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Online oil monitor gives early warning of gearbox problems

25 October, 2013

Schaeffler has announced an online lubrication oil monitoring system that can provide an early warning of damage or wear to bearings, cages and gears in industrial gearboxes. The FAG Wear Debris Check system, which needs no calibration, provides plant operators with a reliable way of preventing unplanned downtime and cutting maintenance and repair costs.

The oil monitor uses an inductive particle counter, which can distinguish between ferrous and non-ferrous metal particles in the lubricating oil. It operates on the principle that any wear to a component such as a bearing or gear tooth will result in small metal particles being rubbed off into the oil, often several months before an actual failure.

On a typical gearbox application, the particle counter is installed in the oil flow, before the oil filter, or as a separate circuit. It provides information on the number of particles present in the oil, and classifies them according to their size. Analysing the oil in this way enables damage and wear to the gears to be detected earlier than usual, even in planetary gearboxes used on wind turbines.

The online oil monitor gives an early warning of impending gearbox problems

The monitor can also be used with online condition monitoring systems that monitor the vibration behaviour of a machine and its components, including rolling bearings and gear wheels. By installing vibration sensors on the machine or gearbox, changes in the operating behaviour can be detected, indicating early signs of damage. This enables the plant to start repair work or to plan scheduled maintenance to avoid costly machine failures.

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