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Online gear monitor combines oil and vibration analysis

03 July, 2010

Schaeffler has developed an integrated oil and vibration monitoring system that allows early detection of damage to oil-lubricated gears, thus helping to avoid downtime and cutting MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) costs.

The FAG wear debris monitor (shown above) is an online condition monitoring system that can pinpoint the location of damage or wear to gears, bearings and cages.

The oil monitor uses an inductive particle counter that can distinguish between ferrous and non-ferrous metal particles present in the lubricating oil. It is installed in the oil flow, before the oil filter, or as a separate circuit. It operates on the principle that wear to components such as bearings or gear teeth results in small metal particles being rubbed off into the oil, often several months before a failure occurs. The sensor provides information on the number of particles present in the oil and classifies them according to size.
The instrument also monitors the vibration behaviour of a machine and its components, including rolling bearings and gear wheels. It detects changes that indicate early signs of damage.

According to Schaeffler, the combination of oil and vibration monitoring gives earlier warning signs of gear damage than if either is used by itself. The monitor can be integrated with other online condition monitoring systems.

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