Tag Archives: Fast-Failing Gearbox

How to Spot a Fast-Failing Gearbox

Like most things in life, the heavy machinery found all over the busy factory floor will give its own unique signs when and where something is wrong. What’s more, also like most things in life preventative medicine is far preferable to cure, which is why it’s crucial to know what these warning signs are in order to be able to identify them and summarily put measures in place to correct what’s wrong.


This is especially true when it comes to industrial gearboxes as these can be some of the most spectacularly expensive pieces of machinery to invest in and are so incredibly crucial for daily operations. A faulty or broken gearbox can mean the inability to do business until it is replaced, which depending on the severity of the situation could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.


Gearboxes show signs of wear and tear.

Image source: http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4130/5177365165_9a1a2bdd9f.jpg


Repairs on the other hand can be handled in less than a week, which is again why it’s crucial to know how to identify problems and head them off. So, if the idea of paying 50% less to source a repair rather than a replacement sounds like just the ticket to you, here’s a look at a few of the signs you should be watching out for:


Excessive Noise

Even if your gearbox isn’t what you’d call the quietest thing in the world anyway, you should be able to tell when and where it is starting to get louder than it should be. When noise gets louder in any piece of machinery, it’s a sure-fire sign that something is wrong and a repair of some description is needed. Chances are the noise will be caused by excessive friction, which in turn means that something inside is being worn and ground away – get it looked at sooner rather than later.


Unusual Noise

And in the very same vein, you will be used to the kind of noise your gearbox has always made and made when it was first installed, so you should be able to tell when this starts getting a little unusual. If the pitch changes, you note any kind of knocking sound or pretty much anything else jumps out at you in terms of operational noise, it’s time to get the thing professionally looked at.



There is never a positive reason why any piece of machinery should start excessively heating up or in any way running hotter than it did when it was brand new. Needless to say, the two biggest causes of excess heat are friction and electrical problems – both of which can turn into something very serious if left unaddressed. As such, any overheating at all should be treated as a very serious problem and addressed immediately with a professional inspection.


Unusual Smells

Of course you don’t have to go around trying to literally sniff out any and all problems your machines pose, but at the same time it’s crucial to be fully aware of any particularly strong or in any way unusual smells that come out of the gearbox you’re using. Again, there’s really never anything close to a positive reason why a gearbox should start smelling strange when in use, so chances are it’s of the utmost importance to get beneath the surface and find out what’s going on.


Poor Performance

Some simply accept that over time their gearboxes will not work quite as well as they did when they were brand new. In reality however, there’s nothing to say that a gearbox cannot keep working every bit as good as it did when it was fresh from the factory right up until its dying days. Any changes in performance should be interpreted not as the norm, but as problems that can and should be addressed as quickly as possible to extend the life of the gearbox as a whole. To ignore these minor changes in performance is to allow them to manifest and grow, which will eventually mean a dead and buried gearbox put to rest before its time.