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Solving Gearbox Water

Contamination Issues.

"It seems as though the gear drives on the


conveyors experience more water contamination problems in the spring and the fall
than during other parts of the year. They are not directly exposed to rain, they
dont have coolers, and they operate continuously. What do you suggest to fix this
problem?"
There are several generalities offered in the conditions described, and it is probably
time to start measuring and charting some factors. Areas of the country with the
highest rates of relative humidity will experience this more frequently.
First, verify that there are no human factors involved, particularly involving
operators or housekeepers with a high-volume wash hose.
Second, try measuring the operating temperature of the equipment between the
coldest and the hottest part of the day during the spring and fall. Also, watch the
weather news for the dew point for every day. Regardless of whether it is operating
or not, if the equipment temperature falls below the dew point, then condensation
can occur. If the temperature is this low, then the moisture is not going to be driven
off very quickly.
Third, for large sumps, install a valve and start each day with a drain-and-inspect
routine. Open the valve and slowly drain off any accumulated water. Measure the
amount and log it with the other factors. Make note of the sumps that seem to be
susceptible to moisture.

Fourth, once the offenders have been identified, replace the vent filters with
desiccant-type air breather filters. If this has been done already and the problem
still exists, then consider installing a low-pressure air purge into the sump
headspace. If you can maintain a positive pressure head, then water from
atmospheric humidity will be eliminated. However, be conservative with your air
pressure. Central air is expensive, and a small drain can contribute to a significant
increase in embedded operating cost.
There are several methods to determine water content. These can be differentiated
based on whether the content of water in dissolved form is measured or the
absolute water content is determined, i.e., besides measuring dissolved water, free
water also is taken into account. Common techniques include FTIR and the Karl
Fischer method. In practice, simple screening tests are also used in order to make a
rough estimate of whether water is contained. Among the most frequently used
tests are a visual assessment, the crackle test and the shaker method.