08 Oct 2021

Six Important Tips on Gearbox Maintenance

Year after year, brands like Sumitomo Drive Technologies and others in the power transmission industry provide innovative technologies and solutions to help plant operators minimize downtime and get optimum performance from their industrial gearmotors and reducers. Read these six steps we recommend including in your routine maintenance plan.

These suggestions will assist any plant maintenance team get the best performance and working life out of each industrial gearbox:


1. How Does it Look?

Make regular visual inspections of the installed gearboxes. Inspect them for oil leaks on the input and output shafts and any paint discoloration, indicating that the unit may be overheating. Listen closely to the gearbox and monitor for excessive vibration.


2. How Clean Is It?

Strive to keep your units as clean as possible. Dust and dirt covering a gearbox sometimes lead to overheating, so regular cleanings are recommended.


3. Are the Oil Levels Right?

Remembering your unit's routine lubrication schedule is essential. Just guessing when your gearbox or speed reducer needs oil maintenance is a serious gamble. You can obtain this information from the gearbox manufacturer, and it's usually included in the Operating Manual. You or your maintenance team should also ensure that you're using the proper lubricant with the correct additives for your application and consult the manufacturer or your distributor if there is any ambiguity. If lubrication maintenance seems to be a constant issue in your plant, Sumitomo offers maintenance-free options. Our Aftermarket Operations Manager, Scott Arnett explains all you need to know about proper lubrication in this blog.


4. How Hot Is Your Box?

Monitor the gearbox temperature with an infrared gun and note any sudden changes that will almost certainly indicate a problem. For instance, overheating could be occurring because you are using a lubricant with the wrong viscosity for your particular gearbox operations. A usual cause of overheating is the friction produced by an imbalance between lubricant and viscosity levels.


5. What Do You Hear?

Regular vibration analysis is critical in a noisy environment that would prevent it from being heard. Monitor vibration of the bearings and internal gears. An increase in vibration is a sure sign of imminent problems.


6. Is It Time to Move On?

As time goes on, the demands on the gearbox may have modified since it was initially designed. Check the gearbox ratings and ensure that it is operating within the manufacturer's specifications and power input. If it's time to design and install a newer, more efficient gearbox--download our Gearbox Replacement Guide. It's an essential document to review before making the jump.


Unexpected gearbox failure and the thousands of Pounds lost in downtime many times can be avoided with proper maintenance. Are you feeling stressed out already? It's always worth remembering that planned maintenance can be easier with gearbox accessories like our CycloSmart®. The CycloSmart monitoring system provides predictive maintenance by notifying you—via local ethernet or broadcast—if your machine needs attention. By following the tips above and your manufacturer's operation and maintenance manual, you'll be in the clear.


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