Gearboxes are used on various types of industrial machinery to provide increased torque while reducing speed from one type of rotating power source to another using gear ratios. A gearbox can be set up to do the opposite and provide an increase in speed with a reduction of torque. Some of the simplest gearboxes merely change the physical direction in which power is transmitted.
Gearboxes are used in many applications, such as wind turbines, conveyors, draglines, bridges, wastewater treatment pumping systems, and many other large pieces of machinery that require a power source.
In an effort to cut costs and improve system reliability, a manufacturer of high quality construction materials examined maintenance costs of their fifteen facilities. One of the findings showed spending in excess of $650,000 annually to maintain and repair 500 gearboxes across all plants.
Gear oils were replaced every six months in an effort to reduce equipment failure and downtime due to oil degradation and contamination. In doing this, the facilities’ combined consumed petroleum and synthetic based lubricants resulted in the use of over 10,000 gallons per year, with an average of 10 gallons used per gearbox. At an average cost of $14.00 per gallon, the costs were astronomical.