The Stages of Reverse Engineering an Industrial Gearbox


As technology in the industrial gearbox field advances, reverse engineering, also known as back engineering has become increasingly valuable. This formerly near-impossible process is now a viable option for companies that need to replace a single part in the gearbox unit. Thanks to reverse engineering, it is no longer necessary to know the part measurements, own CAD drawings, or have any useable information when repairing a gearbox unit.

In this article, we uncover what back engineering is and discuss how to reverse engineer parts for successful industrial gearbox repair. Read on to find out how the experts go about their reverse engineering process.



What is Gearbox Reverse Engineering?

Gearbox reverse engineering is used to address gearbox malfunctioning when a part breaks, cracks, is overused, or is not properly maintained.  The method involves deconstructing a gearbox or, on more complex occasions, deconstructing an entire assembly to make it easier to analyze the part in question.

This process is needed and most useful when a part cannot simply be replaced with a new one, typically because the gearbox is no longer being manufactured and the CAD or technical drawings to create a part are no longer available. Experts, like Houston Pump and Gear’s reverse engineering team, use state-of-the-art measuring and inspection tools. These tools determine the gear’s size, geometry, tooth count, and root depth. With the correct assessment, manufacturers can create a copy of the original and damaged gear or part. The entire process is cheaper than replacing an entire assembly or gearbox. Are gearbox is an integral feature in any vehicle: as important as parts such as suspension bushes.


The Industrial Gearbox Engineering Stages

Below is an outline of the different steps gearbox repair professionals will undertake when back-engineering a gearbox part. The steps may be more, or less, depending on the specific part and the gearbox model.

Stage 1:

The first stage begins with an evaluation of the gearbox and all the internal components. The aim is to discover any defects in internal components. In most cases, however, there are internal defects that cannot be detected by a visual inspection. These defects causing the unit to fail are discovered during the next stage.

 Stage 2:

The next step is to analyze the industrial gearbox which involves disassembling the unit. Once all the parts are laid out, the back-engineering professionals will chemically clean the unit and separate all the individual components to assess them individually.

Stage 3:

Stage three is the most important in reverse engineering. Here we take a look at the most critical requirements to fix the component or components that caused the gearbox failure. Scanners are used for smaller parts and manual measurements are taken for larger parts. This allows us to recreate the technical or CAD drawings. Once the damaged parts are identified, a Niton gun can be used to determine the construction of the material that was used .

Stage 4:

Once the proper material is identified, it is sourced and the manufacturing process can begin. The initial step is to complete preliminary machining to get the rough material to the approximate dimensions required for the part. After this initial stage, the pieces are commonly referred to as ‘blanks.’

Stage 5:

CAD drawings are used to determine exact dimensions and sizes once the blanks are completed. The manufacturing process starts by cutting the teeth of the gears. Some gears may require different manufacturing processes, like hobbing, while others require high finish grinding to ensure the newly manufactured gear mate properly with the rest of the gear train.

Stage 6:

The final stage of industrial gearbox reverse engineering is reassembly. Once completed, the gearbox is installed back into the original production line or application.


The Benefits of Industrial Gearbox Reverse Engineering

When an industrial gearbox unit is reverse engineered, the entire production line benefits. Below are three examples:

Ratio Change

When gearbox parts are reverse engineered, it gives insight into the effectiveness of individual parts. Some older gearboxes may benefit from modern technology to increase the torque and power of the gear, improving the overall quality and effectiveness of the unit.

Minimization of Inconsistent and Noisy Output

Delays in production and output are often caused by normal wear and tear resulting in downtime or inconsistent outputs. Over time, gears may become too noisy to comply with standard health and safety laws when operated close to employees. These can include HVAC, production lines, pumps, water systems, and more. Reverse engineering can improve output and reduce noise by upgrading parts or using different materials.

Cost Saving

Businesses turn to reverse engineering to save money on machinery while production lines and operations return to full power. If your production line or cooling tower has a malfunctioning gearbox, back-engineering will likely save your business a substantial amount of money.




Trust the Repair Experts

Industrial gearbox reverse engineering is an excellent way to explore existing designs and modernize machinery while increasing efficiency and saving money. By following the six stages, you are sure to optimize the efficiency of your production line. When in doubt, turn to the professionals in industrial gearbox reverse engineering like Houston Pump and Gear.

Author: Lorain Wilson is the Content Marketing Specialist at Houston Pump and Gear — home to North America’s most reliable industrial gearbox and pump repair. Whatever the brand, issue, or timeline, the Houston Pump and Gear team of certified engineers is standing by to offer a free quote and a durable solution.

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