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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Industrial gearbox repairs get priority service

Karl Rigg, SEW Eurodrive’s UK service manager, looks at some of the problems maintenance engineers might face when industrial gearboxes need repairing

SEW Eurodrive recently received a large industrial gearbox for repair after the original manufacturer declined to quote; it happens. Some manufacturers are really only interested in supplying new units. Repairs are seen as a nuisance, and, particularly when they’re busy, some manufacturers would rather not have to bother.

That’s why there are so many independent gearbox repair firms, but, while some of them are very good, some leave a lot to be desired. A large snack food manufacturer recently asked SEW Eurodrive to examine a gearbox that had been repaired by an independent, because something was clearly not right. A number of faults were found with the repair, including a gear that had been fitted the wrong way round!

What’s more, a few independent repairers have a similar attitude to repairs that some manufacturers have to new units. They’d rather supply a repair than a replacement, even when it might make economic common sense for the user to scrap the old gearbox and replace it with a new one.

An integral part of SEW Eurodrive’s business is maintenance and repair. Providing a complete service is part of the company’s philosophy. Karl Rigg explained: ‘Repairing gearboxes isn’t a nuisance to us, it’s part of what we do, and we can repair any gearbox made by any manufacturer. Top quality repairs with a rapid turnaround is what our customers know they can expect from us. Every time.

‘The key thing is we’re one of the industry’s honest brokers,’ said Rigg. ‘We can supply a new unit from our vast stock, when it might be the best solution, but we’re just as happy to repair. We have no preference and customers know that they can rely on us for sound, impartial advice.’

In fact, SEW Eurodrive repair over 70% of all the gearboxes their service engineers receive. When a unit arrives for repair it is quickly inspected and a detailed report with close-up photography of worn or damaged parts is sent to the customer with a quotation. Service engineers use microscopic cameras that can show detailed damage to gearbox components.

The company can repair any make of gearbox, including Renold, Siemens Flender, David Brown, Highfield, Lenze and Rossi. Even when a unit is obsolete and parts are no longer available SEW Eurodrive have the ability to reverse engineer a solution. ‘We would always manufacture a new part to the original specification,’ said Rigg. ‘But in many cases we can improve the specification of the original by using better materials or improving finishing and tolerances.’

Every unit that arrives for repair is given a unique identification number and all the related documents are scanned and saved to provide full traceability for each unit. This is particularly useful when customers have recurring faults. Engineers can look back at previous repairs and pin-point similar failures making it possible to design out the cause.

Additionally, SEW Eurodrive’s technical department provides route-cause analysis for failures and CAD drawings for modifications and retro fits. Whenever modifications are made, or bespoke parts manufactured, full engineering drawings are produced. With manufacturer’s know-how, the very latest tooling and equipment, a gearbox repaired by SEW Eurodrive will be as good as, or better, than when it was new.  Every repair is supported by a 12-month warranty and new units come with a warranty of two years.

Every repair is tested before it leaves the factory, typically covering stator resistance, oil leaks and noise. The company also has in-house facilities to provide load testing when required.

When an industrial gearbox needs to be repaired maintenance engineers need a repairer they can rely on. But it’s more than just that. It’s about being on hand and available when needed, because a breakdown could happen at any time, and SEW Eurodrive say that is where they deliver consistently and reliably.

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