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.

Hoover Dam control-linkage fitted with Vesconite bushings

Vesconite HilubeThe link-arms and change ring controlling the wicket gates on America’s Hoover Dam demanded a maintenance-free self-lubricating bush. The specific bush is subjected to considerable force and has a knock-on effect on the wicket gate system, which ultimately controls waterflow to the dam’s turbines. Vesconite Hilube was supplied, machined and fitted, and has performed flawlessly for the past seven years.

Benefits for Hydro

  • Vesconite Hilube does not require external lubrication, avoiding water contamination.
  • Vesconite Hilube can run dry – important for pump start-up and priming.
  • Water is a natural lubricant for Vesconite Hilube.
  • Vesconite Hilube does not swell in water, reducing risk of seizure and allowing for close tolerances.
  • Vesconite Hilube has a low friction coefficient, eliminating vibration and the stick-slip effect.
  • Vesconite Hilube’s unique combination of properties ensures long life and little downtime.

Common Hydro Applications

  • Vesconite HilubeWicket gate bushings
  • Kaplan main turbine bushings
  • Trash rake cleaning machines
  • Pump bushings
  • Valve bushings
  • Screen bushings
  • Gates

Material Comparison

  • Traditional bushings require costly maintenance downtime time on pump turbines.
  • Metal or rubber bushes can degrade quickly in dirty and abrasive environments, e.g. trash rake pivot points.
  • The low friction of Vesconite Hilube avoids stick slip on pressure relief valve guides.**
  • Wicket gate bushing lubrication is often difficult due to the micro-oscillating movements associated with this application. Vesconite Hilube’s self-lubricating properties avoids this entirely.