Philadelphia Gear saves major chemical company hundreds of thousands of dollars with creative gear drive solution
In many instances, Philadelphia Gear’s technical expertise and repair skill can have a ripple effect that impacts people’s lives everywhere. We recently talked to an industry leader at Philadelphia Gear, with over three decades of experience as a machinist, about a recent successful re-engineering and gearbox repair job that excelled in the speed of delivery, the range of the repair services, and the time and cost savings for the client.
The Primary Gearbox Repair Challenge
A major chemical company located in the Midwest region contacted Philadelphia Gear to address a failure in their extruder gearboxes. These extruders are part of a critical process that produces pellets sold to automotive manufacturing plants that use them in spray guns to apply a protective coating on the inside of gas tanks of millions of cars on the road in the United States. This task requires demanding production schedules, often leading workers to push and stretch the electric motors and gearboxes that run the extruding process.
Two days before a routine inspection, the electric motor and gearbox were pulled out of service from one of the extruder systems after experiencing excessive vibration. Upon visual inspection, they saw that the first roto pinion shaft completely fractured off and was lodged in the electric motor’s rotor, so they sent the unit to Philadelphia Gear’s Midwest region regional service center for emergency repair. After disassembly and further inspection, they discovered the following additional damage:
- The 2nd roto shaft showed signs of wear, and excessive heat blackened the spline teeth and end journal
- Debris from bearings was found in the bottom of the gearbox
- The first intermediate bearing (on the low-speed end) was pitted on the rollers and inside the outer race
Gearbox Repair: Good Planning Saves the Customer Time and Money
Before the equipment failure, the customer had already developed a strong working relationship with the Philadelphia Gear Midwest team. In the course of servicing a few of their other extruder gearboxes, they found the same shaft problem across their whole line of non-Philadelphia Gear brand gearboxes they had in service. To correct the issue and save the customer the cost and time of replacing all the gearboxes, Philadelphia Gear engineers developed a set of re-engineered and upgraded low-speed shafts as spares for when they inevitably would fail during heavy operation. They designed them to be more durable and handle the increased torque loads that ultimately led the old sets to sheer off. This good planning paid off as it significantly cut down the lead time that would’ve been required to machine two new replacement shafts or replace the entire gearbox.