Is it true that it won't matter much who fixes the gearbox?

Last updated: 2 Feb 2024
Is it true that it won't matter much who fixes the gearbox?

Is it true that it won't matter much who fixes the gearbox?

As this is my first article of 2023, I'd want to take a moment to wish all of my readers a very happy new year before diving into today's story. I hope that this year brings everyone the finest of health and pleasure.

Nong Pink here, with another case study for you to read. The "Case Study" series are based on real-life experiences our team has had with customers. Aside from being a fun read, I think this could be a useful guide that, with a few tweaks here and there, could help you prevent incidents with your cooling towers.

We discussed a FillPack case study the last time we met.

Today, Nong Pink presents a case study on Cooling Tower Gear, also known as a gearbox by some. To clarify, we will use the term gearbox in this article.

A gearbox is an internal part of a cooling tower that slows down the motor, reverses the rotation of the motor axis, and drives the Cooling Tower Fan.

The setting for today's case study is a power plant. This customer called to report that the gearbox they had just overhauled three months ago had suddenly stopped working. It looks like every gear tooth is busted. Production at their factory has halted. They wanted to get it fixed as soon as possible

The customer continued by saying that they had been unable to get in touch with the responsible company for about two months. And when they finally did get in touch with them, they learned that the responsible company they trusted sent their gearbox to a non-standard facility for overhaul.

Picture of the damage gear

The cooling tower is an essential component in the process through which the power is generated. Think about the amount of money that would be lost if the cooling tower at the power plant stopped working.

If you're wondering if we have the ability to diagnose a failing gearbox on our own, here's the answer:

Noise, vibration, and a change in the color or quality of the box gear oil are the earliest warning indications of a failing gearbox. In fact, I suggested you seek the assistance of trained professionals in order to get a more precise diagnosis of the issue at hand. Some problems can become much larger if left unchecked for too long.

Another interesting fact that Nong Pink learned is that 90% of clients who come to Innovek with cooling tower troubles have a problem with the gearbox. Most cases of gearbox failure are already well past the point of repair. We were unable to utilize the gearbox again because of how badly it was broken.

In some cases, for example, we discovered that the wrong gear box seal cover was being utilized, which blocked oil from lubricating the gears and caused the gears to grind against each other. Some cases were worse, we noticed that the seal cover is installed backwards.

Some cases are more problematic, such as when the incorrect type of shim is used to adjust the gearbox clearance, causing the gap adjustment value to cause the engagement of the gearbox gear teeth in each position, such as low speed or high speed shafts engaging in incorrect locations. When used, it creates issues and damage to the gearbox teeth.

Note* SHIM is a sheet composed of steel or brass or other materials that can be created in a variety of shapes depending on the nature of use. SHIM is a leveling aid. Alternatively, adjust the distance of the material or workpiece such that there is no gap or it is not too far apart.
For this reason, having a professional repair shop work on the gearbox is highly recommended. Simply said, their experts have been trained by the manufacturer and can be trusted. Certain protocols need to be observed. You can trust that your gearbox will be handled with care.

Obviously, the cost of repairs will increase if you opt to use specialists that have undergone manufacturer-specific training and have been awarded the manufacturer's standard. But, do you think it's worth it in exchange for what you'll get?

A properly overhauled gearbox can be used for at least another 7-10 years on average. But, as in today's article, the gearbox that had been overhauled for less than three months was already broken. Mr. Blue stated that if the gearbox is damaged at this level, the technician will recommend that the customer purchase a new gearbox. However, if the customer does not want to purchase a new one, the technician will have to spray and mask practically every place, which will incur costs and cannot ensure a long service life.

I hope the readers find today's case study article useful. It doesn't have to be much, but if it's just a little helpful to my reader. I'll be very happy.

Contact Innovek at for a no-cost consultation if you have any cooling-tower-related queries or would like assistance with a project to improve cooling-tower efficiency.

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Innovek Asia is Thailand's most successful cooling tower manufacturer, with global standards. Our solid reputation in the cooling tower industry as a full-service provider. There is a team with over 15 years of experience and skill in products and services, providing services ranging from design to installation, including cooling tower inspection and maintenance.

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