A foundry realizes $10,000 savings plus elimination of unscheduled downtime at $50,000 per day with analytical ferrograhpy.

These are pictures of a failed 85B Mullor Gearcase.  The Mullor Gearbox was installed in July 2002. After approximately 900 hours of operation, the unit developed a “klunking” noise.

Figure 1. Low Alloy Steel Gear and Bearing Wear Particles by Analytical Ferrography

Low Alloy Steel Gear and Bearing Wear Particles

Figure 2. Copper Alloy Metal Bearing Wear Particles by Analytical Ferrography

Copper Alloy Metal Bearing Wear Particles

An oil sample was sent to Trico on October 31, 2002 for analysis. This revealed the generation of extremely large gear and bearing wear particles. The inspection of the unit revealed a pinion gear starting
to disintegrate. The oil was drained from the unit and all the debris was thoroughly flushed from the gearcase.  The unit was then filled with new oil. Operation resumed under close watch until a replacement gearcase was secured and installed.

Close-Up of Disintegrating Gear

Close-Up of Disintegrating Gear

This timely identification prevented the unexpected breakdown of the entire unit, by requiring the replacement of only the single gear. Without this analysis, the unit would have continued operation until total failure.

The cost of replacing the gear was $1,500.  If collateral damage had occurred, then the cost to replace the entire unit would have been  $10,000. Unscheduled down time was estimated at $50,000 per day.  As a result, any down time during the two weeks needed to schedule repairs would have greatly affected production.

The customer has initiated monthly analysis of this unit to more closely monitor its operation.



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