1984 - Volume #8, Issue #2, Page #24[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Safety Probe Helps Prevent Major Repairs"There's no early warning device on enclosed gearboxes or hydraulic systems and yet, gears and bearings usually deposit metal particles in the oil long before complete breakdown occurs," says Thomas Pugh, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, who's come up with a magnetic plug for sealed mechanical systems that sets off an alarm when enough metal is collected by his magnetic plug.
Pugh worked for years as a service manager on large heavy equipment and noticed that most of the more expensive repairs were caused by assemblies that were fully enclosed and running in oil, such as transmissions, differentials, hydraulic systems, and so on. "The first real indication of trouble is usually complete failure," he says. "It didn't make sense that there wasn't an early warning system."
He notes that magnetic drain plugs are used commonly but that they only collect loose metallic particles. Since nobody knows what the drain plug has collected until the oil or grease is changed, magnetic plugs do little to prevent breakdown.
Pugh's plug collects particles on a continuous basis and, after collecting a preset amount of cuttings, activates a warning light on the instrument panel. The operator doesn't have to stop immediately but should check as soon as possible to see what the unit has collected.
"The Saf-T-Probe is not as necessary in engines as in other gear or hydraulic components. While the engine has regular oil changes and oil filters, other components are mostly forgotten about except to check the oil level. Also, most engine wear parts are non-ferrous metals, such as copper and aluminum, and are not as subject to problems as metallic gears and bearings," says Pugh.
The probes are made with different sensitivities for different applications. Pugh is currently looking for a manufacturer but says the plug is so simple it could be made in most any machine shop. He is interested in licensing the process or will build the units himself for interested buyers. He says they should sell for less than $100.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Thomas H. Pugh, P.O. Box 134, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia BOK 1VO (ph 902 657-2435).
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