Tag Archives: hilube

Vesconite Bushings Fitted to Guinness World Record Steam Train

About Vesconite’s Hilube

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.steam engine vesconite

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 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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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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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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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 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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