Gears are one of the most fundamental components of any operation – they literally keep the equipment turning. Gears are found in virtually every industry, from gear mills in mining to open gears in construction applications to gearboxes used in steel, general manufacturing, oil and gas and many other industries.
Keeping gears in good working condition is paramount to success. Any downtime can result in significant productivity loss and costs, depending on the application. A gear mill, for example, can lead to millions of dollars of costs through downtime and part replacement/installation.
To avoid these scenarios, operators need to be able to look for early signs of gear wear so that corrective action can be taken. This two part series will help operators manage this challenge by examining the different types of gears available, common wear and failure modes, gear inspections and the different types of lubricants used.
Gear wear pattern basics
There are eight common gear designs, which all fall into two types of categories:
The choice in gear design is governed by application. What all gears have in common is how wear and failure manifests during operation. Wear, for example, is typically caused by repeated stresses, metal-to-metal contact and abrasive influence – regardless of gear type.
Let us first examine contact-related wear. These wear modes include:
Now let’s look at wear caused by repeated bending stress. These wear modes include:
The following figures show what some of these wear modes look like:
Now that you have a foundational understanding of gear wear modes and how they look, we’ll tackle gear inspections and lubrication basics in our next post in this series.
I hope today’s read was educational, and please “Like” the post if you enjoyed it or ask me any questions you may have in the comments section below.
Excellent Rick, very thorough.