Epicyclic drive in tunneling machines

Epicyclic Drive in Tunneling Machines

Epicyclic Drive in Tunneling Machines

Tunneling machines have become an essential part of modern infrastructure projects. They are used to dig tunnels in various terrains, such as mountains, rivers, or urban areas. The efficiency and accuracy of these machines depend on their various components, including the epicyclic drive. In this article, we will explore what an epicyclic drive is, how it works, and its applications in tunneling machines.

Epicyclic Drive

What is an Epicyclic Drive?

An epicyclic drive, also known as a planetary drive, is a gear system that consists of one or more outer gears, or planet gears, revolving around a central gear, or sun gear. The planet gears are mounted on a carrier, which is then attached to an output shaft. The sun gear is usually driven by an input shaft. The arrangement of gears and their ratios determine the speed and torque of the output shaft.

How Does an Epicyclic Drive Work?

When the input shaft rotates, it drives the sun gear, which in turn drives the planet gears. As the planet gears rotate, they revolve around the sun gear and the carrier. The carrier then rotates the output shaft, which has a speed and torque that depend on the gear ratios. The output shaft can rotate in the same direction as the input shaft, or in the opposite direction if the carrier is held stationary. The epicyclic drive can also be used as a speed reducer by fixing the output shaft and driving the sun gear.

Applications of Epicyclic Drive in Tunneling Machines

Epicyclic drives are used in various components of tunneling machines, such as the cutterhead, the conveyor, and the erector. The cutterhead is the front part of the machine that excavates the tunnel. It consists of a rotating drum with cutting bits that break the rock or soil. The drum is usually driven by one or more epicyclic drives. The conveyor moves the excavated material from the cutterhead to the rear of the machine. It also uses epicyclic drives to drive the belt and adjust its speed. The erector is the part of the machine that installs the tunnel lining, such as concrete segments or steel plates. It also relies on epicyclic drives to position the segments accurately.

Epicyclic Drive in Use

Advantages of Epicyclic Drive in Tunneling Machines

Epicyclic drives offer several advantages for tunneling machines. First, they provide high torque and reliability, which are crucial for digging through tough terrains. Second, they have a compact design and a high power-to-weight ratio, which can save space and energy. Third, they can handle various speeds and directions, which can be useful for different stages of tunneling. Fourth, they can be easily integrated into other systems and controlled by electronic devices, which can increase automation and precision.


Epicyclic drives are essential components of tunneling machines that provide high torque, reliability, and versatility. They can be used in various applications, such as the cutterhead, the conveyor, and the erector. Their advantages include a compact design, a high power-to-weight ratio, and easy integration with other systems. Our company specializes in producing high-quality epicyclic drives and other gear systems for the Chinese market. Our products are designed and manufactured with precision and efficiency, using the latest CNC machines and assembly equipment. We also offer customized solutions for specific needs and requirements. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.

Epicyclic Drive Factory

Author: Czh.