Lignum-Vitae Water Lubricated Bearings benefits featured in the July issue of Hydro Review! Posted on Thursday, July 6th, 2017 and is filed under Testimonials
Back to our Roots: The Return of an Old Friend for Turbine Bearing Rehab
When faced with the need for an efficient bearing solution for the 242-MW Osage hydropower plant, Ameren sought an option that would extend bearing life and found bearings made of lignum vitae wood fit the bill.
By Alan Sullivan and Phil Thompson
In 1939, the world was thrust into its second great war of the new century with the German invasion of Poland. World War II would eventually involve more than 30 countries and 100 million people. To equip the massive war machine, the world’s resources were tapped. Petroleum was used for fuel, steel for ships and guns, and lignum vitae for bearings on the ships’ propeller drive shafts.
While the natural lignum vitae material was replaced long ago by a new breed of synthetic bearing materials, those of us in the hydropower industry are familiar with the name and its history. So this story is sort of like the dash you see on a grave stone between the date of birth and date of death. It is during the dash that a life was lived and the story of someone’s life unfolded. Except this story is different. The dash does not represent the time from birth to death, it represents a little-known story from birth to rebirth, a new life for an old friend with a renewed purpose.
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It has been more than a year since the new Lignum Vitae bearings were installed. Both Units 4 and 6 are still running at their designed normal runout of about 3 to 4 mils, which is well under the 20 to 30 mil excessive limit, and there has been no need for a bearing adjustment.
The purchase of the new shaft sleeve for Unit 4 was canceled, saving significant dollars. Osage plant engineers have converted two more units to the lignum vitate bearings and plan to replace the remaining synthetic bearings as they wear out in the future.
Welcome back, old friend!