Speed Reducer Gearbox - Oil Debris Sensor

Speed Reducer Gearbox - Oil Debris Sensor


Gill Sensors’ oil debris sensor has been installed into a leading global engineering manufacturers speed reducer gearbox to detect metallic particles directly affecting the gearbox condition.

The Challenge

The manufacturer required a reliable solution that would alert the machiney operators of potential maintenance issues before catastrophic failure occurred. The company had been using vibration monitoring techniques, which had proven insufficient in detecting faults early enough to prevent downtime.

gear breaking condition monitoring

The Solution

Gill’s debris sensor was fitted into the bottom of the reducer drain sump to measure the accumulation of circulating ferrous metallic debris to improve the mechanical failure rate and maintenance of the system.

The sensors strong internal magnet attracts ferrous particles to the sensors face. Both fine and coarse debris are detected inside the reducer’s lubrication system.

Two independent output channels are provided by the sensor, one (configured to a 2.25-4.25V output) to relay fine particle build-up and the second (0.5-4.25V) for large coarse particles. Each output channel gives a consistent voltage reading. When debris is detected on the sensors tip the voltage output increases proportionally to debris collected. These two independent channels provide engineers with an accurate insight into the ferrous contamination condition of the lubricant, indicating when the oil requires changing or accelerated wear rates, or the earliest indication of component breakdown. This enables a preventative maintenance intervention before complete component failure and unplanned downtime.

Regular inspection of the sensors data readings alerted engineers to a large amount of ferrous particles collected on the sensor. On inspection gear flaking and cracking were found, caused by the early failure of a supporting roller bearing. As a result of the sensors fast detection, the operators were able to shut the machine down in a controlled manner, during a planned maintenance period, to replace the damaged components.

Oil debris sensor

The Results

The swift analysis and action prevented a costly mechanical breakdown and it is estimated that the cost saved was sufficient to cover the cost of the full trial installation.

The installation of the sensor provides manufacturers with:

  • Real-time data monitoring, allowing for fast action to be taken when debris levels increase
  • Prevention of mechanical breakdown and failure
  • Identification of gear cracking and flaking
  • A strong tool for maintaining the speed reducers condition in the future