Impellers 101: Understanding the Importance of Impeller Design

gearbox repair and renewalWhen you’re thinking about gearbox repair and renewal, it’s important to understand all of the components surrounding the engine. The impeller design in your vehicle is a critical component of ensuring the efficiency and functionality of your vehicle.

What is an impeller?
Impellers are rotating devices that are designed to change the flow or pressure of liquids, gases, and vapors. They consist of various vanes, or blades, which are arranged around a central shaft. When the device rotates, it sucks in fluids or gases and forces them out the opposite side.

While impellers may seem very similar to propellers, they are used to move different types of objects. A propeller typically refers to a device that moves an object to which it is attached, like a propeller on a boat. On the other hand, impellers are designed to move the substance passing through it without moving the attached object.

Types of impeller designs
Since the impeller is a critical component of your vehicle, the design of the impeller is the most significant factor in determining performance of the car. There are three basic types of impellers:

  1. Open impeller: This impeller design has the vanes free on both sides. Because open impellers are structurally weak, they are generally used in small pumps.
  2. Semi-open impeller: This impeller design consists of free vanes on one side and enclosed vanes on the other. this design offers higher efficiency and strength. Because of this, they are often used in medium-diameter pumps.
  3. Closed impeller: In this impeller design, the vanes are located between the two discs and are usually used in large pumps.

Aside from the overall impeller design, there are also design options for the impeller blades. The blades can be backward-curved, radial, or forward curved. The design of the impeller and its blades is very important to understand, as the design can impact the functionality of your vehicle.

When considering industrial gearbox repair and renewal, it’s important to remember that your a gearbox is a huge factor in the overall functioning of a vehicle or machine. With that in mind, it’s important to look out for warning signs of gearbox problems like vibration, excessive noise, oil contamination, and fluid leaks. Typically, these may be a result of bearing failure, electrical fluting, or leaky seals, but you should always ask experiences gearbox repair specialists to determine the cause of any issues you may be experiencing.

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Should Your Rebuild or Replace Your Vehicle’s Gearbox?

gearbox rebuildThe transmission, or gearbox, is one of the most important parts in a vehicle. It changes the gear ratio, allowing the wheels to move at different levels and powers. A gearbox rebuild can restore a vehicle to its maximum operating function. Here are a few signs that could mean you need to repair or replace your transmission:

  • You can smell burning transmission fluid
  • Your transmission fluid is leaking
  • The check engine light comes on
  • Your vehicle is making strange noises
  • It’s difficult to shift or stay in gear

Rebuilding a transmission, or gearbox, can be an expensive task. But even though it may be expensive, it’s cheaper than buying an entirely new one. By catching the transmission problems early enough, you can give your vehicle a new life. If you’re on the fence about deciding to repair or replace your gearbox, consider these few benefits of transmission repairs.

With either a manual or automatic gearbox repair, you’ll have your vehicle back quicker. While a rebuild may only take a few days, getting a replacement usually takes at least a week.

As previously stated, a rebuild is going to save you money. Typically, the gearbox repair cost is about half of what a replacement would cost you. Rebuilds require less materials and time, reducing the cost significantly.

A gearbox rebuild is also more environmentally friendly than a replacement. A rebuild requires fixing what you have, while a replacement requires getting rid of the total old gearbox. Recycling gearbox parts reduces the wasting of undamaged parts. With 90% recycled content, steel is the most recycled material in the world. You’ll also reduce the usage of natural resources that would have to be used to create the new parts.

A damaged transmission can cause your vehicle to not run properly, making it unsafe. An industrial gear drives repair and renewal will:

  • Give you better control of your drive wheels
  • Give you back usage of any gears you were unable to use before
  • Stop leaking transmission fluid
  • Allow for easier shifting into gears

It’s also important to consider the quality of a gearbox rebuild. During a rebuild, each part is removed and inspected for possible damage. It is then easy to replace unreliable parts. With a replacement transmission, there’s no way to really tell the quality of each and every part.

In knowing all of these benefits of a gearbox rebuild, you will be able to make an informed decision about whether to replace or repair your transmission.


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4 Huge Benefits of Onsite Machining

onsite machiningIt can only take a small mechanical issue to cause a large problem for your business, especially if your machinery is on the larger end of the spectrum. With onsite machining services, you are able to correct your problems quickly and economically.

In this post, we will dig into some of the many ways onsite machining can help your business recover after a mechanical failure.

Onsite Analytical Assessment Capability
If you are operating a large ship, tractor, or other major machinery, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem. While in the cases of some medium sized machinery it might be conceivable to ship the whole apparatus to a mechanic, it is not a practical way to approach the problem.

With onsite machining services, you are able to have an expert visit your site in person in order to perform diagnostics like predictive maintenance vibration analysis and see what sort of system repair and renewals are required.

Fewer Logistical Complications
Even if you can identify the cause of you mechanical problems and are able to isolate them, it can still be a headache to try to ship the equipment to be repaired. With onsite machining, you can have a technician repair the issues on the premises, saving you the trouble of shipping.

No Expensive Shipping Costs
Did you know that machinery manufacturing shipments cost a total of $407.4 in the year 2012 alone? It shouldn’t be hard to understand why. Afterall, it takes a lot of power to haul big pieces of machinery from one location to another. With onsite machining, you are able to avoid this costly process by having the mechanic come directly to you.

Faster Turnaround
One of the best benefits of onsite machining is that once the equipment has been repaired, you can immediately resume running your machine. This will help you avoid downtime that can be devastating to your business’s bottom line.

For a lot of industries, onsite machining services are hugely beneficial. It can save you both time and money and better enable you to recover after a mechanical failure.

If you would like to learn more about onsite machining, contact Northern Engineering today.

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3 Important Standards Your Gearbox Should Meet

gearbox repairTo the non-mechanic, just the word gearbox can be mind boggling. Even for the professionals, these sophisticated pieces of machinery require a great deal of understanding, care, and expertise to successfully install or repair. If you’re not accustomed to dealing with these devices, it can be hard to understand the amount of work involved in your gearbox repair and renewal or even your gearbox in general.

In the past, we have offered explanations of what a gearbox is, and the common warning signs that there might be an issue (excessive noise, vibration, fluid leaks, and oil contamination). In this blog, we will help you understand what standards you should be looking for when determining the success and value of a gearbox.

  1. Minimal Energy Use
    Your gearbox is the primary instrument for converting torque, therefore it makes sense that you would want your gearbox to be as efficient as possible. In order to reduce power waste, you will need a gearbox with minimal friction, reducing the amount of heat generated and the number of secondary units and cooling mechanisms needed to mitigate it.
  2. Low Maintenance Costs
    What good is a tool that you need to pay to get fixed every few weeks? A good gearbox will need to be built in a way that reduces wear and tear to a minimum, which again means a reduction of the friction inside the gearbox.
  3. Compact Size
    You might have noticed the way to improve the past two standards was to reduce friction. This is where things get trickier. You can keep friction to a minimal level with a gearbox that is spacious, but a large gearbox means less space for other important components. It then becomes important to have a gearbox that has low friction and is compact so that it doesn’t burden the total machine.

Even for people with a good understanding of how a machine works, understanding each specific piece can be difficult. Hopefully, this guide has imparted a better understanding of what a gearbox should offer.

Northern Engineering is an industry leader for engine heads and valves repair and renewal, industrial gearbox repair and renewal, and analytical assessment and test of mechanical equipment. If you have any questions, contact us today.

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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

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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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