In any complex mechanical machine, all of the parts represent a chance for failure if they are not designed or maintained properly. Sometimes the simplest parts get overlooked. A right angle gearbox needs less attention than many more complex parts, but it still can bind, grind or fail if it does not have the proper lubrication. Here are five common right angle gear drive lubrication options for proper installation and maintenance depending on your particular operating conditions.
1. Gearing Type
The internal speeds of your right angle gearbox vary with the type of gears operating in them. Each requires a different type of lubricant in order to perform properly. Spur and bevel gears use a low speed and low slide lubricant. Helical or spiral bevel gears are medium slide and medium speed. Worn gears always operate with high or excessive sliding, with very high loads.
The manufacturer will usually recommend the proper lubrication for the type of gears in the right angle gearbox for normal loads.
If you are running your right angle gear box with high loads, you will need a high-performance lubricant. It is important to have a high-pressure industrial oil, preferably synthetic, in order to maintain viscosity and proper lubrication. High loads create high temperatures, so a high flash point is essential for safety as well as proper wear in high load applications.
3. Gear Speed
Higher speed operation requires low viscosity lubricants. If you are operating your right angle gear box at consistently higher speeds, an oil which is too thick will increase drag and temperature, creating a potentially dangerous situation. Low viscosity lubricants are recommended for all applications with right angle gear drives that operate at very high speeds.
4. Materials Compatibility
Particularly in the case of high-pressure applications, it is critical to be sure that the additives in the lubricant are not corrosive to the gears themselves. This is particularly true for bronze gears, but some high-temperature additives can be corrosive even with unhardened steel. It is vital that you check to make sure you have proper compatibility before lubricating your right angle gearbox.
5. Ambient Temperature
If the application is outdoors you may have to adjust the viscosity to match the conditions. Cold climates require a lower viscosity oil for proper lubrication to avoid excessive internal loss and wear. Hot climates require a thinner oil, which will not build up heat.
In all cases, maintenance of your right angle gearbox with the proper lubrication is absolutely essential. A regular schedule along with the other parts of your equipment can save you from breakdowns when you least expect them. Be sure to always drain out the old oil completely when the right angle gearbox is warm and do not use solvents to finish the job. Check the old oil for signs of discoloration or burning, which may be a sign you need to consider a different lubricant.
With the right lubrication and maintenance schedule, your right angle gearbox can run for many years without costly breakdowns during regular operation.