New purchase versus retrofit

5 reasons why a retrofit of a gearbox is often the more economical solution


As a special gear manufacturer with a history of more than 125 years, more than 500,000 of our gear units are in use worldwide. More and more often customers come to us with the following question: “We have a gear unit from Kachelmann or company xyz…, that is already more than 25 years old. Now we ask ourselves: “Should we have it modernized or order a new gearbox?”
It is not possible to give a general answer to this question, but in many cases modernisation (retrofitting) is the economically more favourable solution. If the former transmission supplier no longer exists, retrofitting is the only option anyway.

In this article you will learn 5 reasons why you should decide for a retrofit

Retrofit is the more sustainable solution

Conserving resources and using them sensibly – the ecological aspect plays an increasingly important role. We take up this idea when retrofitting, because we save resources by building on existing gearboxes and recycling them. We do not need new cast housings or new gear wheels. On the contrary, we rework housings and gear wheels, bring them up to the latest technical standard and increase the service factor. This is because the tooth flanks of older gearboxes were often made naturally hard, whereas today we case-harden and grind them, making them considerably more torque-resistant. Because the gear parts become more efficient, the efficiency of the gear unit increases. The new bearings are also more powerful and durable.

Retrofit ensures greater efficiency

You know best of all yourself. When you order a new gearbox, wait many months before you can put the new gearbox into operation. That is how long your plant stands still and you cannot produce. So you incur additional costs due to the breakdown and you probably pay more for the new gearbox. With a retrofit, however, we can use the existing parts and rework them. In concrete terms this means.
If the bearing seats on the housing are worn out, we press in a bushing so that the bearings can be installed in their original size.
The running surfaces of the seals on the shafts are reworked.
We replace bearings and seals.
The tooth flanks of the gear wheels are ground (to reduce noise)
Your greatest benefit is: In the end, we can reduce gearbox downtime to as little as 12 weeks or less. This is usually half the downtime compared to purchasing and adapting a new gearbox.

Higher quality with retrofit

The term retrofit is derived from the Latin word “retro” (= backwards) and the English “to fit” (=adapt). It refers to the upgrading or modernization of an old system. In this process, existing components of a plant are replaced by modern components or new components are added in order to meet current technical and legal requirements. Because while the mechanics of a machine hardly ever become obsolete even after many years, the technologies in the areas of control, drive and automation technology develop all the faster.
With a completely renewed gear unit using the latest production methods, we can significantly increase the quality of the gear unit. This means you can easily count on double the service life.

Your advantage: decades of experience and pragmatic approach

When systems and gearboxes fail, we know exactly what is at stake for our customers. They are threatened with production downtimes, supply bottlenecks, lower revenues and higher costs at the same time.
So it is more than just a matter of urgency. That’s why we take a solution-oriented, fast and pragmatic approach, so that the economic damage caused by a gearbox failure is kept as small as possible. Our mechanics can reach almost any gear unit location worldwide within 24 hours. After all, we know from many years of experience that smoothly functioning industrial plants are a key competitive factor for productivity.

Retrofit makes predictive maintenance possible

Service is expensive and time-consuming. This is why more and more companies are using predictive maintenance for their systems. This means that maintenance or service is only carried out when components are at risk of failing.
In a retrofit, even older industrial gearboxes can be equipped with modern sensor and communication technology. This enables the recording and analysis of machine parameters such as oil temperature, degree of oil contamination or noise level in order to continuously monitor the operating status of the gear unit. The evaluation of the data provides the company with valuable insights, knowledge and key figures that help to optimise production processes and reduce operating costs.

Let us summarize once again:

In many cases, a retrofit is the more economical alternative if you have older gearboxes in use, which are often still in good mechanical condition. Here are 8 concrete advantages that speak for a retrofit.

  • 20 – 30 % lower investment costs than for a new acquisition.
  • extended service life due to higher quality of the installed parts.
  • downtimes and operating costs are reduced through optimum maintenance and higher efficiency.
  • earlier performance of the gear unit is even exceeded.
  • increased productivity through decisive reduction of downtimes.
  • the availability of spare parts is ensured.
  • the gearbox can be prepared for predictive maintenance with sensors.
  • additional Kachelmann factory warranty of 24 months

And now? You have older gearboxes in use?
And you are not sure: new acquisition or retrofit? Let us talk about it. Phone 09543 84 55 11 or mail: