Equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and drill service providers have become highly competitive to secure remaining contracts in order to stay operational during this recent downturn in the industry. Looking for new strategies to succeed in this current market, companies are investigating alternative products and designs to maximize flexibility and efficiencies. Whether in the exploring, drilling, or production of oil, equipment manufacturers are looking for products that provide high levels of performance that will set themselves apart from the competition.
Bearing materials in the oil & gas industry are presented with the most demanding conditions requiring high load capacity in poor environments and sporadic service schedules. Columbia Industrial Products offer CIP Composites to the oil & gas industry as light weight, self-lubricating composite materials that have a long service life. Although commonly used for bearings, wear pads and thrust washers, CIP’s ability to provide large custom size solutions give the oil & gas industry the ability to use our materials in a wide range of applications. CIP Composites are ideal for replacing greased bronze bearings, and can be easily installed by press fitting or freeze fitting with the ability to machine in place.
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Gallagher 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.
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.
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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