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Common Causes of Industrial Gearbox Failure

Common Causes of Industrial Gearbox Failure

Gearbox failure is a potentially devastating blow to your business. It can lead to a total machinery breakdown, which costs you big in downtime, loss of output, and repair costs. Check out some of the most common causes of industrial gearbox failure to watch for to properly maintain and protect your equipment.

Poor Lubrication

Proper lubrication is vital for bearing and gear life. The leading cause of industrial gearbox failure is not adding the correct amount of lubrication.

In a gearbox, lubricating oils are vital for multiple reasons:

  • Provide surface wear protection

  • Prevent corrosion

  • Cool the internal parts

Prevent poor lubrication through routine preventative maintenance by checking your fluid levels often and ensuring the gearbox is properly lubricated.


Water or particulate contamination is another common cause of industrial gearbox failure. Water contamination prevents the lubrication from doing its job, which often causes the oil to foam. Water gets into oil from condensation or broken or loose seals.

Particulate contamination comes with dirty oil or oil with foreign objects in it. This happens from leaving a filling plug open or from breaks or wear and tear within the gearbox.

Improper Alignment

In a gearbox, the gears should mesh perfectly; however, it can lead to stress on the teeth when misaligned. It’s critical to the health of your machinery to check the alignment of the gears regularly. Add this to the regular preventative maintenance performed on your machines.

When gears are misaligned, the gear teeth can wear and weaken more rapidly than expected and cause lasting damage.


When pushing gearboxes to do more than they should, failure is imminent. This is common when companies force conveyors to run faster or have heavier loads than recommended.

It is vital to use your machines only for their intended purposes and recognize and respect their limits. When pushing limitations, damage occurs, and failure results.

While other things could potentially cause this, these are the most common causes of industrial gearbox failure. Contact us at Illinois Electric Works today for more information from a dedicated gearbox repair company.


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