What to Know About Gear Tooth Failure
Did you know that proper machine maintenance can save your business hundreds of hours of downtime? On average companies spend over 800 hours waiting for part inspection and replacement. With that in mind, you may wonder how you can improve your machine maintenance.
A great place to start is to understand how gear tooth failure works. Identifying how your parts fail assists in the analysis process and help you determine an appropriate solution. Continue reading to learn more about the types of gear failure and what to do about it.
Types of Gear Failure
Regardless of the types of gears your machines use, you’ll find them fail and need replacement. Damaged gears can affect the operation of your business in various ways, and it is important to recognize the different types of gear failures. Some instances in which your parts can fail include:
- tooth bending fatigue
- macropitting and micropitting
- general wear
Consistent load on the gear tooth causes it to stress and crack. The crack propagates until it finally fractures. You can view these cracks develop across the width of the tooth.
One of the more common failures is pitting. It is often seen in cams, bearings, rollers, and other parts using lubricating film. These look like craters of various sizes that develop from cyclical contact stress.
When parts don’t fracture in these ways, they will wear from overuse. Other parts may develop scuffing from heavy loads. When your parts begin to fail, it is important to have them inspected to keep your machines running properly.
Inspecting Damage to Gears
As soon as gear failure is spotted, you should have an inspector come out and analyze it. In some cases, machines can postpone inspection when properly monitored. Inevitably, the parts need to receive an inspection to discover the cause and act accordingly.
Before the inspection, the engineer will do a visual examination. This includes the condition of seals and gear tooth contact patterns. Once the visual examination is finished, the engineer will disassemble the gearbox and inspect the bearings.
When the analysis is finished, the engineer will document their findings. This includes gear geometry and lubricant specimen tests. When everything is recorded, the engineer can begin to determine the cause of failure and recommend a solution.
Replacing Failing Gears
When inspections come back and the cause of failure is identified, you may consider updating your gears. In the case that your old gear won’t work anymore, think about different types of gears that work with your machines. In recent history, non-metallic gears solve traditional failure issues.
It is being proven that polymer gears are self-lubricating, silent, and easy to maintain. Not only are they naturally resistant to pitting, but they improve the quality and efficiency of your machines. You can expect polymer gears to last longer and cost less in maintenance.
More on Gear Tooth Maintenance
Understanding how gear tooth failure affects the process of your business helps you determine the proper operating procedure going forward.
However, knowing when to replace failing gears is only one way to improve your business. For more industry secrets, check out our Business section.