Category Archives: bearings

Vesconite Bushings for Railway, Transportation

Vesconite has over several decades been successfully used in a number of railway applications. The material’s self-lubricating properties make it well suited to railway components that are prone to metal on metal wear and require regular greasing. Not only will a switch to Vesconite bushings avoid long periods of downtime, the noise and squeal issues commonly associated with rolling stock, is significantly reduced. With a resultant reduction in rolling resistance, considerable power savings have been noted with the use of Vesconite components.

Vesconite Hilube on Tram Drive Bushings

Vesconite - Tram Bushings for RailAustralia – An Australian tram operator continues to order approximately 100 Vesconite Hilube motor axle bushings a year, following its successful introduction to the product in 2006. The motor axle bushings, which require no lubrication and are wear resistant, have completely replaced the standard metal main drive H-class-tram bushings, which had been in use prior to the introduction of the polymer product.

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CIP Composites Gate Wheel Assembly

CIP - Gate Wheel BushingThe sluice gate at Faraday Dam in Oregon operates fully submerged with approximately 40′ of head at the middle of the gate. The estimated operation pressure on each of the bushings is around 4,000psi (4ksi). The gate is used for water level control, therefore continuously makes small adjustments to its elevation.

The gate was removed in September 2014 to perform inspection of gate wheel assembly and bearings. It was determined that several of the wheels had either stopped working or fallen off due to corrosion and lack of lubrication. The remaining bearings were found to have excessive clearance due to wear. New stainless steel sleeves were fabricated by Portland Manufacturing and welded onto the gate wheel stub shafts. New composite greaseless bushings supplied by CIP were installed to replace the failed bearings.

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Vesconite for Transportation/Automotive Industries

Transportation / Automotive bushings require regular maintenance and greasing, and are prone to wear especially in wet or dirty conditions. Self-lubricating Vesconite and Vesconite Hilube eliminate the need for continual greasing and at the same time increases bushing life. Vesconite and Vesconite Hilube are tough and durable and perform well under the mechanical stress that occurs on vehicle suspension systems.

Rail container trailers fitted with Vesconite

Vesconite Pivot BushingsSouth Africa – Vesconite flanged pivot bushings have been successfully installed and used on container trailers at the national rail utility. The Vesconite bushes, with a flange of 205 mm diameter and a bore of 165 mm, were fitted to the walking beam center pivot bearing that equalizes component parts of the rear axle bogies. This heavy duty application required a material which had high load carrying capacity, low friction, high wear resistance and good dimensional stability. Vesconite, with all these characteristics, was used on the trailers that are used to transport 12-m-long general purpose containers.

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CIP Composites for Hydro Applications

Hydropower has been used for thousands of years and represents the largest, most efficient and proven renewable energy source on the planet. The rehabilitation and repowering of existing generation stations, as well as developing generation at non powered dams, and introducing pump storage strategies provide a multitude of opportunities for continued growth within the industry. Water management in much of the world is faced with changing regulations to support the balancing act between power generation, ecological sustainability, and agriculture irrigation. New technologies, equipment, and modern controls systems to optimize production are aiding the industry in this balance while continuing to increase power generation.

CIP Composites - Hydro BearingsSuppliers, like Columbia Industrial Products, must be equipped to provide quality assurance, formal documentation, and products that will perform for decades in mixed use environments. CIP has built a solid reputation while working with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Utilities, and Contractors fulfilling these requirements while providing a high quality bearing product.

CIP Composites is the leading manufacturer of environmentally friendly, self-lubricating bearings and wear pads designed to replace greased bronze components inside a variety of turbine designs, gates and valves, and auxiliary equipment. CIP composite products provide the perfect balance of performance, availability, and cost to satisfy the most rigorous demands of your hydro generation project, no matter the schedule or scale.

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Vesconite Ensures Smoother Operation

Vesconite HilubeUSA – An aeration windmill manufacturer installed Vesconite Hilube bushings on its windmills, leading to smoother and more efficient operation. The bushings are an essential component in aeration windmills, which aerate ponds in private and public spaces, since fan rotation is key to ensuring that the diaphragm moves up; compressed air is taken in; and the compressor builds up pressure, which is released into the air line leading to the water. Because of this, the windmills are more efficient at reducing algae and foul smells, controlling mosquitos and creating a healthier environment for fish.

Vesconite for Renewable Energy

Vesconite Hilube bushings reduce energy costs in renewable energy applications. Turbines associated with these applications need to move rapidly and easily to produce efficient power, meaning wind, wave, tidal and current-driven turbines require a low coefficient of friction. Reduced energy losses as a result of the lower friction present in Vesconite Hilube bushings, allow turbines to rotate easily, producing electricity faster and at a reduced cost.

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Vesconite Rudder Bearings Reduce Wear

Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina –  The waters of the Parana River tend to be wide and deep, with significant suspended debris and sand. Due to these abrasive conditions, rudder bearings on tug boats operating on the river are susceptible to rapid wear. The result is frequent dry docking for repairs. In response, Vesconite bushings have been successfully fitted to 20 tug boats working the Parana River. The combination of exceptionally low wear, self-lubrication and easy installation makes it an ideal material for this application.

Vesconite for Marine Applications

Rudder BearingVesconite, and Vesconite Hilube in particular, are ideal for the submerged and corrosive conditions of the marine industry. Suited to both dry and underwater applications, Vesconite’s internal lubricants allow for prolonged life where the setting is characterized by irregular greasing schedules, or no greasing at all. Unlike most bearing materials, Vesconite offers long wear life and a high load-bearing capacity with no distortion or delamination, despite the wet and abrasive working environment. Vesconite is easily removed and refitted, saving in costly downtime.

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Cruise Ship Dry Dock Emergency

CIP Marine - Broken StabilizerIn May of 2016, a cruise ship went into dry dock for service which included replacing a broken stabilizer. It was determined that the flap bearings from the OEM for the new fin stabilizer would not work, and needed to be replaced. CIP is known for its 24-hour dry-dock emergency support for replacement bearings. When the call came in CIP answered the request for this urgent delivery and provided the bearings the same day!

Stabilizer Systems

Oil leakage and lubricant discharges from marine equipment such as fin stabilizers are causing marine operators to find alternative solutions to previous standard grease and oil systems. Although the EPA has provided accommodations allowing the use of environmentally acceptable lubricants (EAL), the better alternative is to replace bearing grease systems altogether with water lubricated materials.

CIP Marine - Fixed StabilizerCIP Composite fin stabilizer bearings are water lubricated with the added ability to have axial grooves machined into the bearing, providing better water flow and lubrication. Columbia Industrial Products offer 24 hour emergency support, minimizing dock time. CIP Composites are easily machined onsite and can be freeze fitted or press fitted. Their knowledgeable team can provide technical support for the design calculations for interference and clearance fits for your application.

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Vesconite Pump Application Case Studies

Vesconite - Hilube for Pump ApplicationsThermal Power Station Condensate Pump

Texas, USA – A thermal power station required a high-wearing, low maintenance bearing alternative for a condensate pump assembly. The line shaft and pump bowl bearings used in this vertical spindle pump operate in pure water conditions at a temperature ranging between 30˚C and 60˚C (86°F to 140°F). Removal and maintenance cost on the pump are high. Vesconite Hilube bearings were manufactured and fitted. Resultant performance has been impressive – the replacement bearings have run without fault for four years, on a pump assembly that has a seven yearly maintenance rebuild schedule.

Water Utility Uses Hilube on Vertical Spindle Pumps

Vesconite - Hilube for Spindle Pumps

Texas, USA – A water utility in Texas had over the years experimented with different  grades of nylon bearings in its vertical spindle pumps, but with little success. The pumps operated in the abrasive conditions found in pit-wells. The combination of debris and sand would eventually lead to excessive wear of the original bushings and eventual seizure. The original parts were subsequently replaced with Vesconite Hilube, which requires no lubrication, does not swell and can operate in dirty conditions as characterized by the above. The re-fitted pumps have since been running without incident for over a year now.


Why Use Vesconite in Pumps?

Vesconite has been used for decades in a wide range of specialized pump bushing applications. The material thrives in water and exhibits excellent dimensional stability, with zero delamination. The result is low downtime and associated hassle factor. Its friction coefficient range of 0.1 – 0.2 allows for dry starting – an issue commonly associated with high wear rates in traditional bushing materials. Corrosion of the bushing is entirely eliminated with Vesconite, Vesconite Hilube is recommended for most pump applications.

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Vesconite Hilube in the Hoover Dam

The environmentally sensitive hydro-power industry requires components that last longer in the absence of contaminating lubricants. These two factors alone make Vesconite Hilube the ideal bushing and bearing material in these demanding conditions. Water serves as a natural lubricant for Vesconite Hilube, which in turn, ensures a clean and grease-free operating environment. Unlike many traditional materials, Vesconite Hilube does not swell in water, nor does it distort or creep under load within wet hydro-power settings. Therefore not only does Vesconite last longer, so does it’s metal counterparts.

Vesconite Hilube - Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam pressure relief valves fitted with Vesconite Hilube

Vesconite Hilube has been the preferred choice for the pressure relief valves (PRVs) at the Hoover Dam. Originally designed in the 1930s, the PRV’s divert water around the turbines when flow to the turbines needs to be stopped. Vesconite Hilube was selected to replace the existing cast iron parts, which had oxidised and seized, preventing the valve from functioning. Vesconite Hilube has proved to the ideal material for this application, due to its self-lubricating, hard-wearing, corrosion-free and low slip stick features.

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CIP Composites Replace Bronze Bearings

CIP Composites - Replacing Bronze BearingsGallagher Fluid Seals is a distributor of CIP Composites full product line. CIP Composites are laminated polymer materials made by impregnating textile with thermoset resins. The physical properties of CIP materials make them superior bearing materials. CIP Composites offer design engineers an attractive, cost effective alternative to the traditional material used for bushings, bearings, wear pads, and thrust washers. The following describes the physical characteristics and application factors to replacing bronze bearings with CIP Composites.


Physical Characteristics

Coefficient of Friction

CIP Composites have lower coefficients of friction than bronze in both static and dynamic situations. It is common to achieve 50% lower coefficients of friction when transitioning to composites. Bronze bearings pose a risk for metal to metal contact if grease is non-existent or not sufficient to support the shaft, and may develop high break-away torque requirements after prolonged periods of rest. CIP Composites are self-lubricated, minimizing the concerns with lubrication systems, specifically in high load, slow speed, or oscillating applications. CIP Composites eliminate noisy stick-slip problems, extend operating life and reduces wear, making for better operating efficiency.

Moisture Absorption

There can be concerns with moisture absorption for non-metallic materials. Moisture absorption can create swell and expansion of the bearing material and potentially premature failure. Some common plastics in use today have water absorption rates as high as 5-7%, which can lead to bore closure of the bearing and seizing on the shaft. CIP Composites have a negligible absorption of less than 0.1%, and effectively eliminate this concern when moving away from a metallic solution.

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