3 Common and Easily Preventable Causes of Machinery Issues

analytical assessment and test of mechanical equipmentMachines are a huge part of the American landscape: they help us work our fields, mine the earth for its valuable resources, and fly through the sky and sail over the ocean. The United States produces so many machines that in 2010 we exported approximately $42.7 worth of industrial machines around the world.

But for all they do to ease the burdens and trials of modern life, they are hardly infallible: machines break down. Industrial gearbox repairs, and conveying and propulsion systems repair and renewals, are a part of life for anyone who works with heavy machinery.

In the past, we’ve talked about common problems and symptoms faced by various types of machinery and equipment, as well as the analytical assessment and test of mechanical equipment needed to repair them. This time, we are going to dig into some of the more common, and preventable, causes of such problems.

  1. Not Reading the Manual

    While this may be common sense, a surprising amount of machinery breakdowns occur because the operator neglected to read the manual. While it might be tempting to gloss over the information in a manual and assume that operation is, more or less, the same as previous equipment, it is imperative that you take the time to read the manual.

  2. Improper Maintenance

    Whether it is because you are skipping a regularly required step, like cleaning out certain functions or not monitoring components closely enough, this is again directly preventable by practicing more thorough machine care. And while it might feel taxing to spend the extra time taking care of your machinery, the rewards, in the long run, will be more than worth the effort.

  3. Overreaching the Capability

    Put simply, just because a piece of machinery can run at a certain level does not mean that you should always run it at the extreme of its performance capability. While it might help you finish your immediate job more quickly, it can also cause significant wear and tear on your machinery.

If you find yourself constantly running into the same types of problems with your machinery, consider having an outside company run an analytical assessment and test of mechanical equipment in order to determine whether or not your issues are the result of a simple and preventable cause.

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4 Applications of Worm Gears: What You Should Know

gearbox repairA gearbox or transition an invaluable piece of equipment in a wide range of machinery. Trucks, boats, elevators, forklifts, conveyors, cars — anything that relies on torque to produce its energy will need a gearbox. That’s because the gear box is the mechanism in which torque, the force generated by rotation, is converted into electrical energy.

Among the many different types of industrial gearboxes, one of the most common types is the Worm gear. The average worm gear has two parts, a steel worm gear and a bronze worm wheel that cross in space. They are used at 90-degree angle and where you need low energy consumption, or high reduction.

Because of its unique design, worm gears have a very specific type of use. Here are some of the most common utilizations.

  1. When Stopping Fast Is a Priority: Since back driving is nearly impossible with the worm gear, they have become a popular tool for devices where stopping needs to be done quickly and assuredly. Typical examples would be elevators and lifts.
  2. When Too Much Noise is a Problem: The two different materials in the worm gear can greatly reduce the noise pollution from your gearbox, making it perfect for spaces where noise would be distracting — or worse, cause panic. Theatres, airports, and again elevators stand out as beneficiaries of this perk.
  3. When Space is a Concern: It’s not only majestic ships sailing through the ocean blue or trucks barreling down a deserted highway who benefit from a gear. Many machines that need to use torque must do so in confined spaces. The unique shape of the worm gear allows a greater flexibility and versatility for engineers. Packaging equipment, conveyors, and generally all small machinery will benefit here.
  4. Where Shock Loading is a Reality: Again the worm gear benefits from its uniquely different materials. The softer metals can more easily absorb the energy of sudden shock with less damage. This is particularly useful to rock crushers and heavy duty machines.

Whether you are looking to increase the speed of your convey belt or trying to find a quiet solution to your machinery needs, the worm gear has a number of advantages that might make it the right tool for your job.

Whether you are looking for shaft and bearing replacement, on site machining services, gearbox repair, or vibration analysis services, the industrial gearbox repair professionals at Northern Engineering are here to meet your needs.

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What Exactly Is A Gearbox

industrial gear drives repair and renewalIf you aren’t a mechanic, it can difficult to understand the multitudinous problems that affect your machinery. Whether you need a gearbox rebuild or industrial gear drives repair and renewal, it can be overwhelming for anyone without a concrete understanding. Let’s take a minute to explain it in broad strokes.

What exactly is a gearbox?

Gearbox is another word for transmission. Its primary function is to convert the energy generated by the engine into toque, or a force of rotation. While there are a wide range of variations on the industrial gearbox, at its most basic, a gear box consists of three types of components: shafts, gears, and bearings.

  1. Shafts

    The most important components are the shafts. The input shaft is connected to the engine and takes the force into the gearbox. That energy is then passed through the lay shaft, either in full or at a reduced rate depending on the gears (more on that in a minute), and outputted by way of the main shaft to the propeller shaft.

  2. Gears

    The gears help optimize the amount of torque, increasing or decreasing relative to input energy based on the desired effect. When starting to accelerate, a car will need much more torque in order build momentum. Once momentum has been built, however, a great deal less torque is required to maintain speed. The utilization of torque is a function of the ratio between the gears of the main shaft and the lay shaft.

  3. Bearings

    The bearings are designed to reduce the friction of the shafts, preventing overheating and wear and tear inside the gearbox. While these bearings are built to withstand a great deal of pressure, it is important not to take them for granted. Unless properly lubricated, these bearings will break down and possibly cause some serious damage to your gearbox.

When Might Something Be Wrong

The biggest clues that your gearbox may be in need of repair are excess noise, fluid leaking, oil contamination, or vibration. If you experience these problems, see a professional; you could experience anything from leaky seals, electric fluting or even bearing failure.

Hopefully, this little guide will help you understand this staple of modern engineering and will give you a little more comfort the next time you need an industrial gearbox repair or industrial gear drives repair and renewal.

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5 Ways to Keep Your Industrial Gearbox Working Smoothly

gearbox rebuild guideThe United States exported around 42.7 million dollars worth of industrial machines in 2010 alone. However, some people skimp out on the routine maintenance and repairs needed to assure that these machines are running at the top of their game. Below are five tips to keeping your industrial gearbox working smoothly.

  1. Cleaning
    A machine as powerful as this is going to end up being a little dirty sometimes. That being said, it is a good idea to do what you can to keep both the machine and the area it’s sitting in as clean as possible. This will inevitably keep any gearbox repair costs low, should you need to see it fixed one day.
  2. Assure All Components Are Not Broken
    Even incredibly strong machines can start to break down. And unless you want to spend hours with a gearbox rebuild guide, trying to figure out how to repair your machine from the ground up, you’d better keep an eye on each individual mechanical component. Gear teeth can snap off, leading to worse problems for your machine later on. Be sure to pay careful attention to this.
  3. Lubricate Your Gearbox
    The phrase “Like a well-oiled machine” comes to mind with this tip. Indeed, industrial gearboxes, like a lot of heavy machinery, need to be properly lubricated in order to continue working properly. Be sure to use the right type and the right amount, or else your machine’s integrity can be compromised.
  4. Be Mindful of Overheating
    You should keep an eye on your industrial gearbox’s temperature to ensure it’s not getting too hot. If plastic melts or water evaporates too quickly around your gearbox, it’s a sign of overheating. Heat damages metal over time, making it weaker and brittle.
  5. Take it in for Small Repairs
    For problems you don’t know how to fix yourself in your gearbox rebuild guide, you should take it into a repair shop. They can assist in providing routine maintenance and repairing small issues with your machines, so that they don’t become far bigger and more expensive issues later on.

Your ideal scenario is to keep your machines running nice and easy for many years. However, a lot of effort needs to go into assuring that that can happen. If you follow these five tips, it should help you get started in keeping your industrial gearboxes serving you well for a long time to come.

For more information on industrial gearboxes or gearbox repair guides, please visit noengwks.org

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3 Common Types of Gearbox Failures

automatic gearbox repairIndustrial gearboxes are an important component of all types of equipment. When they fail to operate as they should, it can be a huge problem for any business. With experience, you’ll learn to recognize four of the common signs of gearbox problems, which include excessive noise, vibrations, fluid leaks, and oil contamination. But when a gearbox completely fails, it’s important to know why. Gearbox repair specialists can help you identify the cause of the failure and what type it is before conducting automatic gearbox repairs, but it’s also beneficial for you to be able to recognize the kind of gearbox failure you’re dealing with, too. Here are just three of the common gearbox failures you might run into. If you notice warning signs of these failures, be sure to inquire about immediate industrial gearbox repair.

  1. Micropitting and Macropitting
    These types of failures sound very similar and can affect some of the same components, but they’re a bit different. When there’s inadequate lubricant film between two surfaces that have a lot of sliding action between them, micropitting may occur. You can recognize it by the change in surface appearance, as it will appear matte or frosted. This failure can be prevented by a change in lubricant or by reducing rough surface textures. Macropitting, on the other hand, happens when contact stress is too much for a material to handle. You can identify it by corrosion and craters in the material. This can be prevented by lessening loans or by making gear and material improvements. Micropitting may be a bit easier to fix, but either kind of failure may require automatic gearbox repair.
  2. Fretting Corrosion
    Fretting corrosion impacts the same areas as the above failures — the gears or bearings — and can also be identified by the mark the process leaves behind. When two surfaces make repeated contact through oscillating motion with no lubricant, fretting corrosion may occur. It can also be caused by having no rotation over a long period of time. You can tell it’s occurred by the ruts, as well as debris that’s black or brown in color. If you reduce non-rotation time, you can often prevent this type of failure.
  3. Bending Fatigue
    This type of failure affects the gear teeth and occurs when those teeth aren’t able to handle the amount of stress being put upon them. When you operate at incorrect heat temperatures or have overly heavy loads, bending fatigue may be imminent. You’ll notice this failure by the marks and cracks left behind on the gear teeth. By decreasing your loads and improving the strength of your gears, you’ll go a long way in keeping this failure from happening.

No matter how detail-oriented you might be, gearbox failure can still occur. If you discover any of the above failures have happened, you need automatic gearbox repair. For more information, contact Northern Engineering today.

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What is Hydrostatic Testing?

analytical assessment and test of mechanical equipmentHydrostatic testing of newly installed natural gas pipelines has been required by federal law since the 1970s. Most hydrostatic testing is done via the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, and they administer the national regulatory program to assure safe transportation of natural gas. But what exactly is hydrostatic testing? Here we explain everything to know about this process.

What is it?

Simply speaking, hydrostatic testing is an analytical assessment and test of mechanical equipment with on site machining services. Basically, it is when components of an application, such as the piping, industrial gearboxes, or pressure vessels are tested for strength and leaks by filling the component with a pressurized liquid.

How does it work?

With hydrostatic testing, the component is completely filled with water until it reaches a specific pressure. The pressure is then sustained for a couple minutes in order to adequately check for leaks. In order to make sure every leak is properly sealed, some engineers apply a tracer of fluorescent dye to the liquid to find even the smallest of cracks.

Why is it required?

Typically, hydrostatic testing is used as the final analytical assessment and test of mechanical equipment before the machine is returned to service. While it does not ensure the longevity of the application beyond the time of the test, it is important to invest in a long-term testing procedure, such as a proper engine heads and valves repair and renewal.

Are there different methods of hydrostatic testing?

Yes, there are two primary methods used by engineers, mostly for cylinders and vessels.

1. Water jacket testing: the vessel is filled with water, placed in a sealed container, and connected to a calibrated gas tube. It is pressurized for a long period of time, which will force water out of the test jacket into the tube. This is a way for the engineers to figure out how much the vessel has expanded.

2. Direct expansion method: the vessel is completely filled with water, and additional water is continuously pumped in until the test pressure is reached. So, the amount and weight of the water pushed into the vessel allows the engineer to see how much the vessel expanded.

In need of hydrostatic testing or vibration analysis services? Do not hesitate to contact our professionals today.

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5 Gearbox Inspection Tips to Keep in Mind

industrial gear boxIndustrial gearboxes are important components in any utility vehicle. And like any other vital piece of equipment, they need to be inspected regularly. Gearbox repair and renewal, and possibly replacement, are necessary to ensure safety for equipment operators, as well as save money.

When time comes to conduct an industrial gearbox repair or inspection, keep the following techniques in mind.

  1. Before you delve too far into an inspection, take a thorough look at the outside of the gearbox for any signs of damage. Scorching, erosion, and leaks are all possible, and need to be addressed first and foremost. Check to see if there is any chipped paint at the structural ports that could indicate damage or deterioration. You should also check all of the mechanical attachments and see if they are still strong enough to bear weight. If not, then you need to have them repaired or replaced.
  2. Check for leaks or remnants of oil spillage at the shaft seals. If you see any evidence of oil spills, the seals are not secure and are likely allowing dirt and water to enter the gearbox.
  3. The breather, similar to our lungs, should be clear of all pollutants. It should not be in a high-pressure area of the gearbox and should be protected by a screen and drying agent to prevent debris and moisture from entering.
  4. Check out the cover of the inspection port. Like the shaft seals, an inadequate seal can cause leaks. Issues that have been detected early on may be easily fixed, and can be easily repaired.
  5. Look at the points of contact on the gear teeth. Erosion of the teeth could be explained by an outside force, or more likely by a misalignment. There is likely a bearing issue. It’s important to fix this quickly, as further contact can severely damage the gear teeth.

Industrial machinery equipment is extremely expensive. In fact, in 2012, machinery shipments totaled $407.4 billion. With such valuable equipment, you don’t want just anyone to fix it. The only people you should trust to inspect your gearbox are gearbox repair specialists.

If the time has come for your gearbox to be maintained or replaced, trust the team at Northern Engineering.

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Understanding the Importance of Gearbox Lubricating Oil

industrial gearboxIndustrial gearboxes provide the mechanical power necessary to keep a motor running, but do you know what keeps the gearboxes themselves going strong? Lubricating oil. Lubricating oil is the lifeblood of an industrial gearbox. When oil levels fall, the gearbox fails, leading to costly industrial gearbox repair and renewal. In this article, you will learn all about the importance of choosing the right gearbox lubricant and maintaining sufficient oil levels.

Choosing the Right Gearbox Lubricating Oil

Selecting the best lubricating oil for your gearbox means considering a number of important factors. Of course, the easiest solution is to consult your equipment’s maintenance manual and select a product from the qualified product list. However, if your gearbox operates outside the parameters for which the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM’s) recommendations were made, you will need to figure it out on your own. Consider the following criteria when choosing a lubricant:

  • Viscosity
  • Additives
  • Base Oil Type

To learn more about how these factors should affect your lubricating oil selection, consult your local gearbox repair specialists.

Importance of Maintaining Lubricant Levels

Lubricating oils provide protection against surface wear, prevent corrosion of metal surfaces, and cool down the gearbox’s internal parts. When a gearbox is not properly lubricated, a number of serious issues can occur. For instance, surface fatigue is often caused by poor lubrication on the wheel teeth because the surface is subjected to too much stress. Scuffing may also occur if the film of the lubricant is not maintained.

Some of the most common warning signs of gearbox problems include excessive noise, vibration, fluid leaks, and oil contamination. These symptoms could potentially be a result of leaky seals, bearing failure, or electrical fluting. When something goes wrong, one of the first things gearbox repair specialists look at is the lubricating oil levels.

Choosing the wrong kind of lubricant can severely shorten the lifespan of your gearbox, and failing to maintain the oil levels can cause serious damage to the machinery. If you need help choosing a gearbox lubricating oil or maintaining the correct oil levels, contact a professional for advice and assistance.

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Before Choosing Your Industrial Gear Oil, Ask These 4 Questions

industrial gearboxThese days, industrial manufacturing is in high demand. In fact, machinery manufacturing shipments accounted for 7.1% of all manufacturing shipments in 2012. This may not sound like a lot, but that 7.1% ends up equaling about $407.4 billion!

But in order to keep up with high demand, you need to make sure that your industrial gearboxes are able to function properly and productively. The best way to do this is with the right industrial gear oil. Choosing and maintaining the right gear oil is essential for ideal performance. In order to make sure your gear oil lasts a long time without problems, ask these four simple questions before you make your pick:

Is it a clean product?

The bottom line is that a cleaner product will move through a filtering system much more easily. If you have a significant working load, you need to make sure your gear oil actually stays on your gears. If you don’t, you’ll often find that the metal-to-metal contact between gears creates physical stress and heat, which can often result in the need for industrial gearbox repair and renewal.

If you want to cut down on operating costs while simultaneously meeting your manufacturing demands, invest in a cleaner gear oil.

How strong is the lubricant?

Standard oils might satisfy industry standards at first, but they’ll quickly become totally ineffective during the course of operations. That’s why you need to use industrial gear lubricants. They’re strong enough to be used in the harshest working environments and keep their functionality over time. Industrial gear lubricants are specifically designed to be durable. Since they keep gears running smoothly, they’ll reduce the need for gearbox rebuild. Thus, they can help lengthen the lifespan of your equipment and cut your costs. Make sure the lubricant you use is strong enough to withstand your needs.

Will it divert water?

They say that oil and water don’t mix. While this is true, you still need to take measures to keep your industrial gearbox dry. Doing so might be more of a challenge than you think. Because manufacturing is often done at extreme temperatures, you have to know that your gear oil will be able to stop water from getting into the casing under any conditions. Doing so will help to increase the functionality and lifespan of both your gears and the oil itself.

Does it work well with additives?

Keep in mind that certain substances aren’t always completely stable under extreme conditions. If you use a substance that is supposed to increase your gear oil’s ability to handle high pressure, you need to pick an oil that will work well with these additives. In some cases, an imbalance of temperature may lead to slime development.

Ideally, the technologies we use today can help maintain ideal temperature levels so this doesn’t occur, but you should still do your research before making a final decision. Since additives can help your industrial gearbox to last longer and eliminate unnecessary repairs, be careful to choose a gear oil that interacts well with additives under extreme conditions.

Choosing the right industrial gear oil is important to maintaining your equipment. However, the need for repairs and rebuild will inevitably still arise. To find out more about the services we offer here at Northern Engineering, please get in touch with one of our gearbox repair specialists today.

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5 Types of Industrial Gearboxes, Their Strengths and Applications

industrial gearboxA number of different fields use gearboxes for a wide range of applications. For this reason there are several kinds of industrial gearboxes, all with their own unique features, functions, and mechanisms. Here is a list of five common gearbox types and some important details about each.

Worm Gearbox

  • Strengths: This type of gearbox provides greater speed reduction ratio between axis shafts. Worm gears are used to transmit power at 90 degrees.
  • Details: The worm drive is equipped with a wheel that has a large diameter. A worm screw meshes with the teeth on the worm wheel’s peripheral area. The worm usually resembles a screw while the wheel is similar to one section of a nut.
  • Applications: Tuning instruments like guitars; elevators; gates and conveyor belts

Planetary Gearbox

  • Strengths: This gearbox is known for endurance and accuracy.
  • Details: It comes in hollow or solid input, and there are various mounting options, including foot, flange-mounted, or shaft.
  • Applications: Pencil sharpeners; 3D printing

Coaxial Helical Inline Gearbox

  • Strengths: Coaxial helical inline gears are known for their efficiency and quality.
  • Details: The gears and shaft are made of case hardened, tempered steel, designed to achieve minimal friction.
  • Applications: Heavy-duty types of applications related to mining, lifting, transportation, tank fabrication, construction, etc.

Bevel Helical Gearbox

  • Strengths: The bevel helical gearbox provides a rotary motion between non-parallel shafts.
  • Details: This gearbox has a curved set of teeth on a cone-shaped surface.
  • Applications: Mining or quarry industry

Skew Bevel Helical Gearbox

  • Strengths: The skew bevel helical gearbox has excellent rigidity and strength.
  • Details: This gearbox is noted for its unyielding, monolithic structure, combining two cylindrical-helical stages of reduction with the skew axis.
  • Applications: Moving various heavy loads

Because every type of gearbox has a different design, the same industrial gearbox repair and renewal techniques won’t work for all of them. If you need to have a gearbox inspected, fixed, or replaced, consult a professional gearbox repair service. They will know exactly how to handle issues with each type of industrial gearbox.

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