Why is it recommended to also equip gearboxes with silica gel breathers?
Episode 9 of the STAUFF Miniseries "Is Your Hydraulic System Breathing Properly?"
The hydraulic accessories from the STAUFF portfolio include several series of silica gel breathers that were developed for the ventilation of hydraulic systems. Why is it practical and advisable to also use these in drive systems for (large) gearboxes? Our experts know the answer:
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Silica gel breathers increase the service life of gearboxes
It is not only hydraulic systems that “breathe”. Gearboxes also require ventilation. During operation, the oil (and with it the air and small quantities of water) – for example in a car or motorcycle gearbox – can reach temperatures of 100° C and more. This causes it to expand, because the molecules in the oil and in the air are set in motion and require more space.
Vent valves discharge the air to prevent pressure build-up in the gearbox housing. At the same time, any generated condensate is discharged as water vapour.
For smaller gearboxes, a small hose is sufficient for the “breathing” process. For large gearboxes, however, the situation is more complex, in particular if there are high requirements for the service life.
STAUFF silica gel breathers in large gearboxes
Let’s look at an example: A STAUFF customer manufactures wind turbines in the multi-megawatt category. These systems have a large gearbox weighing several tons installed between the rotor and the generator, and the required service life for the entire drivetrain is up to 170,000 hours. That is equivalent to 20 years, and because any maintenance work on these systems is extremely complex, it has to be kept to a minimum.
That is why the gearboxes from this wind turbine manufacturer are equipped with silica gel breathers from STAUFF as a standard. They allow the gearboxes to “breathe” freely and keep out the moisture in the aspirated air – which is corrosive due to the moisture and, for offshore turbines, also contains salt.
The service life and the high quality were decisive for the selection of the silica gel breathers. The useful life of the desiccant has to be very long because routine service work is not possible. Malfunctions also have to be excluded. The user made an excellent choice with the SDB series.
Do you already use silica gel breathers in hydraulic systems?
Then share your experiences and leave a comment below this post.
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