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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5 Maintenance Tips to Help Keep Your Industrial Gearboxes Working

industrial gearboxIn 2012, machinery manufacturing shipments accounted for 7.1% of all manufacturing shipments. However, that doesn’t mean that every industrial machinery owner takes care of their machines like the expensive machines they actually are.

Industrial gearboxes are important to the proper functioning of all kinds of machinery, and they need to be treated as such. To keep your industrial gearbox in tip top shape, here are five maintenance tips.

You don’t need gearbox repair specialists to tell you that water, dust, and other debris shouldn’t enter a gearbox. All breathers should be of the correct style and size to ensure the machine can breathe properly.

Perhaps the most important part of any machine maintenance routine, lubrication is an absolute must. If you want all of the machine’s parts to function properly and without difficulty, this is an important step in the process.

Check Gearbox Ratings
To ensure your gearbox is running properly, make sure it’s operating within its manufactures specification of both mechanical and thermal ratings. Many times gearboxes are used for situations above their working capacity, which can lead to issues later on. A gearbox, if made out of steel, which has 90% recycled content, can be recycled at the end of its life, but the goal is to keep your gearbox running for as long as possible.

Good Housekeeping
It goes without saying that most gearboxes operate in dirty, dusty sites. However, you should take every possible measure to ensure that the area your gearbox is placed in, as well as the equipment itself, is cleaned regularly in order to avoid costly industrial gearbox repair or gearbox rebuilds.

Shaft Seals
Always make sure to check for oil leaks at the input and output shaft of your gearbox. Leaks indicate the seals have failed, thus allowing entry of dust and other debris.

Above all else, keep an eye out for signs of malfunction. Four of the most common red flags to watch out for include strange noises, heavy vibration, unexpected fluid leaks, and oil contamination. If you notice any of these four things, it might be time for a repair.

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Prolong the Life of Your Gearbox With These 4 Tips

gearbox repair specialistsAs you may know, some of the most common warning signs of gearbox problems include excessive noise, unexplained vibrations, sudden fluid leaks, and oil contamination. It is important to identify these red flags so that you can take care of issues before they result in total gearbox failure.
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3 Most Common Gearbox Problems

gearbox repairIndustrial gearboxes are at the center of various industrial fields, including construction machinery, farm machinery and equipment, and mining and oil and gas field machinery. In 2012, the manufacturing and shipping of products in these industries reported revenue of $43.9 billion, $38.3 billion, and $32.7 billion, respectively. In total, machinery shipments made up 7.1% of all manufacturing exports, or $407.4 billion in revenue. Continue reading

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Northern Engineering Celebrates 100 Years

Fox 21 recently covered the story of our celebration of 100 years. To view their 2 minute clip and read article, click here.

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