FAQs About Oil Maintenance for Industrial Gearboxes

When it comes to maintaining an industrial gearbox, it’s imperative to create a well-planned maintenance schedule. A good maintenance plan reduces downtime by including regular inspections and repairing or replacing worn parts regularly.

How Do You Maintain an Industrial Gearbox?

An important part of gearbox maintenance includes proper lubrication. Lubrication is critical to the overall health of your industrial gear drive. To function properly, an industrial gear drive requires both proper sealants and lubrication.

Gear Reducer Sealants & Lubrication

Good sealants and proper lubrication go hand in hand because the seal keeps the lubrication in and the contaminants out. This means the pieces of the gear drive can keep moving smoothly and efficiently with as little friction as possible. 

Without the proper lubrication, components dry out, which causes friction to increase. Friction can significantly raise operating temperatures which cause gearboxes to wear down more quickly, ultimately leading to mechanical failure.

Quality fluid sealing products and proper oil maintenance are critical to avoiding downtime and ensuring your gear drive runs smoothly and efficiently.

How Do You Perform Oil Maintenance?

To perform oil maintenance, you’ll need to first analyze a sample of the oil to make sure it’s free of contaminants. Then check that the oil levels are appropriate for the performance level demanded of the gear drive.

The objective of proper lubrication and oil maintenance is to keep the temperature of the gear drive cool.

Why are Contaminants Bad?

Contaminants in oil can create friction which causes heat; with industrial gear drives, heat can be highly detrimental. Therefore, the objective of proper lubrication and oil maintenance is to keep the temperature of the gear drive as cool as possible. This prevents friction and keeps contaminants away from gear drive components.

Testing the Oil

Before you test the oil in a gear reducer, you’ll need to refer to the manufacturer’s recommendation on how frequently samples need to be taken. 

Typically, oil maintenance is required at three-month intervals. When requesting the oil analysis, be sure to ask for all of the tests recommended by your gear drive manufacturer.

When the oil analysis results come back, you should check whether or not they meet the recommended standards. The oil may need to be changed in some cases, but most applications will require the oil to be replaced entirely.

What Does Oil Analysis Check For?

Oil analysis can check for many factors that may affect the performance of the oil. 

Some of those factors include:

  1. Water: There should not be any water in the oil.
  2. Sediment: Anything not in the original oil formulation is considered contamination. 
  3. ISO Rating: A cleanliness standard rating determined by automatic particle counting (APC). The APC is determined at the micron level using laser or pore blockage. 
  4. Viscosity: This changes with temperatures. It’s essential that sample measurements are compared to reference values at the same temperature.
  5. Acid Number: This measures lubrication oxidation.

What Are Oil Maintenance Specifications?

The warmer your oil is, the faster the oxidation process happens. So, lowering your oil temperature by 10°C can make a huge impact, including fewer oil changes and longer maintenance intervals. It will even extend the life of your drive equipment. 

The lubricant you use should also match the specifications given by your gear drive manufacturer.

What are the Types of Oil Used in Gearboxes?

R&O Gear Lubricants

Rust and oxidation inhibited (R&O) gear lubricants don’t contain antiscuff additives or lubricity agents and perform well in chemical stability, demulsibility, corrosion prevention, and foam suppression. These lubricants operate well under relatively high speeds, low loads, and uniform loading.

They do not perform well or prevent wear under boundary lubrication conditions, but they work well in applications where all surface contacts operate under hydrodynamic or elastohydrodynamic conditions. 

Antiscuff (Extreme Pressure) Gear Lubricants

Antiscuff gear lubricants have performance capabilities exceeding R&O oils and contain special additives.

Antiscuff gear lubricants are also commonly known as extreme pressure (EP) lubricants. They have performance capabilities exceeding R&O oils and contain special additives that enhance their film strength and load-carrying ability. These additives make them perform well under heavy loads, slow speeds, and shock loading.

The most common EP additives are sulfur phosphorus, which are chemically active compounds that alter the chemistry of machine surfaces to prevent adhesive wear under boundary lubrication conditions.

Compounded Gear Lubricants

A compounded lubricant is generally mixed with a synthetic fatty acid to increase its lubricity and film strength. Worm gear applications are the most common for compounded lubricants because of their sliding contact and the negative effects of EP agents.

Base Oil Selection

High-quality mineral base oils perform well in most applications because they have higher pressure-viscosity coefficients than common synthetics. 

On the other hand, many synthetic base stocks have a greater inherent resistance to oxidation and thermal degradation, making them preferable for applications with high operating temperatures and, in some cases, allowing for extended service intervals. 

Surplus Gear Reducer Sales, Maintenance & Repair

No matter the application, NW Industrial Sales, LLC gearboxes provide the power many industries rely on to continue operating. In addition, a quality Falk surplus gearbox can allow you to minimize energy costs by using smaller motors and drives. 

Not only do Falk gear reducers minimize energy costs, but they are also versatile. As a result, Falk gear reducers and surplus parts keep many industries up and running.

We have a large inventory of Falk surplus parts, ensuring our clients can receive the exact part they need for their industrial application. As agents of Rexnord Industrial Services, our clients also gain access to their nationwide maintenance network.

Contact us today! We are available 24/7 to help you.

2022-06-21T21:04:02+00:00June 7th, 2022|
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