Industrial gearboxes are collections of gears and other specialized components that work to generate and control torque and speed. These machines are critical components in any piece of equipment. In fact, if an industrial gearbox fails, your entire machine could stop working. This could result in significant downtime, lost production and missed deadlines.
Regular industrial gearbox inspections are critical to ensuring that your production deadlines are maintained. If you are conducting an inspection yourself, you should use the same thoroughness as a repair and maintenance company. The following will detail exactly what happens during an inspection and help you keep your industrial gearbox in optimal condition.
One of the most important parts of any industrial gearbox inspection is planning for it. Your company must plan for a shutdown of the production lines because that is the only way to fully inspect the gearbox. Additionally, when you shut down production lines, you must make sure your inspection team has the proper equipment. This could include spanners, a micrometer, a sound meter, torque wrench, ear plugs, a high intensity LED flashlight, and a thermometer. It can be much easier to hire a professional gearbox maintenance company to handle the inspection for you due to the complicated nature of this service.
Before any inspection can occur, all necessary certificates and paperwork must be signed. Your company cannot randomly activate a machine that is undergoing inspection. This step is critical, so be sure your company takes the time to ensure that every safety check is confirmed properly.
Industrial gearboxes operate in extremely dirty environments. You cannot conduct a proper inspection without cleaning the gearbox and the surrounding area first. Make sure the area is thoroughly cleaned or the inspection team may miss critical issues, such as evidence of overheating. With these preparations taken, your industrial gearbox can be inspected properly.
Inspect the foundation fasteners and the cover fasteners of the gearbox for signs of tightness. Additionally, check for signs of corrosion, overheating, oil leaks, and damage, which will appear as stains and brittle spots. Carefully inspect the input and output shafts for oil leaks. Finally, visually inspect the welds for any signs of cracking or damage to the body.
If the oil in the gearbox is dark, this indicates there is overheating. If you see shaft seals and air breathers that have signs of smoke, this could also mean your gearbox is overheating. You can spray water over the housing and shaft to see if it evaporates to easily check for this issue. An industrial gearbox maintenance company can also help you find any issues caused by overheating.
If you find an oil leak during your initial inspection, that means that an oil seal was damaged and will need to be replaced. Replacing oil seals is a priority because a worn seal lets in dust and water, which damages the gearbox.
Next, you should inspect the air breather and accompanying filter. The filter, regardless of the state, should be cleaned. Dirty filters allow in water vapor, which will damage the gearbox. Finally, the air breather should be covered to prevent entry of foreign particles from entering the gearbox.
You can check the oil levels in your industrial gearbox by using the dipstick. If levels are too low, refill the oil with an appropriate grade when you complete the inspection.
Be sure to record the temperature of the gearbox and the oil temperature during the inspection. Check these temperatures against the operation and maintenance manuals to confirm they are within operational levels.
Open the inspection ports on the gearbox to review the internal components. Once the ports are open, be careful not to pour any foreign substances into the gearbox. For instance, it is common for a stray bolt or nut to fall into the equipment. To retrieve the bolt, it may require you to disassemble part of the gearbox, which will cost time and money.
Now that you are ready to inspect the gear, shafts, and bearings, look for signs of metal fatigue. You should record the status of the damaged components and, if possible, take photographs. You should also inspect the endplay and runout in the shaft for indications of stress. These components undergo extreme pressures and are subject to metal fatigue.
Finally, observe your industrial gearbox while in operation. Listen for signs or vibrations that are unusual. Once your inspection is complete, record your findings. You will need these notes when you conduct another inspection. There are also reference guides, including parts lists and repair manuals, that you can use to help during each inspection.
If you need affordable, high-quality industrial gearbox inspection, repair, or maintenance, contact the experts at Amarillo Gear Service in Amarillo, Texas today. We are a division of Amarillo Gear Company, which has been in continuous operation since 1917. You can call us at (806) 622-1273 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our Amarillo Gear™ and Marley™ gearbox repair services. We will be glad to tell you more about the Regions We Service and the quality workmanship we can bring to the repair or Renewal of your drive.