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Types of Machine Levers for Machinery

Regardless of your industry, you need machine levers that suit the equipment you own. Selecting the right type of lever can make a significant difference.  You need to consider the kind of material and design you need for specific applications. It will take time to find the right type of lever, so it helps to do research before you look for a supplier of heavy-duty industrial levers.

In this article we will take a closer look at:

1. What Does a Machine Lever Do?
2. Types of Machine Levers
    > Gear Levers
    > Control Levers
    > Cam Levers
    > Clamping Levers

3. What to Consider When Choosing a Machine Lever

What Does a Machine Lever Do?

A lever is a tool that consists of a rod that moves about a pivot or joint. It enables you to use a small amount of force in order to move or lift a much larger object. Using a crowbar to pry open a crate is an example of how a lever is applied.

As workholding tools, levers are used for adjusting, aligning, and tightening machine elements. Different machines require specific types of levers to operate. Picking the right one for your assets helps improve overall efficiency, productivity, and safety.

Types of Machine Levers

Gear Levers
Levers play a major role in operating vehicles and heavy equipment. They allow for shifting gears relative to the amount of work to be done. However, working on rugged terrain where frequent gear shifting is required. This can put a strain on the hands of operators, hence the need for responsive levers with comfortable grips .

For such an application, a quality gear lever must be designed for extreme conditions. This type of lever usually comes with a plastic knob and a durable shaft layered with a black oxide finish. It matters to find one that has a steel or stainless steel shaft and a ball handle that allows for a firmer grip. Apart from ball knobs, there are also options for tapered and oval plastic handles with brass inserts.

Control Levers
For both mobile or fixed machines, control levers help with adjusting operational components. Operators use these levers to switch between different machine settings, activate equipment functions, and position machine instruments. They can be rotated or switched up-and-down or left-and-right by means of a ball and spring mechanism. These levers are available across a wide array of handle styles. For a comfortable grip, look for control levers with glass fiber knobs

Apart from the handle, it’s also important to consider the integrity of the shaft. Most manufacturers carry levers with technopolymer shafts which allow for greater oil and grease resistance. If you are in a high humidity environment, you might want to look for levers made from this specific material. For a more aesthetically pleasing look, check out levers with all matte black finishes.

Cam Levers
When it comes to machinery that requires frequent manual adjustments, cam levers are the way to go. They allow for fastening and unfastening of machine components easily and without the use of wrenches and other fastening tools. Such levers consist of cam handles that are pushed down to enable a tightening action. Conversely, the handles are pushed up to release tension. This allows for a quicker way to clamp workpieces and adjust machine components without disassembling them.

Cam levers come in a variety of styles, but the most common feature is a slightly arched handle made of either aluminum or stainless steel. The handle shape is designed to provide a relaxed grip for easier lifting or lowering. There are also options for different mount types. In most cases, you will be made to choose between internal thread and threaded stud. 

Clamping Levers
For applications that require high torque power, clamping levers are an essential option. A specific product under this category is a quick release cam lever. Usually made from high-grade steel, this type of lever provides a faster way to tighten or loosen screws, thereby eliminating the need for wrenches and screwdrivers. To use this type of lever, simply rotate to tighten the screw and return it to its original position. One advantage of this type of lever is that you don't need to turn it 360 degrees.

Clamping levers are ideal for machine maintenance and adjustments. They are available across a wide variety of handle styles, from offset to low profile. You can also select different mount types, including blank, threaded, tapped, or reamed. For knob options, you can choose from phenolic, iron, steel, or plastic handles. 

What to Consider When Choosing a Machine Lever

Knowing that there are various types of machine levers to choose from, you might want to look for one that fits your requirements, budget, and other considerations. Selecting the wrong one lever could mean extra maintenance costs, workplace injuries, and decreased productivity.

In choosing a machine lever, consider the application you will be using it for. If it requires quick fastening, clamping levers and cam levers are ideal. When it comes to operating equipment such as mixers and assembly lines, high quality control levers are a priority.

Depending on the nature of your business, you need levers that can withstand a range of environmental conditions. Opt for levers that can withstand extreme heat or cold. Stainless steel is a preferred choice for the shaft.

Handle design is also an important factor. You will need a lever that allows for a firm yet comfortable grip. For operating industrial machines and equipment, look for knobs made from high-quality plastic. Round plastic knobs are a perfect match for control and gear levers, but tapered knobs are just as beneficial.

Machine levers come in different sizes and forms depending on the applications they are used for. You just need to find a supplier that offers a wide selection of levers that match your preferences.

As a preferred distributor of industrial machine levers, Reid Supply has a wide catalog of products sourced from the world’s leading brands.

Check out our engineer resource guide to find out more about the machine levers we carry.