October 12, 2022
To conclude our look at “resto mod” industrial gearboxes, let’s review the overall goal of the effort: Better performance without the pain of modifying the mountings. Unlike the automotive world where great sums of money can be “invested” in restoring or building “artwork on wheels”, industrial equipment has to reliably “produce” or it goes into the scrap bin. Occasionally a gearbox might get an “Earl Schieb rebuild” [a thorough external cleaning and a nice paint job] so it can serve as a lobby display. A few more might languish in an industrial junkyard in the hopes that someone will need it for parts. For the vast majority it is “work or be gone.” Around the world, plant managers and their maintenance staffs fight a daily battle to keep obsolete process lines running. Jobs and communities need those 40, 50, or even 60 year old mills to survive. There is insufficient capital available to replace them so clever mechanics do what they can to overcome leaks, wear, and breakage. As they famously opined on “The Six Million Dollar Man”, we have “the technology to rebuild him faster and stronger.” Using current methodologies and equipment, those plants can continue to spit out great products. Bottom lines can improve because of improved “up time” and those clever mechanics can get back to hunting and fishing on the weekends instead of applying another layer of duct tape. Our industry was built on supporting those mills. This is a market segment that requires close working relationships and timely responses. You cannot diagnose the problems and develop solutions remotely. If you have production lines in your vicinity, reach out to them. Visit them and listen to their concerns. And when you get a chance to help them, offer the best long term solution along with those breakdown repairs.