Solutions in Motion™

    What are the Gearbox Options for Food-Grade Grease?

    Posted by Troy Branham on May 18 ,2017

    AdobeStock_100573034For some industrial applications, gearbox design has to consider more than the functionality of the gears themselves. The gearbox may have to withstand particularly harsh or wet operating conditions. Or it may have to operate in a sterile environment. Or it may have to be lubricated with food-grade grease. In some cases, all of these factors apply.

    Why would I need food-grade grease?

    Sanitation is everything in industries such as food and beverage processing as well as medical equipment and pharmaceuticals manufacturing. Maintaining a sterile environment is critical to avoid contamination. But machinery needs lubrication in order to function. Both the products being processed and the industrial equipment itself must be protected from contaminants.

    H1-grade lubricants must be used in any production environment where the grease could come in contact with food or pharmaceuticals being produced. Even when there is “no possibility” of contact, food and drug regulations require the use of H2-grade lubricants. These lubricants meet the same technical standards as other types of grease, ensuring reliable gearbox performance.

    The Need for Food Grade Grease Doesn’t Limit Your Options

    A sealed gearbox keeps lubricant in and potential contaminants out, without risk of leakage or infiltration of particles such as dust from corn milling. But, the gearbox also has to withstand repeated spray, steam, and pressure from washdown operations.

    W.C. Branham makes numerous models of washdown right angle gearboxes with 1-to-1 ratio, 2.5-inch bore center distance, and a wide variety of bore size and configuration options. They use our Food-Grade USSDA H1 rated Continuous Recirculating Lubricant (CRLTM) system that makes them ideal for continuous duty and high cycle applications.

    Our washdown gearboxes are also sealed and leak-proof to not only accommodate food-grade grease but operate safely and reliably in wet, hostile, or sterile environments. Because the gearcase is self-contained — fully sealed and leak-proof — positive lubrication is maintained continuously. All of these right angle gearboxes can be spec’d with right- or left-hand rotation.

    Sometimes, Stainless Steel is the Best Choice

    It won’t rust. It resists corrosion. There is no paint to chip off. Traditional cast iron and epoxy-painted gearboxes do not hold up under the harsh conditions of food and pharma processing environments — ongoing exposure to water, acids, oils, harsh chemicals, abrasion, and high-pressure washing down.

    Stainless steel has smooth surfaces that won’t trap moisture, particles, or bacteria. It is highly resistant to both acid and alkaline solutions, including chlorine. And its durability is unsurpassed, enabling it to withstand extreme washdown water temperatures and pressure. Because it is virtually maintenance-free, it is a cost-effective choice over the life of the product, too.

    Stainless steel also looks “clean.” While this isn’t generally a key factor in right angle gearbox design, aesthetics definitely matter in environments where outside visitors or inspections regularly occur. Meat packing, for instance. Bright, shiny stainless steel makes a good impression, whereas equipment that needs re-painting or a new powder coating can make the entire facility seem sub-standard.

    W.C Branham offers the broadest selection of stainless steel right-angle gearboxes on the market. Our stainless steel models are available in multiple configurations, with a variety of bore sizes and many more bore center distance options, including 1-inch center distance. And, of course, they all accommodate food-grade lubricant.

    Unusual Specs? Give us a Call

    Simply adding food grade grease to any gearbox cannot achieve the performance and protection levels required for certain applications. It takes the right gear design, superior materials and workmanship, and food-grade lubricant to ensure safe, cost-effective operations. This is why W.C. Branham offers so many choices.

    Still, we know your gearbox application may have to address unique challenges. We’re always happy to answer your design questions and provide guidance on choosing stainless steel or other gearboxes. And if your application requires custom design, that’s one of our specialties. So, give us a call and let’s talk gearboxes. We are also happy to provide 3D STEP CAD files for any of our products.

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    Topics: Right Angle Gearbox