Gearbox Lubrication

Gearbox Lubrication

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The number one cause of failure in any mechanical application is contamination. Every industrial plant has a sizeable investment in both its equipment and the lubricant that is purchased to protect that equipment, so it only makes sense to protect these assets. A good lubrication reliability program in place to prevent contamination will protect the equipment and the lubricant, which in turn will eliminate or greatly reduce unscheduled downtime as well as increase profits. Some of the common suffering points for gearbox applications are oil foaming, overheating, and emulsification – all caused or aggravated by use of the wrong oil for the application; and contaminant ingression that leads to lubricant failure andmechanical wear. All of these suffering points can be solved by implementing the following six lubrication reliability best practices for gearboxes.

Best Practices for Gearboxes

  1. Install desiccant breather
  2. Install sight glass
  3. Select and use the right high-performancegear oil for the application
  4. Implement oil analysis
  5. Filter to 17/16/13 cleanliness code
  6. Implement color-coding & tagging
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Enclosed Gear Oil at a Glance Chart

At LE, we implemented these six best practices on our own gearboxes. Prior to that, the LE maintenance team was changing the oil in all of its gearboxes every year, regardless of need – an expensive and time-consuming task. Since we implemented these six solutions more than eight years ago, we have not changed our oil a single time, and we have had no lubrication-related downtime. In fact, the oil is nearly ageless, providing the same asset protection today as the day it was added. This has significantly reduced our maintenance, repair and lubricant costs, and freed up our maintenance team toengage in more proactive reliability activities. Read the full testimonial here.








Identify Suffering Points

Move forward with LE’s proven solutions for extending gearbox life.

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Oil Foaming, Overheating & Emulsification
Some gear oils foam and lose performance in the presence of moisture. Some gear oils are not able to maintain film strength when subjected to heavy loads, air or high temperatures. In this way, inferior or incorrect gear oil can lead to unnecessary wear and unplanned downtime. While OEMs recommend the viscosity and whether an EP package is needed, other important performance properties are often ignored. Thermal stability, oxidation resistance, demulsibility, resistance to foaming, friction reduction, shear stability, tackiness, and film strength stability are all critical factors for gear oils.

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LE Solution:
Work with your local LE lubrication consultant to choose the high-performance gear oil best suited to your application. LE gear oils are designed to combat the effects of high temperatures, water, contaminants and heavy loads.


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Xclude Breather

Contaminant Ingression
Gearboxes, pumps and reservoirs have to “breathe” when the air expands and contracts, as well as when incoming fluid displaces air. Each time a unit breathes in air, it brings with it all sorts of small debris and moisture. This can be damaging to the lubricant and to the equipment. Water-contaminated oil can lead to additive stripping, and eventually the water can cause corrosion and rust. Particulates as small as three microns (the diameter of a single human hair is 40 microns) can cause machine abrasion. All of this can lead to costly repairs.

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LE Solution:
Use Xclude™ Desiccant breathers to stop water and particulates from contaminating the lubricant in the first place. From the time oil enters your facility to the end of its useful life, protecting it with breathers will extend the life of the oil and the equipment, decrease downtime, and provide significant cost savings. Desiccant breathers use filter media toremove particles and a silica-gel desiccant to remove moisture from the air entering the oil.


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Lubricant Contamination
The presence of solid particulates and water deteriorates the ability of the lubricant to properly protect the equipment. When lubricating fluids become contaminated, it may be necessary to dispose of the fluids and replace with new oil. Many maintenance operators base this replacement on a routine interval-based approach.

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LE Solution:
Routinely filtering the oil is a simple, proven and effective way to extend the life of the oil and to protect the equipment. Understanding, achieving and maintaining the right ISO cleanliness standard for gearbox applications can extend the life of the oil by two to three times.


Lubrication Engineers can help put together a lubrication reliability program for your gearbox applications to help them last longer, eliminating downtime and reducing maintenance costs. Our certified lubrication experts can be onsite to help put together a program that will bring lubrication excellence to your operation. Get started by finding your local LE consultant or registering to purchase online.



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