GEARBOX overhauls can be one of the most frustrating tasks in mechanical engineering. Without the right tools, precision automotive, marine and industrial equipment may be exposed to a damaging barrage of disassembly and assembly techniques.
Not only can the employment of brute force compromise safety, but also can cost heavily in terms of damaged parts and time lost trying to extract recalcitrant bearings, shafts, seals and the mechanical paraphernalia that make up modern transmissions.
"At the end of the day, it is the consumer who ends up footing the bill," says high force tool specialist Pat Molloy.
"I think if some people took the time to do a little research about the equipment to be used on their expensive gearboxes, they would sleep a little better at night.
“I think these days it pays not only to look at the quotes you're getting for work, but also at the facility where the work is going to be done. There can be enormous variations in the quality of facilities available," says Mr Molloy, who is Northern Queensland territory manager for Enerpac.
One of Mr Molloy's recent clients was K and G Mechanical Services of Cairns, Australia, which was seeking an efficient and precise method of disassembly and assembly of a Twin Disc MG 516 heavy duty marine transmission (a type widely used on trawlers).
Proprieters Kent Fulton and Greg Sims wanted to develop a servicing method that was not only time-efficient for customers and themselves, but which also protected the safety of operators and the integrity of the gearboxes when performing tasks such as fitting the ball gear onto the tapered output shaft.
Using an Enerpac RR 1502 150-ton double acting cylinder and P84 hand pump - equipment available off-the-shelf - they set about fabricating their own specialist tooling to a design by the Twin Disc organisation to do the job in a precise and controllable way.
In addition to using the pump and cylinder combination with the new tooling, it is readily detached for application on other gearbox and mechanical tasks handled by the partnership.
Widely used throughout Australasia and the Asia-Pacific on high-cycle industrial tasks, the 700 bar RR series cylinders are available in capacities from 10-300 tons with strokes from 57-815mm.
A built-in safety valve protects users by preventing accidental overpressurisation, while the cylinder can be readily adapted precision lifting, positioning and pressing tasks encountered throughout typical mechanical workshops. Applied Power Australia 02 9743 8988.