May 2017

Columns

Reliability: Understanding right-angle gear backlash

By definition, all gear units have teeth. These teeth are designed and produced to a certain strength, or a defined force-on-tooth, or an allowable pressure-load on tooth.

Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

By definition, all gear units have teeth. These teeth are designed and produced to a certain strength, or a defined force-on-tooth, or an allowable pressure-load on tooth. Unless otherwise specified, the manufacturer typically uses a factor of safety (FS) of 2:1 in the tooth design for cooling tower fan gears and similar medium-sized drives. Note: A proactive purchaser will often pre-invest in an upgraded gear box design, will insist on state-of-the-art bearing housing protector seals, and will use only a premium-grade synthetic lubricant on gear units. Oil mist is often used as a barrier to moisture intrusion. A good cooling tower fan gearbox can last 20 yr or more (Fig. 1). A good cooling

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