Mobil wind turbine gear oil proven not to contribute to white etching cracks

Latest research shows how the right lubrication can help protect wind turbines

  • Mobil wind turbine gear oil proven not to contribute to white etching cracks
    Mobil wind turbine gear oil proven not to contribute to white etching cracks

ExxonMobil has released a white paper detailing the findings of its lubrication research project with Schaeffler Technologies. The findings show that lubricants without metal additives, such as Mobil SHC™ Gear 320 WT gear oil, do not cause WEC. 

With 80 per cent of wind turbine gearbox failures attributed to WEC, choosing the right lubricant can help operators protect their wind turbines from bearing failures which can cause critical system breakdowns and costly repairs. 

ExxonMobil and leading bearing manufacturer Schaeffler Technologies partnered together to investigate the causes of WEC. The multi-year research focused on the role of lubrication in preventing the occurrence of WEC.

Findings from the research indicate that lubricants with metal-containing additive concentrations can cause WEC. The research pinpointed that Zinc dialkyl dithio phosphate and/or the combination of Calcium, Magnesium or Sodium alkyl sulfonates can be a contributor. This is because these additives can cause friction and increase below surface stress. 
Jarmo Vihersalo, Industrial Marketing Advisor EAME, ExxonMobil, comments: “Working side by side with the team at Schaeffler Technologies, we are proud that our leading wind turbine gear oil – used in more than 40,000 wind turbines worldwide - is now proven not to contribute to WEC. While WEC remains an issue for the industry, we hope this news will at least alleviate some concern.” 

Mobil SHC™ Gear 320 WT gear oil is a high performance lubricant designed specifically for wind turbines. It offers protection for gearboxes operating under harsh conditions, such as extremely low or high temperatures and corrosive environments, minimising downtime and maintenance and extending equipment life. 

Operators looking for a solution to WEC must keep in mind that it develops due to a number of factors. Lubricants are just one of the possible causes. Choosing a metal-free lubricant can minimise the risk of WEC developing, however it cannot eliminate the possibility of WEC forming. 

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