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Everything You Need to Know About Mixer Drives

Mixer drives are amazing machines. Without them, many industries wouldn’t exist. From pulp and paper mills, to concrete mixing, to food manufacturing and many other trades, mixer drives are crucial for all steady, extended stirring operations. Mixers are also used in pharmaceutical manufacturing, mining, wastewater treatment, power generation, and chemical processing. In today’s post, we’re providing a one-stop, big-picture resource you can bookmark and refer back to on how to select and care for mixer drives.

First up: How to choose a mixer drive in the first place.

Choosing a Mixer Drive: Major Considerations

To provide an industrial mixer with massive torque on a continuous basis – and in a harsh chemical environment – requires a drive with more brawn than your average gear reducer. And while sufficient torque output is, of course, a critical factor in selecting a mixer drive, it’s not the only characteristic that can make or break your mixer’s success.

When comparing mixer drives for your application, it’s also important to consider the following.

Size: The unbalanced hydraulic loads inherent in mixing applications require a heavy-duty reducer that can support the mixer shaft and impeller. Look for an increased diameter on the low-speed shaft and a gear housing designed to carry large bending moments and thrust loads.

Lubrication: A failed seal can result in oil contamination of your product. Look for a unit with a maintenance-free drywell with no moving parts, as this will pose no risk of failure. It’s also important to choose a drive with continuous oil circulation through the bearings in order to keep the unit running smoothly.

Bearings: To ensure the drive can withstand the necessary mixing forces, look for an extended bearing housing that allows for larger bearings, and which can accommodate tapered or spherical roller bearings (instead of ball bearings), as these are best at handling thrust loads.

Mixer drives can have a huge impact on profitability, so make sure you choose one that’s up to the task.

When in doubt, consult one of our experts here at Mar-Dustrial – we have years of experience helping pulp and paper operations select the right drive for each application.

Should you call our experts, you may hear about the many advantages of using Falk mixer drives. We’re avid advocates for the Falk brand, because in our decades of experience, it’s become clear that Falk is the brand that’s up to the tough task of designing long-lasting, reliable mixer drives. Mixer drives must be extremely durable. When mixing hundreds of thousands of gallons at a time, a drive must withstand high thrust and bending loads, continual operation, and stringent requirements banning oil leaks. Let’s take a look at the benefits of choosing a FALK mixer drive for industrial mixer applications.

Mixing Applications: Advantages of Using a Falk Mixer Drive

Longevity, thanks to bearings designed for long-term performance. Falk’s mixer drive bearings last for at least 30,000 hours of service.

No Leaks, due to a specialized drywell design that eradicates lubricant contamination. The Falk mixer drive physically separates the oil sump from the output shaft, eliminating oil corruption of your product.

Strength, stemming from large-diameter output shafts that provide consistent performance even with high-bending loads. Falk’s mixer drives also gain strength through extremely tough cast or fabricated housings that maintain alignment while putting up with high-bending moment loads.

Quiet, Efficient Operation, thanks to spiral-bevel and helical gearing.

Flexibility, with FALK RAM Mixer Drives available in a wide spectrum of sizes, and for nearly all setups. With a FALK mixer drive, you can accomplish top, bottom, or side entry mixing using hollow or solid output shafts.

Price: FALK mixer drives are competitively priced. Most operators find added value in the world-class customer support that Rexnord provides.

Replacement Parts: Again, Rexnord’s service distinguishes the brand as a leader. Replacement parts may be procured through Mar-Dustrial’s extensive salvage part inventory. And our Rexnord Falk RENEW program has you covered in the rare case of drive failure.

Falk products outperform other mixer drives, based on the above characteristics. Rough mixing operations require top-of-the-line equipment; FALK mixer drives fit the bill (and your budget).

Once you have the new RAM mixer reducer or other mixer drive in place, it’s key to begin keeping a detailed performance and maintenance log ASAP. A proper maintenance schedule and procedures will help monitor the overall condition of the drive system. An accurate log will provide information to determine the condition of each Falk gearbox. This will then help operators decide whether gearbox repairs – or a replacement – are required.

Maintenance managers should dedicate a good portion of their time to designing, implementing, and monitoring performance indication systems, such as vibration analysis. As we’ll see below, these indicators generally provide warnings when a gearbox is having problems. Noticing these warning signs goes a long way in reducing replacement costs. If you consistently watch such performance metrics, you can fix problems before they cause failure.

5 Signs Your Mixer Drive Needs Attention

As they age, gearboxes wear and require increased levels of maintenance. There are several indications that wear is occurring within a Falk gearbox and that a mixer drive is having problems:

1. Excessive heat. When Falk gearbox components become unusually hot during regular operation–as measured at the bearing races, housing surface or bulk oil temperature–it typically indicates either a change in load or lubricant failure. If left unchecked, excessive heat can lead to gearbox failure.

2. Excessive vibration. A more noticeable indicator of trouble is when the Falk gearbox begins visibly shaking during operation. Such abnormal vibrations often indicate component problems, such as worn bearings; a frequency analysis can help pinpoint specific component problems. If addressed early enough, these types of gearbox repairs can often be made without replacing the entire unit.

3. Excessive noise. If the noise level of a Falk gearbox increases during normal operation – especially if it makes a whining sound – it’s another obvious sign of gear or bearing wear. Again, measuring the level and frequency of the sound can help determine the specific problem area.

4. Lubricant problems. If a Falk gearbox begins leaking oil, it’s an indication of seal failure. These types of gearbox repairs should be taken care of promptly, as oil leaks cause the system to run hotter and may contaminate product.

On the other hand, oil breakdown within the unit indicates contamination or excessive heat. An oil analysis may be used to determine internal wear levels or contamination from external sources.

5. Frequency of repair. One reason it’s important to keep careful records of all past maintenance problems and gearbox repairs is to be able to spot patterns that may indicate a larger problem. For example, if the frequency of gearbox repairs is increasing, this is a sign of component problems such as worn gears and bearings throughout the system.

The age of the system dictates whether or not repair is preferred over replacement. A drive that is over 15 years old will require extensive maintenance to continue functioning well. A good rule of thumb is to seriously consider replacing a drive unit when the cost of the repair exceeds 50 percent of the cost of replacement.

Drive wear is an inevitable part of long-term mixer usage. With proper maintenance, including accurate record keeping, a Falk gearbox will provide its maximum service life. Moreover, excellent record keeping can make it easier to decide whether to repair or replace a RAM mixer reducer.

Contact Mar-Dustrial for more information on mixer drives.

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