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Nowadays there are many different gearboxes on the market with more and more sophisticated designs.
Sufficient and reliable oil supply is vital to avoid gear and bearing damage under various operating conditions. The aim is to create a thin oil layer separating two components, thus minimizing wear, friction and excessive heat generation.
The thermal management of the component is equally important for a long-lasting component. Lastly, the lubricant’s additives play dozens of roles ranging from corrosion inhibitor, antifoam to reliable abrasion setting.
It is key to ensure that all components are wetted properly, and even more critical to know early in your design process, which regions are not sophistically lubricated. And you definitively want to know this before you’ve built or even shipped your product. Why?
Your most precious resource is time that will be minimized with frontloading your development process by digital solutions. Your second-important good is money and we all know what recall campaign of a whole gearbox series costs.
Bearings are the unnoticed stars in transmissions, always supporting the shafts by carrying axial and radial loads. Their durability and functionality must be secured in all conditions as well. The challenges for bearing lubrication are that many small surfaces are always in contact with the inner and outer ring. - Analyzing the smallest fluid scales is mandatory!LEARN MORE
Active lubrication is an excellent method to precisely adjust the oil supply to the areas where it is required and avoid the costly churning of your high-speed gears through the oil bath. But which nozzles should you use to optimize the oil jet impingement on the gear teeth surface?
Shall I use a solid stream, full cone or flat fan nozzle? And, eventually, is it worth to install the oil-pump or is a bath lubrication beneficial after all?
General guidelines are acceptable, and your internal knowledge is sophisticated, but this topic becomes important every time you develop a new application, so evaluating these design possibilities beforehand fosters your strategical advantage on the market.
It’s no secret that mechanical components last longer if they stay cool. But the story is more diverse for gearboxes: The mechanical engine power is partially converted into heat while being transformed at the gear stages – components become hotter, and their structure becomes weaker. How to transport this heat to the ambience? - With the lubricant! Easy, right?
But we all know that too much oil does not help, a blocked breather might reduce ventilation cooling, the cold start does not work as planned or the lubricant properties change too much with higher or lower temperature and the lubrication functionality fails. Temperature effects are complex, and a reliable monitoring tool is gold.
Transmissions distribute excessive loads in your machinery by converting momentum and rotational speed to the desired ratio. As for all mechanical systems, these processes come with unwanted heat generation due to the friction within the highly loaded contacting components, squeezing of the
lubricant in between the contact zone and splashing the lubricant-air mixture in your gearbox.
Again, sufficient oil supply is critical, but an oversupply results in excessive losses. Progressive mechanical engineering designs target on the highest possible energy efficiency and raw material sustainability, which renders conservative approaches as overdue.
Especially for situations where rotational speed is high and load is low (like driving on the highway in the top gear), powering the lubricant’s motion becomes prominent in your power balance. The first step is to understand how much power is required, the next is to analyze it component-wise and the last to optimize the loss distribution on a component level.
We are using the integral boundary approach
which directly works with the triangle surface
mesh. This makes it possible to accurately
represent the gears and the meshing zone.
Look at the video showing how easy is to upload
a standard STL file and set the movements. On
top of that, you can use Python script to
automate the process.
Thanks to the triangle-based boundary conditions, we are highly accurate. Accurate geometry = better results.
The rule of thumb is that windage phenomena become prominent at around 20(25) m/s pitch line velocity – so you need to resolve them with your simulation tool as well! Why is that so?
First, larger inertia of the oil phase during the gear rotation leads to the oil being thrown of radially and, second, an air cushion is formed in between gears teeth. With the air shielding the gear, oil in the bath as well as airborne oil droplets will be deflected.
No worries, our sophisticated multiphase approach has you covered whenever you analyze these situations.
In our software, multiphase is just a few clicks away like in the example we show on the video. You add air as a second filling, move the seed point to desired space and that's it. If you want to see particles, click discretize.
Have a look at how the oil is mixing with the air and compare with your single-phase results!
Selecting the correct gear set for your application, defining the housing geometry, choosing the material and surface finishes. This is a costly and critical part of your work, and the final designs vary a lot! What do they all have in common? - A lubrication system! The advantage of CFD? It gives you the power to analyze every lubrication system independent of the chosen gear set.
Spur gears, helical gears, bevel gears, epicyclic gears, worm gears: The list goes on! Even complex setups can be realized through various interfaces.
Is dipping the gears into the oil sump not satisfying your needs? You can realize a solid stream, full cone or flat fan nozzle and even moving oil nozzles.
What about other influencing parameter like varying RPMs, low and high temperatures, thin and thick oils, too much or too little oil?
Have a look at the oil squeezing between the teeth. The fluid is radially thrown away by the wheel and the surface tension determines the flow pattern. Beautiful.
We can talk a lot about the gearboxes here, but if you want to see real-life examples and success stories with our customers and partners, you definitely should read our articles.
Gearbox lubrication & churning
Comparing simulation results to experimental data
Current challenges in wind turbine gearbox lubrication
Tell us about it and we will let you know if we can help you.
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