Living Large in Manufacturing

FlSmidth will feature its mining technologies at MINEXCHANGE 2022.

News & Notes from Big Gear and Gearbox Providers

Large gears and gearboxes are some of the most fascinating components in the manufacturing world. The following compilation of blogs and articles looks at an upcoming trade show for mining components, an interesting gearbox restoration story and some quick tips on gearbox maintenance no matter the size. If you have a big gear or gearbox story to share, please contact the editorial team at Gear Technology & Power Transmission Engineering.

FLSmidth to Celebrate Mining Innovation at MINEXCHANGE 2022

2022 will be a special MINEXCHANGE 2022 SME Annual Conference & Expo (February 27 – March 2, 2022) for FLSmidth as it is takes place in the company’s U.S. mining headquarters of Salt Lake City. CEO and Global Mining President, Mikko Keto, will be delivering a keynote presentation while FLSmidth will again also be a proud co-sponsor of and participant in the Women in Mining event.

The FLSmidth Booth (#1811), will have a state-of-the-art interactive 3D mining flowsheet and will be buzzing with activities on all of the event days. Key themes will be the MissionZero Mine concept and how to achieve complete mine optimization throughout the flowsheet when it comes to sustainability, cost savings and efficiency gains.

The company will have a KREBS Slurry Pump, the LoadIQ, WEMCO II and the RFC850 at the booth and will be covering everything from pit to plant, including digital solutions, equipment, sustainability-enhancements and service and aftermarket.

The MINEXCHANGE 2022 SME Annual Conference & Expo examines the critical role that rare earth elements play in shaping mining for the next decade and managing water usage and waste throughout the project lifecycle.

This four-day interdisciplinary educational experience will present the latest mining perspectives as it assembles some of the brightest minds in the mining industry today. The MINEXCHANGE technical sessions place a driving focus on the topics and trends that matter most including short courses, workshops and technical sessions. Learn more here:

Indiana Jones Meets Industrial Manufacturing with Gearbox Restoration

Photo provided by the Project Buffalo Historical Group.

David Brown Santasalo is restoring an ‘Operation Buffalo’ LVT gearbox for the Crowland Buffalo LVT Historical Group after being buried 30 ft. underground for 74 years. The gearbox has been preserved in a World War II military amphibious land craft and is now undergoing refurbishment at our manufacturing facility in Huddersfield, UK. However, the Crowland Buffalo LVT Association needs help to fund the restoration project and find permanent home to assist with the preservation and housing:


During the ‘Big Flood of 1947’, sixteen military amphibious land crafts were sent into Crowland, Lincolnshire by the British Army to act as a barricade against the River Welland’s banks breaking. The amphibious land crafts created a standing flood defense for almost 30,000 acres of land around the River Welland, however when the water was then pumped back into the flood plain, five of the Buffalo military amphibious land crafts floated away. Whilst they were able to recover one of the crafts, two sank into fishing pits and the rest were unrecovered.

After hearing about the disappearance of the 26 ft., 18,000 kg tanks, Daniel Abbott, chairman of the Crowland Buffalo LVT Historical Group, committed himself to finding the tanks over the last four years. Starting with a dedicated committee of friends to help him research, ongoing fundraisers to maintain necessary funds and help from RAF Wittering, along with an army of volunteers and a drone flight from Crowland Cranes, the first Buffalo craft was finally recovered after a five-day operation ending on Thursday April, 29, 2021.

Once the military amphibious land craft had been brought above ground with the help of a 50-man project team, including the North Level Internal Drainage Board (NLIDB), Crowland Cranes and Tear’s Recovery, the next step was assessing the 74-year captivity damage. Instantly it was clear that the craft was still in remarkable condition despite its age, due to the preservative properties that were in the 4,500 tons of clay that it had been submerged in.

Remarkable condition after 74-years in clay!

David Brown Santasalo’s Global Defense Director and Managing Director U.K., Steve Watson said, “Upon hearing about this historical discovery, we began discussions with the Crowland LVT Historical Group. They were aware of our long-standing expertise in the Land Defense power gearbox market and our unique capabilities to repair any make of gearbox, no matter how old! I was delighted to have the opportunity to be involved and our specialist team are now working hard to restore the LVT gearbox to its original glory. DBS is pleased to offer our services to the historical society free of charge and ensure the gearbox is professionally refurbished, while ensuring it maintains its authenticity.”

In order to assess the condition of the gearbox, the company sent a trained DBS fitter, accompanied by one of its new apprentices to analyze the tank and its gearbox and provide an internal review of the requirements for the project. The gearbox was then transported to the Huddersfield facility, where it has been stripped down, cleaned and evaluated. The findings were that the gears themselves just need polishing and a thorough clean, but miraculously only have surface rust, proving how well the clay has preserved it!

Sights & Sounds: Industrial Gearbox Maintenance with Sumitomo Drive Technologies

Year after year, brands like Sumitomo Drive Technologies and others in the power transmission industry provide innovative technologies and solutions to help plant operators minimize downtime and get optimum performance from their industrial gearmotors and reducers. This blog from Sumitomo in 2021 examines six maintenance steps to get the best performance and working life out of your industrial gearbox:

1. How Does it Look?

Make regular visual inspections of the installed gearboxes. Inspect them for oil leaks on the input and output shafts and any paint discoloration, indicating that the unit may be overheating. Listen closely to the gearbox and monitor for excessive vibration.

2. How Clean Is It?

Strive to keep your units as clean as possible. Dust and dirt covering a gearbox sometimes lead to overheating, so regular cleanings are recommended.

3. Are the Oil Levels Right?

Remembering your unit’s routine lubrication schedule is essential. Just guessing when your gearbox or speed reducer needs oil maintenance is a serious gamble. You can obtain this information from the gearbox manufacturer, and it’s usually included in the Operating Manual. You or your maintenance team should also ensure that you’re using the proper lubricant with the correct additives for your application and consult the manufacturer or your distributor if there is any ambiguity. If lubrication maintenance seems to be a constant issue in your plant, Sumitomo offers maintenance-free options here:

4. How Hot Is Your Box?

Monitor the gearbox temperature with an infrared gun and note any sudden changes that will almost certainly indicate a problem. For instance, overheating could be occurring because you are using a lubricant with the wrong viscosity for your particular gearbox operations. A usual cause of overheating is the friction produced by an imbalance between lubricant and viscosity levels.

5. What Do You Hear?

Regular vibration analysis is critical in a noisy environment that would prevent it from being heard. Monitor vibration of the bearings and internal gears. An increase in vibration is a sure sign of imminent problems.

6. Is It Time to Move On?

As time goes on, the demands on the gearbox may have modified since it was initially designed. Check the gearbox ratings and ensure that it is operating within the manufacturer’s specifications and power input. Learn more at:

Edited by Matthew Jaster, senior editor.

About Matthew Jaster 37 Articles
Matthew Jaster, Senior Editor, has a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and has 15+ years of writing and editing experience in automotive, manufacturing, engineering, law and arts and entertainment.