Gears and gearboxes play vital roles in various industrial settings and machines. Gears also determine the amount of power that’s made available from the engine. Since gears and gearboxes operate in extreme conditions, the heat generated can be extremely overwhelming and damaging for the machines. Thus, using the right lubricant that’s suitable for such working conditions is crucial to keep gears cool, clean, and dry.

While various industrial gear lubricants are available in the market, one should know how to select the right one. Moreover, one should also understand the most common working conditions these gears face to select the appropriate lubricant.

How to Select the Right Industrial Lubricant

Since industrial lubricants play a massive role in maintaining the operational efficiency of gearboxes, the following factors should be considered while selecting the proper fluid.

1. Working Conditions Impacting Gear Lubricants 

When we refer to “harsh environments”, it does not necessarily mean high temperatures and heavier loaders. Even with regular working conditions, contaminants such as water and dust can compromise the integrity of the gear system. Regardless of regular lubricant maintenance sessions, such contaminants are bound to hamper the gears. The existing gear-driven equipment and lubricants must stand up to increasingly harsh environments.

Another essential part of this system is the size of the gearbox, which has become smaller with time. Newer gearboxes are made from lightweight materials; they are smaller, more durable, and reliable. However, they also produce more power than before. Reducing the gearbox size means the use of less amount of lubricants. At the same time, the load on these gearboxes is increasing, translating into higher temperatures and rapid oxidation.

2. Criteria for Selecting the Right Oil

One must consider several factors before choosing the proper industrial gear oil.

a. Fluid Cleanliness

Although smaller gearboxes have space confinements, they do the same amounts of work or even more than their larger predecessors. It further translates to higher speed and loaders. Since companies prefer smaller gearboxes, the system must cycle the fluids more efficiently with less time to dissipate heat, settle contaminants, or release foam. Constant friction and rolling of gears can cause extreme heat. Besides, heavier operation loads are not new in today’s industrial settings. Thus, highly viscous industrial lubricants are useless since they generate heat from internal fluid friction and consume more power.

On the contrary, less viscous fluid means less heat, minimising the possibility of exceeding recommended operating temperatures or damaging equipment. Furthermore, less viscous lubricants can flow more quickly through the filtration system, eliminating contaminants and reducing the likelihood of gears getting damaged, eventually prolonging the life of the equipment.

b. Fluid Durability

It is no surprise that industrial lubricants should be durable enough to withstand working conditions. They should also retain their performance over time. With industrial gear oils designed for extended durability, gears will perform adequately, lowering maintenance costs, reducing downtime, and maximising productivity.

c. Fluid Demulsibility

Keeping a gearbox dry may seem simple, but water can get into the system, particularly the reservoir, in various ways. Industrial gearboxes require gear oil to separate water quickly at high and low temperatures. Both components and oil can benefit from the ability to drain water rapidly from the system.

3. Types of Gear Oils

Here are some of the most commonly used industrial gear lubricants

  • Extreme pressure gear lubricants – Extreme pressure gear lubricants comprise additives that are needed in some heavily loaded gearboxes. However, these lubricants should not be used in applications that don’t specify the use of extreme pressure additives.
  • Synthetic gear lubricants – Synthetic gear oils protect against wear & sludge formation, where extreme pressure additives are not recommended.
  • Synthetic polyglycol gear lubricants – These lubricants protect various industrial applications like compressors and enclosed gears.
  • Compound gear lubricants – Compound gear lubricants are typically used with industrial worm gears that need a higher viscosity lubricant.
  • Food grade (H-1) Gear lubricants – Food grade (H-1) gear lubricants are developed for gear drives operating in the food and beverage industries.

Final Thoughts

In industrial settings, equipment downtime can hamper efficiency and lead to higher operational costs. Thus, selecting the proper lubricant is crucial. Castrol is one of the largest gear oil manufacturers, providing a wide range of industrial gear oil comprising Mineral and Synthetic gear oils enriched with MFTPD additive technology.

Castrol’s comprehensive gear oil range delivers the optimum performance required for industrial operations. If you wish to choose the best gear oil for your industrial processes, Castrol is the way to go.