Wrong Gear Lubricant
All types of machinery require lubrication, but any lubricant expert would say over and over, the requirements vary from one machine to another. Gear Lubrication must satisfy the conditions gears go through especially ones related to pressure.
Gears are used to transmit mechanical energy and torque from engines to other components. Gears, in general, are subjected to pressure and stress, however, the area where gears’ teeth interlock is where the pressure is concentrated.
A thin oil film is not sufficient to protect gears, as it is not able to withstand the pressure. To lubricate and protect the gears under such conditions, a special type of gear lubrication is used. One with special additives to withstand high loads and pressures.
- Extreme Pressure (EP) Lubricants: Extreme Pressure (EP) Lubricants are usually liquid lubricants that include special additives. When subjected to high pressure, these additives can chemically react creating a coating that prevents metal surfaces from welding together or being severely worn.
- Gear Oils: Industrial gear oils and lubricants are not designed to only withstand pressure but also manage it to help the oil stick to metal surfaces under higher loads. Using gear oils can ensure optimal lubrication as they can maintain thicker layers of oil at all times.
- Greases: In some applications where the pressure is higher, gears lubrication requires thicker lubricants and grease is used. Grease can stick to the surface better and longer and is a better option for gears rotating at low and moderate speeds.
How to choose the right lubricant for your gear?
First, you have to check the manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations. Following these guidelines can ensure better gear lubrication, longer lifespan, and enhanced protection from wear and corrosion. If it is not available, you can ask for advice from lubrication engineers.
Mixing Different Gear Oils
One of the common causes of gear oil problems is using a mixture of lubricants that does not provide proper lubrication to the gears. People in the industry mix different types of lubricants not knowing that some types of gear oils and lubricants are not meant to be mixed together.
There are strict rules to mixing lubricants, for instance: you can not mix lubricants with different grades, you must not mix oil with grease, or any two lubricants from different types. The two lubricants you mix may contain chemicals that are not compatible leading to a reverse effect and damaging the machine.
You must also keep in mind that each lubricant has a different set of additives that are included for specific machines or certain operating conditions.
When these rules are violated, there will be consequences.
Gearbox Oil Contamination
Preventing oil contamination is essential not only to gears but to any other application. Gear lubricants can get contaminated due to bad storing, or damaged seals. Keep in mind that if the seal is damaged enough to leak oil, it can also allow particles to enter from the outside and contaminate the oil.
All the dust, dirt, and moisture will blend into the oil leading to a loss in its effectiveness. The result will appear eventually as damage to the gears.
It is easy to prevent contamination simply with constant maintenance. Schedule regular checks for the gear oil, and the seals, monitor the oil conditions from different places of the machine and you can ensure optimal lubrication and clean oil. It is possible to schedule them along with the oil changes to ensure optimal gear performance that is uncompromised by contamination.
Lack of Lubrication
Without lubrication, friction increases in the system, in turn, we will have more heat, micro welding, and eventually total failure of the machine. Gears may be subjected to a lack of lubrication for multiple reasons like the absence of regular maintenance.
It is essential to keep an eye on the gearbox and monitor the levels of oils and lubricants ensuring gears are always lubricated sufficiently. The biggest mistake is to say that is okay, and the performance is not affected. The damage will be more noticeable later, and the cost of repairing will be higher then.
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