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Industrial Gear Lubrication

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Industrial gears like hypoid, bevel (spiral, straight), spur, and helical often operate under heavy loads and require extreme-pressure protection for gear components. Gearboxes play very important role for many industrial power transmission systems. Many components in gear drives have tight tolerances and optimized gear geometry, which are required for transferring working loads as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

For successful operation and long life of a gearbox, it is directly related to proper maintenance. Many gearbox failures take place due to a few problems and basic preventive maintenance practices will minimize these failures. We will focus on four areas for proper functioning of gear: lubrication, temperature, vibration and noise.


Lubrication is one of the most important components of a gearbox. Effective lubrication is extremely critical to all gearboxes and will help prevent gear and bearing failures. Many gear and bearing failures result from insufficient or interrupted lubrication

Maintaining proper lubrication includes using the appropriate lubricant, keeping oil clean and free of foreign materials, and maintaining a sufficient supply of lubricant. Since selecting a lubricant is based on many independent factors including gear type, load type, speed, operating temperatures, input power and reduction ratio. Foreign materials present in the lubricant can cause abrasive wear. When lubrication problems occur they can cause several gear problems. Failures, like scoring and galling, are generally caused by oil film breakdown resulting in metal-to-metal contact.



A rise in temperature or localized hot spots can indicate that the gearbox is not operating as efficiently as it once was due to a problem with either the gears or bearings. Temperature control is also important for oil life. For sump temperatures above 200° F, R & O mineral oils start to degrade rapidly and gear and bearing wear may occur along with shortened seal life. Synthetic oils have been used successfully in operations up to 225° F, but are more expensive than mineral oils.

High temperatures resulting in tooth surface damage and oil degradation. Most manufacturers offer cooling packages such as shaft-driven fans, electric-motor-driven fans or heat exchangers to keep gearboxes running at lower temperatures.


Each machine fault generates a specific vibration profile, and a single vibration measurement provides information concerning multiple components. The frequency of the vibration is determined by the machine geometry and operating speed. By analyzing shaft vibration,  machine fault is detected as due to the imbalance, misalignment, general looseness or wear, bearing defects, gear defects, or some other unforeseen problem.



Abnormal sounds alarm that something is wrong with the gearbox. An increased sound level may indicate worn or damaged gears and bearings. Knocks can be the result of broken teeth or bearings. Rattles may be caused by loose fasteners or high vibration.





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