When you think about what part of your center pivot endures the most wear and tear, the drive train is one of the first things that come to mind. The center drive and gearboxes bear long load hours and rough terrain day in and day out during the irrigation season. The secret to maintaining your machine and extending its life is to make sure these key components are of the highest quality.
Not all gearboxes are created equally. Here are some things to consider when shopping around:
Input and output bearings. Make sure your gearbox bearings are not only made with the highest-quality materials, but that they are also surface- or case-hardened. Tests have shown that surface- hardened bearings perform better and are less resistant to cracking than through-hardened bearings.
The worm gear. You want a design that has a wide-base tooth angle to prevent the gears from failing. Most gears fail at the root, not the tip, so it’s best to have the widest angle possible at the base. You also want a design that leaves some space between the gears to keep oil where it is needed, minimizing wear and tear from friction.
The diaphragm. Choose a gearbox with a large-capacity diaphragm that can expand with heat and pressure because it will minimize water condensation from being drawn into the part and maximize seal life.
So whether you are buying a new machine or replacing old gearboxes, be sure you get the most durable and longest-lasting gearboxes in the industry. A lot is riding on that purchase. For more details about how gearbox design affects its performance and life span, take the Introduction to Valley® Gearbox course on irrigation.education!