Selecting the Best Gearbox Oil

How to Select the Best Oil for Your Gearbox

How can customers avoid oil issues in their gearbox? In this part of STOBER’s Power Tips, we’ll explain why difference matters when it comes to oil and guide you through selecting the best gearbox oil.

Oil is one of the most vital parts of a gearbox, yet many manufacturers treat it as an afterthought. Leaking gearboxes are a maintenance nightmare – especially in food or beverage applications.

Here are five questions to ask about oil when selecting the best gearbox oil:

1. What tests are done on the oil?

Most oil companies will perform a Flender Test to determine if antifoaming additives are needed. As the gearbox runs and the oil expands, pressure builds up inside the unit. If the unit cannot compensate for thermal expansion, the user must ventilate the gearbox. The oil should be tested to see if it is compatible with bearings and seals. Oil can harden the seal material and cause leaks between the seal and gearbox shaft.

2. Who controls the oil composition?

Oil manufacturers should be responsible for the composition. They use a base oil and then insert their own additives to it. Ask if the gearbox manufacturer makes any changes to the oil and if it is rated for the intended application.

3. What is the oil’s composition?

There are many application considerations that should be accounted for in an oil’s composition. Some applications may need extreme pressure additives, oxidation stabilizers, corrosion protection, or friction and wear reducing characteristics to avoid premature failure.

4. What type of oil do I need for my application?

Mineral oils are suitable for most applications. Synthetic oils generally have a wider operating temperature and oxidation rate. They can be formulated for specific applications such as Food and Beverage.

Synthetic lubrication can have an increased life expectancy over mineral oil. Make sure to also consider the oil’s viscosity, operating temperature, oxidation rates, and application requirements during selection.

5. How is the oil filtered?

Potentially, some contaminants remain after parts are machined and washed. Metal shavings can float in the oil and reach the seals, damaging them and causing potential leaks. Some companies use magnetic oil plugs to extract these contaminants from the oil.

The Type Of Oil Used In A Gearbox Is Important

When making a gearbox purchase decision, oil is a seemingly small detail but can make a huge difference in your gearbox’s life.

STOBER knows differences matter, which is why we evaluate our lubrication thoroughly. Our Exxon Mobil lubrication has undergone substantial testing and analysis to ensure we can handle your application requirements. Our oil plugs use neodymium magnets, removing any contaminants. Don’t let oil be an afterthought.

Check out our free download to see why oil differences matter.

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– Steve Nelson, Machine Tool Research, Rochester, NY