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MAINTENANCE OF MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT

For high operating temperatures, good resistance to oxidation is needed. For low temperatures, an oil having a low pour point to meet the lowest temperature expected is needed. When the operating temperature varies over a wide range, an oil having a high viscosity index is desirable. When the gears are subject to heavy shock or impact loading or when the unit is subject to extremely heavy duty, an extreme-pressure (EP) lubricant should be used. The EP lubricant must meet the general specifications listed above for straight mineral oil. For severe conditions, synthetic lubricants offer higher viscosity index and extended temperature operating range. All lubricants should meet the recommendations of the gear manufacturer. The viscosity of the EP lubricant should be approximately the same as that of the recommended AGMA lubricants given in Tables 9.5 and 9.6. On many types of gear-drive units, pressure fittings are supplied for the application of grease to bearings that are shielded from the oil. Sufficient grease to form a film over the rollers and races of the bearing is all that is actually required for lubrication of roller bearings; however, ample reservoir space for grease is usually provided. Gear-drive units are usually shipped from the factory with grease applied. Bearings and seals should be lubricated at definite intervals. Study will be required to determine how frequently this should be done for a particular operation to ensure a proper supply of lubricant to the bearing and seal areas. Many greases are suitable as lubricants for bearings and seals in gear-drive units. The grease should be high-quality, nonseparating, ball-bearing grade suitable for the operating temperature. The lubricant should not be corrosive to gears or to ball or roller bearings; must be neutral in reaction; should have no grit, abrasive, or fillers present; should not precipitate sediment; should not separate at temperatures up to 300F; and should have moisture-resisting characteristics. The lubricant must have good resistance to oxidation. Every precaution should be taken to prevent any foreign matter from entering the gear case. Sludge is caused by dust, dirt, moisture, and chemical fumes. These are the biggest enemies of proper and adequate lubrication in gear-drive units.

Good Maintenance Practice During normal periods of operation, gear-drive units should be given daily routine inspection, consisting of visual inspection and observation for oil leaks or unusual noises. If oil leaks are evident, the unit should be shut down, the cause of the leakage corrected, and the oil level checked. If any unusual noises occur, the unit should be shut down until the cause of the noise has been determined and corrected. Check all oil levels at least once a week. The operating temperature of the gear-drive unit is the temperature of the oil inside the case. Under normal conditions, the maximum operating temperature should not exceed 180F. Generally, pressure-lubricated units are equipped with a filter which should be cleaned periodically.

Shutdown If it becomes necessary to shut down the unit for a period longer than 1 week, the unit should be run at least 10 min each week while it is idle. This short operation will keep the gears and bearings coated with oil and help prevent rusting due to condensation of moisture resulting from temperature changes.

Troubleshooting Gears Someone has observed that gears wear out until they wear inand then they never wear out. The AGMA describes this phenomenon more precisely as follows:
It is the usual experience with a set of gears in a gear unitassuming proper design, manufacture, application, installation, and operationthat there will be an initial running-in period during which, if