are used as a multi- Use of the proper service factor for
or vibration in the application. For our plier applied to the product’s horse- an application ensures that the prod-
purposes, we will use the term “service power or torque rating. For example, a uct selected will provide the desired
factor,” as that seems to be most com- 1 hp motor used in an application with life in the application as well as tolerate
a 1.5 service factor will be seen as hav- the levels of shock or vibration that are

Table 2: Service Factors for Overrunning & Backstopping Clutches

Formsprag and Stieber Overrunning & Backstopping Applications Service Factors

Overrunning Clutches Driven Equipment Load Classifications
Clutches are suitable for many Light Steady Loads Moderate Loads Medium Loads Heavy-Duty Loads
different power transmission Starting torque is High starting Starting torque is High starting torque,
applications. Please refer to this table equal to or slightly torque or above approximately double shock loading, light
for the proper service factor for your greater than running average running running torque. torque reversals
application. torque. torque. during drive.
Typical prime movers are listed at
the left, types of loads across the top,
and your service factor opposite the
typical prime movers.
Centrifugal pumps, Hot oil pumps, Dredge pumps, Mine ventilating fans,
When torsional or linear vibration uniformly loaded heavy-duty dynamometer drives, reciprocating pumps
is present, use an FSO series clutch conveyors, light-duty centrifugal pumps, light-duty hammermills, or compressors,
and increase the service factor at fans and flowers, cooling towers, lineshafts, paper- papermaking
least 50%. For severe vibration, a liquid mixers and slurry agitators, converting machinery, machinery, heavy-
greater service factor increase is agitators, centrifugal boiler feed pumps, rotary kilns, rotary or duty hammermills,
necessary. To conform with couplings compressors, lobe hoists, conveyors screw-type pumps for ore crushers,
manufacturer’s recommendations, use and vane type high viscosity fluids. pulverizing mills.
a minimum service factor of 1.5 on all flowers, gear pumps,
Clutch Couplings. textile machinery,
Steam, gas or air turbine 1.00 1.50 1.50 2.50
AC electric motor 1.25 1.50 1.50 2.50
Prime Mover

DC electric motor with DOL start

AC electric motor 1.25 1.50 1.75 3.00
Gasoline, natural gas, propane or 3.0 3.0 Consult Formsprag Consult Formsprag
other spark ignition engine
Diesel Consult Formsprag Consult Formsprag Consult Formsprag Consult Formsprag
DOL = Direct on Line; Source: Formsprag Clutch; Stieber Clutch

34 Power Transmission Engineering AUGUST 2014 WWW.POWERTRANSMISSION.COM ]————


For Related Articles Search Greg Cober is product

training manager for
basics Altra Industrial Motion, a
producer of a wide range of
at electromechanical power
transmission products.

anticipated in the application. A few well. Note again in Table 1 that there Table 3: Coefficient of Sliding Friction for Non-
examples will illustrate this point. is one factor for a uniform load at 10 Vertical Loading Applications (Source:
Rockford Ball Screw)
The service factors for open gears hours or less per day and another that Steel on Steel ~.58
such as spur gears, helical gears or is 25% higher for more than 10 hours Steel on Steel (greased) ~.15
worm gears will typically be provided by per day. Market demand may require Aluminum on Steel ~.45
the manufacturer as shown in Table 1. that the system run only one shift now, Gibb Ways ~.50
Looking at Table 1, we can see that but in the future that might change Dove Tail Slides ~.20
the service factors for gear sizing ad- to require a two- or even three-shift Linear Bearing (Ball Bushings) <.001
dress two key variables: the number of operation. The gearing unit that pro-
hours per day the product will be used, vides perfectly acceptable life in one of the support, the load being moved
and the variability of shock and vibra- instance may become a maintenance can decrease by a very sizable amount,
tion there is in the application. For ex- headache in a higher usage situation. as shown in Table 3.
ample, a liquid mixing tank motor that Worse, upsizing may require more Industrial component manufactur-
has a slow acceleration to full speed than just a change in one component. ers have become more sophisticated
and very low variation in load would For example, a worm gearbox se- in providing downloadable or online
be considered a uniform load applica- lected for 1 hp 20:1 ratio for single-shift selection tool software. These include
tion. However, a stamping press or die operation may be a 1.8 in. center dis- an automatic calculator that will incor-
cutter drive could easily be considered tance, but to provide proper life for a porate appropriate service factors for
a heavy shock load application. These two-shift operation, that same 1 hp ap- your application parameters, as shown
factors must be considered when se- plication would require a 2.1 in. center in the online belt drive selection tool
lecting gears, since each situation will distance gearbox. The height to the screen. Whether they are called service
apply different levels of stress and wear output shaft would change from 2.06 factors, safety factors or some other
on the required gearing. in. to 2.28 in. with the requirement that term, it is important to follow manu-
Some products, such as overrunning bearings, shaft alignment and other facturers’ guidance when selecting a
clutches, will require consideration of drivetrain components change as well. power transmission product. Use of
not just the nature of the load but the The difference between the cost of the proper service factors will ensure se-
type of prime mover as well. As can be initial smaller gearbox and the cost of lection of correctly-sized product that
seen in Table 2, there can be an addi- the larger unit may be approximately will provide optimal unit life and per-
tive nature of an irregular load com- $150, but selecting the properly sized formance. Consideration of the entire
bined with the prime mover that will gearbox for how the system is going application for both today’s need and
generate spikes as well. A basic AC to be used in the future can avoid very next year’s can ensure performance
motor will provide a much smoother significant machine redesign later. now and then. Lastly, manufactur-
output to an application than a diesel So far we have discussed how service ers’ tools can help simplify the selec-
engine might, and these differences factors can result in upsizing products. tion process. Nearly all manufacturers
can have a significant impact on the When we consider linear products, gladly provide application assistance
clutch’s performance. such as ball screws or linear actua- resources to help you make smart,
Products such as V-belt drives will tors, load factoring can decrease the cost-effective choices.
require a combination of all three fac- impact of the load. Vertical load is al-
tors: variability of the application load, ways comprised of the
the hours of service and the output weight of the load plus
nature of the prime movers. Other belt any force applied by the
considerations include factors for the process. But when lin-
use of such devices as idler pulleys and ear movement is hori-
how they are mounted. zontal, the load is likely
When considering service factors, supported by rails or by
it is important to think about not just linear bearings of some
how a product might be used in the type. Depending upon
immediate future but further ahead as the coefficient of friction
Online Belt Drive Selection Tool Screen (Source:

AUGUST 2014 Power Transmission Engineering 35