Machinedesign 6074 Sm Ideas Wittenstein 0

Scanning for Ideas: Rack-and-pinion lubricator ensures smooth operation and a long life

March 8, 2012
Lubricator keeps rack-and-pinion drives running efficiently and quietly.

The lubrication subsystem from Wittenstein, Bartlett, Ill., keeps rack-and-pinion drives lubricated, preventing gears from becoming scratched and worn. The device works with the company’s drives as well as others on the market.

The subsystem consists of a canister that holds Microlube GB, a mineral-oil-based NLGI grade 0 grease. The canister comes in 125 and 475-cm3 sizes. There’s also a sensor that alerts users when the canister is nearing empty. The lubricating fluid flows from the canister to the mounting shaft through a plastic hose. Holes in the shaft let the lubrication fluid pass through to a felt pinion. This pinion then distributes lubricant onto the rack.

Users program the device using a series of dip switches that open a valve and dispense a given number of “grease-gun strokes” each day (a grease-gun stroke equals a cubic centimeter), a value that can range from 0.3 to 4. That setting can then be used for anywhere from 14 days to 18 months. A chemical reaction in the grease builds up pressure, which moves the grease through the various pipes and hoses. The unit operates in temperatures from 10 to 50°C.

© 2012 Penton Media, Inc.

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