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.
Man hours related to the repair and maintenance of these 500 gearboxes was estimated to be a minimum of 1,000 hours annually, with a rough estimate of $40.00 per man hour. Production line downtime exceeded 1,000 hours due to maintenance or repair of the gearboxes. When the production lines went down, the lost time was estimated at being worth $500 per hour in produced goods.
Armed with these numbers, the Corporate Maintenance Manager attended training on contamination control. He heard how desiccant breathers were considered the “First Line of Defense” in contamination control and how they could help to eliminate contamination in gearboxes by blocking water and dirt before it ingresses into the lubricants inside the the gearbox.
Air Sentry® conducted a “Contamination Control Plant Survey” (CCPS) at each of their 15 plants and provided documentation about each piece of equipment. Once the CCPS was performed, Air Sentry® reviewed the equipment needs and requirements and provided recommendations. These recommendations suggested how to begin best practices and eliminate contamination.
The actual measured savings on gearboxes varies depending on your cost of lubricants, man-hours and downtime. In this study, the lubricant cost the customer, on average, $14.00 per gallon. The average gearbox held approximately 10 gallons. The number of gearboxes was a combined 500. They were changing the oil out every 6 months to stay ahead of the downtime curve. The average cost per man- hour was $40.00. The production line down time cost averaged $500 per hour. The estimated down time averaged 1 hour per oil change at 500 dollars per hour minimum downtime for 500 gearboxes twice annually.
• Conduct plant survey to determine equipment needs and requirements
• Extend fluid and equipment life
• Reduce maintenance costs
• Improve system reliability
• Reduced gearbox failures by 50%
• Extended gearbox oil life by 50%
• Reduced gearbox maintenance expenses by 50%
• Saved 500 man-hours related to downtime
Gallagher is your distributor of Air Sentry® products.. Contamination control is an important aspect of any proactive maintenance and reliability program. One research group found that greater than 75% of all machine wear related failures were due to particulate contaminants.
Contact Gallagher today to find out how Air Sentry® products can be implemented in your processes to protect your machinery.