What Are the Causes of Gearbox Failure in Irrigation Systems?

February 14, 2022

All too often, irrigation gearboxes fail for preventable reasons. It’s true—many of the root causes of gearbox failure in irrigation systems are human error that could be corrected.

If you want to extend the life of your gearbox, consider the following causes of gearbox problems for farming irrigation systems and take steps to avoid them:

  • Failure to read: Have you reviewed the operator’s manual for your irrigation system? These manuals offer insights on maintenance, troubleshooting and calibration that can transform your system operation. Don’t undervalue this resource by disregarding it.
  • Failure to maintain: Even the best irrigation systems require regular maintenance. You should grease lube points daily and check fluids daily. Check gearboxes and belts for wear and tear, and replace them when they become worn. Check filters and chains, and replace these as needed, too. Performing this essential maintenance will prevent issues and breakdowns.
  • Failure to connect: This is one of the causes of gearbox problems for farming irrigation systems that you may have less control over. Sometimes electrical connections fail; however, you can take steps to minimize their likelihood. Clean dust and dirt around connectors, and use compressed air rather than water for this cleaning process.
  • Failure to rest: Overworked machines are more likely to break down. Don’t push your machines too hard or require them to do things they weren’t designed to do. Try to run your irrigation system slightly below its intended performance levels to reduce stress on the system and extend its lifespan.
  • Failure to fix: As part of your regular maintenance, it’s essential to replace parts as they become worn. If you wait, the part may break during use, which can cause damage to other components. This will also result in extra, unplanned downtime, which can wreak havoc on your operations.
  • Failure to store: Always store your equipment properly to protect it from the elements and pests. If dust and debris build up on gearboxes and other components, this attracts rodents. These pests will get into your machinery and chew seals and wires. To avoid pests, store machinery inside and keep it clean.
  • Failure to lubricate: Lubrication is essential for gear and bearing life. The lubricant prevents metal-to-metal contact to avoid wear and tear. It also protects against moisture and corrosion. A lack of this crucial lubrication is one of the top causes of gearbox problems for farming irrigation systems.
  • Failure to align: Gears in the gearbox must be properly aligned. They are designed to operate at right angles or in parallel. If this alignment is off, the entire system suffers. The gear teeth will not mesh, and the gearbox will become damaged and fail to operate properly.
  • Failure to train: One of the root causes of gearbox failure in irrigation systems is a lack of training. Always make sure anyone who is running your equipment is fully trained for safe and proper operation.

Stop problems before they start

If you’re concerned about gearbox failure, partner with the pros at B&M Pump Irrigation Sales & Service, Inc. We specialize in system design and maintenance. We’ll help you keep your system running smoothly season after season. Contact us today to speak with one of our service experts.

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