Every large factory contains a number of gear boxes and there may be several large reduction units with specially designed and somewhat complicated lubricating systems. Their correct maintenance is as important as any other piece of mechanism but frequently, because they are presumed to run trouble‐free for many years, they receive little attention. If correctly maintained, the life of gear units can exceed that of most other items of plant, but sometimes wear does take place before it should, and it is often very difficult to pin the cause down to hard facts. It is the purpose of these articles to help the Lubrication and Plant Engineer to diagnose gear failures that are caused, or helped, by imperfect lubrication. It is essential, first, to know something of the work that the lubricant must do, its properties and methods of application. The first article, therefore, deals here with duties and properties whilst the second will illustrate some typical methods of application. The third will deal with the recommendations for lubricants issued by various gear makers and the reader should then be in a position to assess the reasons for gear failures, several of which will be discussed and illustrated in the final section of this series.
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