When I think of speed my mind initially forms the image of a car of some sort, but this is not the only sort of machine that requires the speed control provided by mechanisms like gear drives. In fact, a number of large industrial machines must vary their speed according to the work they are doing, and because they are used for mass production, controlling their speed is very important to producing well formed products. Gear drives are installed between the transmission or motor of a machine and the moving part, whether it is a moving ram like those attached to hydraulic presses or a knife sharp die cut mold like those used in die cutting machines. Set up for a variety of speed ratios, these gear drives, which are categorized in the industrial market as speed reducers, are able to control the amount of power being transferred from the power source to the moving part so that the machine is not overwhelmed with power, which is also known as torque.
The ratios of speed available to each individual machine is set according to the type of gear drives they have installed. For example, a conveyor belt will be able to run at a variety of speeds, each of which has a different speed ratio that is controlled by the gear drive within the system. Without this control, the conveyor belt would only be able to go at a single speed and that speed would not be properly translated from the transmission to the moving of the belt. In essence, without the gear drive, the conveyor belt would not be able to work. The variations in speed is also important because of the many ways machines like conveyor belts are used, each application requiring different sorts of speeds.