Category Archives: bearings

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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Vesconite Hilube for Underwater Applications

Vesconite HilubeVesconite Hilube is a thermopolymer, designed for particularly difficult operating environments. Hilube is specifically recommended for moist and underwater applications. These include the pump and marine industry, where regular maintenance is not practically feasible or cost-effective. Displaying superior wear life, especially in poorly lubricated and dirty conditions, Vesconite Hilube has been shown to offer up to ten times the life of bronze bushings.

Vesconite Hilube incorporates an internal lubricant that translates into an exceptionally low friction coefficient. Combined with excellent dimensional stability, low wear rates and a high load-bearing capacity. Hilube has a PV rating (pressure x velocity) four times that of nylon bushings.

Vesconite is available in a wide range of rods, bushings, plates, and machined custom parts.

Hilube Key Features

No Water Swell
Fully saturated, Vesconite Hilube has a negligible moisture absorption rate (0.5%). Its linear swell rate of 0.07% allows for fine clearances in the majority of applications. By way of contrast, nylons absorb moisture by as much as 9% of total mass – resulting in high swell rates and critical loss of clearance, which can lead to seizures.

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Gallagher Becomes Vesconite Distributor

Gallagher Fluid Seals is proud to announce that we are now a distributor for Vesconite self-lubricating bearings and bushings.

Vesconite Product LineupVesconite – The Original

A specialized hard-wearing thermopolymer designed for challenging operating conditions, Vesconite gives up to 10 times the life of traditional bronze or nylon bushings. Combining high-load bearing strength, internal lubrication, a low friction coefficient and low wear rates, it does not require external lubrication, even where conditions are dry and dirty.  Over the past six decades, Vesconite has become internationally recognized as a versatile, high performance replacement for traditional bushing and bearing materials.

Tried and tested in literally thousands of applications across a wide range of industries  – from general industrial, to marine and agriculture. Vesconite has an impressive dimensional stability, and unlike many synthetic alternatives, it retains its strength under wet conditions and displays negligible creep under high load.

Vesconite is available in a wide range of rods, bushings, plates, and machined custom parts.

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Non-metallic Industrial Bearings

Non-metallic Bearings - ThorPlas BlueThordon non-metallic bearings have been used in a wide range of industries and various applications such as in pumps, pivot points, screw conveyors, hydro turbine wicket gates, agitators, and flocculator paddle wheels.  Thordon Bearings are design to work under the most extreme conditions: abrasive, corrosive, high impact load, high humidity, and infrequent maintenance periods.

Key Attributes

Self-Lubricating

With a low inherent coefficient of friction, Thordon bearings typically do not require grease lubrication.  This results in reduced maintenance costs and safety issues.  Environmental and product contamination concerns associated with grease lubrication are eliminated.  Thordon Bearings are homogenous polymers with built-in lubricants.  The lubricants, being dispersed through the bearing material, continue to provide low friction through the life of the bearings.

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Thordon to Present @ HydroVision International Conference

Thordon - Hydro PlantAs the largest gathering of hydro professionals worldwide, join 3000+ attendees and 320+ exhibiting companies from around the world for a week of informative hydropower-focused meetings, workshops, tours, an extensive program and exhibition. HydroVision International highlights perspectives on the role of hydropower, explores issues affecting hydro resources, and helps participants develop a vision to meet challenges and ensure the future sustainability of hydro.

Benefits of Attending:
  • Build alliances among 3,000+ hydro professionals and water resource stakeholders
  • Attend multiple networking events to make a connection with colleagues
  • Share knowledge, expertise and viewpoints toward effective solutions
  • Gain a better understanding of current and future challenges affecting hydro during the 60+ conference sessions
  • Hear from over 400 hydro speakers
  • See the most comprehensive collection of 320+ hydro-related product and service providers on the exhibit floor
  • Promote technology development to sustain the hydro industry
  • Earn Professional Development Hour Credits – Attendees registered as Full Conference Delegates are eligible to receive 15 Professional Development Hours (PDH) credits.

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