What’s a typical day like for you at Neugart?
I’m product manager here at Neugart. In total, we have four product managers on the team. We are responsible for all the products and market research, and we have two other colleagues who take care of training and software tools. I am responsible for product and the NGV.
Tell us about the NGV gearbox.
It’s a gearbox dedicated to AGVs. It’s a little bit different than what we normally do. Our standard gearbox can be used in many different applications. But the NGV is a gearbox dedicated to one specific application, which is AGVs. We offer the gearbox in three sizes with different load capacities. The smallest size gearbox can take 350 kilograms up to 1,075 kilograms, which is the biggest size gearbox.
The NGV gearbox is dedicated to the AGV. It’s very important for space-saving on the vehicle, because space is always limited. You have batteries; you have controls; you have all this navigation and security and scanner devices on AGVs, so we tried to be as small as possible, and we deal with that with a special wheel. The gearbox is placed more or less completely outside the vehicle and inside the wheel, saving a lot of space inside the vehicle.
The NGV is very easy to assemble. We make it with a special design and recessed mounting flange, so it’s not positioned where it is normally on our standard gearboxes, which are made more for machine applications. We have recessed it, so it can be mounted directly to the chassis of the AGV without using any adapters.
The inside is well-tested and reliable with a two-stage economic gearing that we also use in many other of our gearboxes. We already make millions of the parts used in the NGV, so that makes the NGV gearbox cost efficient and reliable.
What makes the NGV gearbox unique to the gear industry?
The NGV is very important for AGVs. In addition to the space saving design is its high load capacity. That means the high radial load that the gearbox — or the output shaft and output gearing — needs to take because normally the wheel is not supported by additional bearings. The gearbox is responsible for taking the radial load, and to solve that, we chose a special output bearing concept that are double-inclined roller bearings. These special bearings in that position allow for very high radial force, especially in combination with the wheels that we offer. The rim shape of that wheel is something we developed that helps increase the load capacity of the gearbox.
The reason for that is because, with that wheel, the load application point is moving in the middle between both of these inclined roller bearings, and then you have almost no tilting moment on the bearing, and if you don’t have tilting moment on the bearing, you can put maximum radial load on it. In other words, we have that wheel, but it’s not mandatory to use that wheel.
Another unique selling point is that we offer a dedicated gearbox going from batch size one. All our gearboxes are available in batch size one within a two-week delivery time. That helps smaller companies to do business with us.
But, if they need prototypes just for tests, we can deliver them pretty easy. But if a company makes very special AGVs with smaller quantities or for other companies who need to order, say 100 or 200 gearboxes, then we can offer that from batch size one and in a very short period of time.
Are there any other points you’d like to make about the AGV market using this particular gearbox?
The AGV market is an interesting market because it is growing rapidly. All logistics are growing with the internet sales and getting more efficient. This also fires up the re-order demand to AGVs for easy, fast, and very flexible logistics solutions. In the past, we had a lot of requests from AGV manufacturers already, and we solved them; we delivered them; we served them with customized gearboxes, which is still a huge business for us. We learned a lot from that. So we went from that to making a standard gearbox, which, as I mentioned, we can now offer from batch size one.
In addition, we also offer the market drawings, technical data, and 3D data within a couple of minutes. We have a helpful digital tool that helps to specify the gearbox. It’s not only about size, but it’s also about getting the motor connected. Often you need a special motor adapter, and we have a database for that tool. It is called “Tec Data Finder.” You can see it on our homepage. It’s free for everybody, and we have about 15,000 different motors in that database. You can choose whatever motor you want and specify the gearbox, and then within a couple of minutes, you get 3D technical data and drawings of the gearbox. It is for the AGV manufacturer or the engineers who design AGVs. It’s a very comfortable and fast way to get information.
What overall makes the NGV gearbox ideal for this AGV vehicle?
It’s compact and space-saving. It has, for its size, a really high load capacity because we use a well-known, well-proven technology. It is very reliable and maintenance free over its lifetime and it is available in a short period of time.
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