Industrial Gearbox Repair

Reverse engineering, also known as back engineering, is a process that has become increasingly more popular as the technology in the industrial gearbox field advances. Previously, what was a near-impossible task has become a viable option for companies looking to replace a single part without known measurements, CAD drawings, or useable information.   

In this article, we uncover what back engineering is and discuss the industrial gearbox engineering stages followed to manufacture a new part without requiring prior information.

What is Gearbox Reverse Engineering

Gearbox reverse engineering is the process used to solve a variety of gearbox issues. The method involves deconstructing a gearbox or, on more complex occasions, deconstructing an entire assembly to make it easier to analyze the part in question. 

Reverse engineering is performed when a part cannot be replaced with a new one, as the gearbox is no longer manufactured and the technical drawings needed to create a one-off are not available. Experts, like our reverse engineering team at Houston Pump and Gear, use state-of-the-art measuring and inspection tools to determine the gear’s size, geometry, tooth count and root depth. With the correct assessment, manufacturers can create a copy of the original and damaged gear or part. Industrial gearbox reverse engineering is a much cheaper alternative to replacing an entire assembly or gearbox. 

The Industrial Gearbox Engineering Stages

Stage 1:

During this stage we evaluate the gearbox and its internal components for defects. In many cases, there may be defects within the unit that cannot be detected by a visual inspection that will cause the unit to fail. 

Stage 2:

The next stage is to analyze the industrial gearbox. This may involve taking the gearbox apart, chemically cleaning the unit and separating all the individual components to assess them individually.

Stage 3:

Here we evaluate the most critical requirements to fix the part or parts that caused the unit to fail. We’ll use scanners for smaller parts and manual measurements for larger parts to recreate the technical or CAD drawings. The damaged part is then evaluated to determine the construction of the material that was used or would be for the application.

Stage 4:

Once the proper material is identified, it is sourced and the manufacturing process can begin. The initial step is to complete preliminary machining to get the rough material to the approximate dimensions required for the part. After this initial stage, the pieces are commonly referred to as “blanks.

Stage 5:

Once the blanks are completed, the CAD drawings are used to determine exact dimensions and sizes to begin the manufacturing process. After the teeth are cut, gearsmay require different manufacturing steps. Some gears require hobbing while others may require high finish grinding to ensure the newly manufactured gear mates properly with the rest of the gear train.

Stage 6:

The final of the industrial gearbox engineering stages is the reassembly  of the gearbox. Once complete,  the gearbox can be installed back into the original production line or application.

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The Benefits of Reverse Engineering Industrial Gearbox Parts

Below are some of the benefits our clients have seen when trusting the industrial gearbox reverse engineering process to the Houston Pump & Gear team. 

Ratio Change

Reverse engineering an industrial gearbox part provides an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of that part. In some cases, modern technology can be applied to increase the torque or power of the gear and improve the overall quality and effectiveness of the unit 

Inconsistent and Noisy Output

Normal wear and tear can result in inconsistent output, causing a delay in production and output, ultimately costing money. In some cases, gears may become too noisy over time, especially when used in close proximity to humans. These can include HVAC, production lines, pumps, water systems, and more. Reverse engineering can improve the output and reduce noise by upgrading parts or using different materials. 

Cost Saving

Industrial gearbox reverse engineering allows businesses to save money on machinery while enabling production lines and operations to get up and running as soon as possible. If your production line or cooling tower has a malfunctioning gearbox, back-engineering will likely save your business a substantial amount of money. 

Industrial gearbox reverse engineering is an effective way to increase your gearbox’s effectiveness and production speed or repair a faulty part. If a gearbox drawing is no longer available to manufacture a new part, it can be resolved by back-engineering the gearbox to produce the specific part needed. At Houston Pump and Gear, we work with the best repair and overhaul methods and specialize in repairing, manufacturing, and reverse engineering gearboxes for a variety of brands including Philadelphia Gear units, Flender Limited, and Falk Gearboxes. We also offer an exchange gearbox program in which we offer you a rebuilt unit at a discounted rate in exchange for your used or inoperable gearbox if we have your exact make, model, and ratio within our inventory. Our clients are all over North America, Mexico, and Canada, so reach out if you have any gearbox queries or repairs.