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marksl

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Hello,

Is anyone familiar with the Steele / Fawcett worm gearboxes used on a JC Steele Incla Grinder Mill? I'm looking for the manufacturers recommendation for oil, particularly viscosity.

John from PA

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Have you tried the Australia offices of Steele?  Contact info is at http://www.jcsteele.com/about-us/steele-australia/.

If the machine is old there is a high probability that the gearbox has components that were made by a USA manufacturer.  If the link doesn't yield some cooperative contacts I would be inclined to review the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA) recommendation.  The worm gear itself, on top in the photo, doesn't seem to be anything unusual unless there are environmental factors like high ambient temperature.  There are some general guidelines at http://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/169/worm-gear-lubrication.  Pay particualr attention to comments about EP additives especially if you operate at elevated temperatures.  You likely have a steel worm and a bronze gear.  Bronze can interact with some EP additives at high temperature.


steele.jpg

marksl

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Yes I emailed the Australian office last week so far no response.
John from PA

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Quote:
Originally Posted by marksl
Yes I emailed the Australian office last week so far no response.


Recheck my original reply as I've added some pertinent information at about the same time you posted.
marksl

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Our oil analysis is showing very high levels of Copper and tin, however the EP oil contains "passive" sulphur / phosphorous and the oil manufacturer doesn't think a reaction with the yellow metal in the worm wheel is possible. The viscosity of the EP oil is ISO 320 which I don't think is high enough and this seems to be confirmed in the information provided by John (above) so the high wear metals is likely to be caused by wear due to insufficient oil film.

I guess the next step is to determine the normal operating temperature of the gearbox casing to determine if an ISO 460 or 680 is better suited
John from PA

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Quote:
Originally Posted by marksl
Our oil analysis is showing very high levels of Copper and tin, however the EP oil contains "passive" sulphur / phosphorous and the oil manufacturer doesn't think a reaction with the yellow metal in the worm wheel is possible. The viscosity of the EP oil is ISO 320 which I don't think is high enough and this seems to be confirmed in the information provided by John (above) so the high wear metals is likely to be caused by wear due to insufficient oil film.

I guess the next step is to determine the normal operating temperature of the gearbox casing to determine if an ISO 460 or 680 is better suited


If it is a new gearbox the copper/tin components could be normal and caused by initial wear-in of the sliding surfaces. 

Definitely get the temperature and move accordingly, perhaps even consider moving to a synthetic product.
JB1

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Here is a general brochure, FYI.

http://www.jcsteele.com/wp-content/uploads/Steele-Incla.pdf

John from PA

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JB1
Here is a general brochure, FYI.

http://www.jcsteele.com/wp-content/uploads/Steele-Incla.pdf



Great brochure!  A bit of history in there as it dates from 1977.  I don't see lubrication recommendations in the brochure but just as well.  EP additives have changed substantially.  Back in 1977 there would have almost certain restrictions on EP, especially if the box ran hot.  Today EP additives are vastly improved and can be used with some caution.
Sinski

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You could look at trying something like a Shell Omala S4 WE oil which is a synthetic gear oil which is specifically made for worm gears. Other oil manufacturers would probably have something similar as well. Being a synthetic it would also work well if you get high temperatures. You could also trial it using the VG320 version but if you still wanted an increased viscosity you could try the VG460 or VG680. 
John from PA

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Without knowing the age of this machine, and rethinking the situation, I would change my previous recommendation to try a synthetic and voice caution in using the Shell Omala suggested by Sinski.

Shell Omala S4 WE is an advanced synthetic heavy duty industrial worm drive gear oil formulated using specially selected polyalkylene glycol base fluids.  The issue, in an old machine, is polyalkylene glycols can attack conventional paints.  High quality epoxy paints are recommended.  There can also be some seal issues.  Omala S4 WE has been found to be satisfactory with nitrile and Viton seal materials, although Viton seals are preferred.  The Shell products also has some very specific procedures for change over to the product if you have been using a conventional lubricant. 

If this is an older machine, say 15 to 20 years or older, I really think you need to pursue making contact with the OEM and get their recommendations.  They can research paints, seal materials etc. and make sure you are using the best compatible lubricant.
 
MarkL

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I would echo Johns thoughts and maybe suggest a 'PAO' ( polyalphaolefin) if you want to go down the synthetic route,
Polyglycol can be vicious on older paint work on gearbox casings and I've seen it melt older non Viton type seals. PAO's can be mixed to some extent with older residual mineral oil without too much hassle.
Sinski

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Quote:
Originally Posted by John from PA
Without knowing the age of this machine, and rethinking the situation, I would change my previous recommendation to try a synthetic and voice caution in using the Shell Omala suggested by Sinski.

Shell Omala S4 WE is an advanced synthetic heavy duty industrial worm drive gear oil formulated using specially selected polyalkylene glycol base fluids.  The issue, in an old machine, is polyalkylene glycols can attack conventional paints.  High quality epoxy paints are recommended.  There can also be some seal issues.  Omala S4 WE has been found to be satisfactory with nitrile and Viton seal materials, although Viton seals are preferred.  The Shell products also has some very specific procedures for change over to the product if you have been using a conventional lubricant. 

If this is an older machine, say 15 to 20 years or older, I really think you need to pursue making contact with the OEM and get their recommendations.  They can research paints, seal materials etc. and make sure you are using the best compatible lubricant.
 


I get that and they are things you need to know but we have been using this on planetary boxes that are 20+ years old with no issues. The option to use it is there with the knowledge that it can cause other issues.
John from PA

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinski


I get that and they are things you need to know but we have been using this on planetary boxes that are 20+ years old with no issues. The option to use it is there with the knowledge that it can cause other issues.


The successful use of a Shell Omala product on planetary gearboxes of 20+ years of age does not necessarily mean it can be used successfully on all machines.  I am not against use of synthetics for worm gears, in fact they can be quite beneficial.  But their use has to be approached with some care, hence the reason I brought up the factors of concern.
weller

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Reply with quote  #14 
was the used lubricant viscosity tested against the base oil viscosity? Was there a large change + or - from 320? This could help to determine if you need to increase visco.
marksl

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Quote:
Originally Posted by John from PA


If it is a new gearbox the copper/tin components could be normal and caused by initial wear-in of the sliding surfaces. No not new gearboxes, have been in service for a number of years

Definitely get the temperature and move accordingly, perhaps even consider moving to a synthetic product.
Proposing to use temperature button on each gearbox so we can establish a trend over a week.
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