How Speed Reducers Should Be Maintained
Speed reducers, which are basically the gearboxes, manage large amounts of rotational speed and churns out functional speed and torque. They go through enormous pressure while doing so, and if they are not maintained properly, they can fall apart much before what the rating says. Lubrication The primary maintenance procedure involves lubrication, as improper lubrication is generally what that causes gearbox failure. When speed reducers work, a small amount of friction occurs between different parts, and lubrication reduces the friction created by rolling and sliding of gears. Moreover, lubrication also helps dissipate heat energy by acting as a film between components. Evidently, lubrication extends the life of speed reducers by giving protection to gears and other components. Therefore, always sufficiently lubricate your gearboxes. However, lubricants for speed reducers are not standard grease; instead, they require special types of lubricants, including mineral based and synthetic, polyalkylene glycols and hydrocarbon polyalphaolefins. Choosing a right lubricant involves a number of factors, such as, viscosity index, pour point, and viscosity.
The viscosity of the lubricant should complement the ambient temperature of the speed reducer. And as the reducer functions, the lubricant should maintain an elastohydrodynamic (EHD) film between the components to dissipate the heat energy.
Oiling Toensure along life and optimum performance, it is important that a speed reducer has a sufficient amount of oil. The oil level should be at a proper level, as directed by the manufacturer. With inadequate oiling, it is widelyreported that gear and bearings fail repeatedly. Conversely, excessive oil can also take a toll on speed reducers, because more air gets trapped with churning, which leads to overheating since heat regulation ability is lost. You can get an accurate reading when speed reducer is not operating and had enough cooling time after operation.
Tips while working on new application: It is advised that when speed reducers are used for new applications, they are not operated under extra loads; almost for two weeks, operate them with new oil and under standard loads prescribed in the handbooks almost for two weeks. With this procedure, the fine particles that usually are stuck in the gear system and other additional components come loose and can be removed easily. After the two-week period, it is recommended to drain the oil with fine particles and oiled again. To make the whole operation cost effective, it is good practice to filter the oil repeatedly and use again, as disposal of oil leads to rising operation cost.
Preventive Maintenance When speed reducers work, the oil and lubricant oxidizes, this leads to formation of sludge and acids. Therefore, it is important that preventive maintenance is done diligently, which involves changing the oil and lubricating the speed reducers with appropriate lubricants periodically. The period of changing oil and lubrication varies based on the design; however, changing lubricant after every 2500 hours of operation is a good practice. However, if speed reducers are exposed to heavy loads repeatedly, change the oil and lubricant more often.