Moves away from bronze and rubber bearings have boosted the expansion and usage of Vesconite Hilube across the world. Vesconite lasts longer, wears less, requires less maintenance, and doesn’t require lubrication. This makes it suitable for different applications, in different industries, and on different continents.
Take the U.S. market for example.
“A state like California has banned lead so you cannot sell a bronze product. People have to find an alternative,” says Vesconite Bearings’ technical representative, Charlie Simpson. “Vesconite is getting more and more business as people move away from bronze and rubber bearings.”
Vesconite doesn’t need lubrication which helps bearings last longer
Simpson says Vesconite has seen steady growth in sales from the US over the last two years. Some of this is due to the need for an alternative product; much is due to the benefits of the product, such as increased efficiency.
Simpson says the companies in the US are willing to test and try new things. “If they can get five percent more efficiency they will go for it.”
A large food-processing company replaced several of the polyethylene plates on its rotary vacuum filters with plates made of the low-friction, high-compressive strength polymer known as Vesconite Hilube.
Rotary vacuum filters are used for dewatering, washing and clarification, and rely on a vacuum to suck the water content out of a slurry mixture in which a vacuum drum rotates. After dewatering is completed, a dry cake remains on a cloth-covered drum, while the clarified liquid in the drum is transported out of the drum through a series of pipes.
Vesconite Hilube wear plates have been successfully used at the interface between the vacuum drum and the exiting pipes at the client’s facility.
The processor’s mechanical department maintenance coordinator informs that the 800-millimetre-diameter (31.5 inches) 25-millimetre-thick (1 inch) Vesconite Hilube wear plates need to ensure that there is an adequate seal that prevents the liquid from leaking.
They also need to have sufficient compressive strength to be secured by a trunnion plate, he says, noting that the equipment agent’s wear plates were of a much softer material and that this resulted in wear and eventual leaking.
In addition, they need to have the correct pipe exiting alignment, with 16 holes in place for some of the rotary vacuum drum designs and 14 for other of the designs.
Testing continues to verify the comparative wear life of the polyethylene wear plates and their replacement Vesconite Hilube wear plates.
Vesconite Hilube can last up to ten times the life of bronze
Vesconite 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. With excellent dimensional stability, low wear rates, and a high load-bearing capacity, Hilube excels in difficult applications.
Vesconite Hilube has been used for decades in a wide range of specialized pump bearing applications.
The material thrives in water, keeping to machined sizes without swelling and with zero delamination.
Other advantages are that it does not corrode, and helps prevent the corrosion between metal components especially in salt water; is resistant to oils and fuels; and is easy to machine, fit and remove – and prolongs shaft life.
In addition, it allows dry startup for up to 1 minute.
The installation of Vesconite Hilube wear rings can result in electricity savings that more-than-pay for the wear ring.
This was the result of a study by a large pump original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that compared energy usage on a typical submersible pump when Vesconite Hilube wear rings were in place versus stainless steel wear rings that had been previously installed.
Vesconite Hilube is a low-friction wear-resistant polymer. Wear rings made from the material are designed to seal the pressure leakage of the liquid between the inlet and the impeller and the pump casing, and should result in a higher pumping efficiency due to lower by-pass.
Vesconite Bearing technical pump consultant Phillip de Villiers was pleased when the pump OEM’s results independently proved Vesconite Hilube’s ability to improve pumping efficiency and decrease electricity usage.
The study showed a 0.11kW/h energy reduction when operation of the pump with a large diameter stainless steel wear was compared with operation of the same pump type with a dimensionally-identical Vesconite Hilube wear ring.
Assuming the Vesconite Hilube wear rings use on an industrial pump, operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the electricity savings from installing a Vesconite Hilube wear ring add up, particularly when the pump is operated in a jurisdictions in which electricity charges are high.
In the specific pump that was studied by the OEM, the wear ring would have a three-month payback even where a low electricity cost was assumed, notes De Villiers.
He adds that electricity savings for a five-to-ten stage submersible pump can be significant if the electricity savings of each stage are added together.
With concerns about global CO2 emissions from electricity generation – which reached 12Gt in 2010 – as well as an awareness that pumps account for 10% of global electrical energy consumption, technological interventions are valued by pump manufacturers and pump users.
They are also of interest to state and national governments that are interested in reducing carbon emissions to keep global warming under 1.5°C.
One of Vesconite’s customers, a large independent polyurethane and plastic foam manufacturer, restarted an important gear pump without difficulty after the company’s closed period from December through January. This gear pump is used to pump glue to rebound foam chips.
Because it pumps viscous adhesive liquid at one of the company’s two chip plants, the gear pump can fail to restart if component parts are immobilized by glue after a long period of inactivity.
Viking Pump Restarts With Ease With Hilube
However, with the introduction of Vesconite Hilube polymer bushings in the well-known Viking internal gear pump, the company’s pump restarted with ease.
Not only that, the Vesconite Hilube pump bushings, which were inspected at the time of the restart, showed no wear.
The foam manufacturer service manager noted that the self-lubricating hard-wearing Vesconite Hilube polymer bushings replaced carbon graphite ones, which had tended to crack in the warm operating environment, in which the viscous glue-like chemicals needed to be heated to be applied to the foam chips.
This did not occur with the Vesconite Hilube, which had the added advantage of being self-lubricating and being able to move in the high-friction environment.
“You can’t use an ordinary plastic bush,” says the service manager.
The gum dries out and sticks to the bush if you try. After the December break and after long weekends, the gear pumps ceased to operate before we used Vesconite Hilube.
The company manufacturers 800 tons per year of chip mattress blocks, which are used for bus seats, gymnasium mats, restaurant seats, mattresses, and other high-density furniture/bedding applications.
The service manager said that the Vesconite Hilube bushing was currently on it’s eight month, and is pleased it has survived and continued to operate after the holiday period.
He has installed Vesconite Hilube bushings on several gear pumps at the factory, including several pumps where temperatures can reach 65°C.
He believes that this is a low-maintenance solution for a challenging operating environment.
A UK manufacturer of brackets for electrical equipment has changed its 3D printer bushings to Vesconite bearings.
The manufacturer had previously used roller bearings on its two Prusa 3D printers, but had found that roller bearings wore away the printer rods. They also required regular greasing, which limited production uptime and value.
Following some online searching, Triple Link Manufacturing founder Mark Bagnall discovered a reference to Vesconite 3D printer bushings and was attracted by the fact that they were low maintenance and required no greasing.
In addition, he was pleased with the fact that the product promised low rod wear and would not result in costly damage. The time spent having to strip down the 3D printers to replace the rods and bushings was costly, so combating that would provide a lot of value to the business.
Mark reports that, following some adjustments to make sure that the positioning and the spacing of the bushings was correct, the bushings have been operating well in the 3D printers.
The company has Vesconite Hilube bushings installed on one printer and Vesconite Superlube, the lower-co-efficient-of-friction polymer bushing, installed on the other.
“We produce perfectly good quality products,” states Mark, who notes that the finish is great for functional components that compete with commercial bracket suppliers.
Triple Link Manufacturing, through sister company Indigo Lime, produces Sky TV box brackets, TV wall and stand mounts, and even Playstation mountings, among other products. Mark highlights that customers are accepting the quality of 3D printed parts for functional usage since they are cheaper than injection-molded parts.
The process also allows for the production of the necessary volumes, without large overruns, and, with Mark’s expertise, he has been able to optimise the designs to reduce the print time and the material usage involved in printing, thereby further decreasing the manufacturing and raw material costs.
The company has been steadily growing its electrical equipment bracket manufacturing since sales began at the beginning of the year.
In addition, the design and manufacturing company also continues to produce prototype 3D printed parts for customers who will eventually manufacture their own injection-molded parts.
Vesconite Bushings in Future 3D Printers
As the business expands, there will be more Vesconite installed on future 3D printers due to the success of these first two runs.
Vesconite is happy to be part of the expansion of 3D printers and stands ready with its non-grease bushings.
The original article was featured on Vesconite’s website and can be found here.
Internally-lubricated, the ultra-low friction Hilube polymer has no stick-slip, doesn’t swell and provides a wear life ten times that of bronze. It machines to +/-0.001″, making it ideal for applications with tight tolerances.
Breaking World Records with Hilube
The team that was awarded the Guinness World Record in 2017 for the longest distance covered by a miniature steam train is setting its sights on improving its record.
Keyser Locomotive Works, together with the Pietermaritzburg Model Engineering Society was able to cover 330km (205 miles) in 24 hours in its record-breaking attempt, which outstripped the previous 1994 record of 269km covered in 24 hours.
It did so for a number of reasons, one of which was the self-lubricating Vesconite polymer bushings that were fitted to the connecting and coupling rods.
These internal, hard-to-reach turning components did not need to be oiled, and this helped reduce stopping times during the record attempt.
“You can’t oil these bushings on the run,” says the locomotive owner Andries Keyser.
This was not the case with many of the original bronze bushings that had to be oiled every hour when the locomotives stopped and the drivers were changed.
Six of the main crank bushings are currently made from Vesconite polymer bushings on the record-breaking locomotive named Doreen, but the intention is to replace all the bushings with Vesconite eventually so as to reduce oiling requirements in future record-breaking bids.
“The Vesconite has no heat expansion and, using a sloppy fit, didn’t heat up at all” Keyser notes.
“The engine output was not compromised in any way and still runs today on the same bushes, two years and many kilometers later,” he says.
Looking to the future with Vesconite Hilube
Another innovation that will assist Keyser to further improve the record is the fact that he is building the longest straightest track that he can in the Stellenbosch Winelands, in South Africa. This will enable the locomotive to run at higher speeds on a track gauge of only 184mm.
Known as the Winelands Light Railway, Keyser is establishing a theme park with 1/3-scale trains, matching buildings, bridges and tunnels, and a hobbies expo for locomotive enthusiasts once a year. Presently there are four steam and one electric locomotive in the engine shed, with 13 wagons able to haul up to 50 people per train. Everything is hand made and based on narrow-gauge prototypes from all over the world.
Starting on the 14th of December 2019, the park will be open on weekends, public and school holidays if the weather allows. This unique attraction aims to become the biggest family-friendly destination in the Western Cape within the next 10 years.
Keyser will make another world-record attempt sometime in the near future, and expects that between 30 and 60km will be added to the current distance record.
The original article was written by Vesconite and can be found on their blog here.
Gallagher Fluid Seals is a preferred distributor of Vesconite in the United States. For more information about their bearings or bushings, please contact our engineering department.
Vesconite, a market leader in grease-free polymer bushings and wear materials, has developed a food-grade, high-temperature, abrasion-resistant bearing poloymer.
The polymer is known as Hitemp 150 FG (food grade), and its name signifies that it can be used in applications that run at temperatures up to 150ºC and in which food contact is incidental or likely.
The previous version of Hitemp 150 did not explicitly use food grade ingredients, but, as a result from calls from the food industry to produce a similar hard-wearing product for use in food applications, alternative ingredients were sought for food safety.
“We have produced this Hitemp 150 FG product in which a food-approved ingredients have been used,” comments technical sales representative Eddie Swanepoel.
“It is cream with a streaky marble look as opposed to the previous rust-coloured Hitemp 150 polymer,” he notes.
The next step is to have the polymer approved as compliant with Standard 51 of the US’s National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), the standard that deals with polymer materials and components used in food equipment, including products that come into contact with food and beverages.
Vesconite Bearings is confident that the newest version of the Hitemp 150 FG polymer will be judged to be food grade since all the raw materials ingredients are certified as food grade.
Stay tuned for this excellent addition to the product catalog from Vesconite.
The Dakar Rally (or simply “The Dakar”) is an annual rally raid organized by the Amaury Sport Organisation. Since its inception in 1977, most races took place from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal. But due to security threats in Mauritania, which led to the cancellation of the 2008 rally, races since 2009 have been held in South America. The race is open to both amateur and professional entries, of which amateurs typically comprise of eighty percent of all participants.
The race is an off-road endurance event. The terrain that the competitors traverse is much tougher than that used in conventional rallying, and the vehicles used are true off-road vehicles rather than modified on-road vehicles. Most of the competitive special sections are off-road, crossing dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks, and erg among others. The distances of each stage covered vary from short distances up to 800–900 kilometres (500–560 mi) per day.
Vesconite Hilube Bushings in Suspensions of Colcar’s Racing Team Vehicles
Colcar Racing Team is a partner of Vesconite, and used the no-grease Hilube busings in the suspensions of their racing vehicles during the 2019 Dakar Rally.
The use of Vesconite Hilube in the Argentinian team’s vehicles builds on a growing record of Vesconite Hilube use in their yearly Dakar entries.
In 2018, Vesconite Hilube bushings were fitted to two trucks, one of which finished in position 23. In 2017, meanwhile, the Argentinian team finished in 33rd position, and continued to use their Vesconite Hilube bushings for two other local competitions that covered a total distance equivalent to three Dakar Rallies.
For the 2019 Dakar Rally, Colcar Racing Team participated in the truck category (vehicles weighing more than 3,500 kg – or 7,700 lbs), as well as the utility vehicle (UTV) category, also known as four-wheel side-by-side vehicle or recreational off-highway vehicle category.
The Colcar UTV won its category and finished 18 overall.
Vesconite’s polymer bushings put to the test in the 9,000 km race
“The polymer bushings have proven themselves over the grueling annual 9,000 km multi-country South American Dakar endurance race that covers various terrains, including sand dunes, mountains and salt flats,” comments Leandro Panzini of VesArg, the Argentinian distributor of the Vesconite Hilube.
“Suspension bushings are important in vehicle safety, ride comfort and handling and also align suspension and steering components … and they are paramount in the Dakar, in which vehicles travel at between 100 and 200 kilometers per hour (62-124mph) in all kinds of terrain over 15 days,” he says.
In the Dakar vehicles, the bushings were exposed to an oscillating movement with many cycles per minute taking place, and performed much better than the nylon-molybdenum bushings that they replaced, reports Panzini, who is proud to have Vesconite Hilube associated with this historic race and performing so well each year in race vehicles.
Watch the video below about the Colcar team during this year’s Dakar Rally:
In 2018, Vesconite Bearings made a commitment to the U.S. market, increasing its readily available stock of Vesconite polymers and Vesconite Hilube in order to deliver quickly to customers.
Vesconite Bearings manufactures two main product types:
Vesconite is a specialised hard-wearing thermopolymer designed for challenging operating conditions, Vesconite gives up to 10 times the life of traditional bronze or nylon bushings. Combining internal lubrication, a low friction coefficient and low wear rates, Vesconite does not require external lubrication, even where conditions are dry and dirty.
Vesconite Hilube is a highly advanced thermopolymer in the Vesconite range, particularly suited to operating in wet conditions, including pump and marine applications. Combining low friction and low wear properties, Vesconite Hilube performs exceptionally well under high loads in difficult operating environments.
Whether customers need large bearings or small, stock is readily available and can be processed quickly … so you can minimize or eliminate downtime.
If you have ever experienced long lead times with Thordon, try Vesconite. Their products are consistent with quality, and they’ve had success across the globe in complex applications, including the U.S., Canada, UK, Africa, Norway, Argentina, Australia, and more.
Below are just a few quotes from satisfied customers:
VESCONITE HILUBE BUSHINGS SHOW NO SIGNS OF WEAR AFTER 7253 HOURS IN 3D PRINTER.
THIS PRODUCT WITHSTANDS THE MOST EXTREME CONDITIONS…
-Jonathan von Biljon
OUTLIVES ANY OF THE ALTERNATIVES AVAILABLE.
12 YEARS ON AND VESCONITE BEARING SHOWN MINIMAL WEAR.
Dr. Jean-Patrick Leger, Vesconite Bearings chairperson says Vesconite is dedicated to serving the U.S. market effectively. “We see the US market is as a high-growth-potential market,” says Leger.
With increased representation for Vesconite in the USA, its no wonder their high quality products are disrupting the market.
To learn more about Vesconite products, speak to a Gallagher representative today by calling 1-800-822-4063