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Explaining and Diagnosing Excessive Overhung Load

Falk GearsThere are many possible causes of power transmission equipment failure, but excessive overhung load is one of the most commonly disregarded – despite the fact that it is one of the most prevalent causes of downtime and maintenance costs on Falk gear drive equipment. Excessive overhung load is often the hidden culprit behind an unusual or unexpected failure in mechanical power transmission products. Here’s a look at what it is and how to prevent it.

What Excessive Overhung Load Means

Overhung load is the force placed on a shaft by a gear, pulley, chain sprocket or similar mechanical power transmission products. Where the load is located on the shaft makes a difference; the farther away from the support point, the greater the overhung load. For example, if you were to hold a baseball bat horizontally and hang a heavy load from it, you’d find that the farther away the load is from you, the harder it is to hold the bat level. Excessive overhung load occurs when the force applied to the shaft exceeds acceptable levels.

Why It’s a Problem

While drive shafts are usually the first victims of excessive overhung load, all related mechanical power transmission products are at risk. Excessive overhung load puts a strain on the bearings, seals, gears and housings within a Falk gear drive, which can lead to premature failure of power transmission equipment.

How to Identify It

Excessive overhung load can be difficult to spot because its causes aren’t often readily apparent. However, if your typically reliable power transmission equipment suddenly begins experiencing recurring bearing or shaft failures, there’s a good chance excessive overhung load is to blame.

How to Prevent It

The best way to prevent a Falk gear drive failure due to excessive overhung load is to make sure the actual overhung load during operation falls within acceptable limits. Calculate your equipment’s overhung load using the formula provided by the manufacturer, and assess the operating conditions to identify any hidden overhung loads. Misalignment of couplings is a common hidden cause of, so take extra care to ensure couplings are aligned according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

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