During 31 years of operation, an upstate New York hydro plant had to replace its mechanical water seal ten times. The original seal had a modest life expectancy of a few years, but replacements failed far too quickly. In January 2018, Hydro Tech was called in to find a solution. Click the link to read the full case study from Hydro Tech.
It’s somewhere that no engineer or maintenance team wants to be – staring down the shaft at a failed bearing. Frustrated that it happened again, and at the worst possible time. Yet it happens, more often than anyone in the maritime industry would like. In recent years, it’s been an unfortunate reality, and all that anyone could hope for was that it was discovered while your asset was in port, where you could seek out a quick fix, or furlough your workers until repairs have been made. Maybe, it happened underway, putting your crew and your customer’s cargo at risk, with no easy or quick way to make repairs. Regardless of the circumstance, you’re faced with costly unplanned downtime, mission readiness is compromised, and you have an urgent problem to address, all because of repeated bearing failure and ongoing challenges keeping your assets operationally on point.
You’re not alone. There’s a simple – old school, even – solution that can solve your bearing problems and reduce your spending on ongoing maintenance and component replacements, all while ensuring that your sea-going assets are ready for any situation. A bearing solution that is unmatched in its longevity, reliability and performance in extreme operating environments.
How is Lignum Vitae N.A. doing it? One piece of wood and one ship at a time, with water-lubricated bearings manufactured using genuine lignum vitae material. The original bearing material used in ships dating back to the 1860s, bearings made with lignum vitae material deliver low wear in abrasive water environments and have a high resistance to shock, loading and vibration. Bearings made with lignum vitae material have been documented in the INS Vikramaditya lasting more than 33 years without a single failure and reducing the need for costly ongoing maintenance. Self-lubricating, ABS and DNV-GL certified, lignum vitae bearings and seals also guarantee no harmful discharge, making them ideal for use in blue and brown water environments.
The proof is in the performance and the maritime industry is taking notice. Last year, representatives working on behalf of the Indian Navy reached out to Lignum Vitae N.A. to help ensure the mission readiness of the country’s naval fleet. Their imperative was clear: design a bearing solution that was capable of ensuring mission-critical reliability while also measurably extending the service life of the fleet to 50 years. Lignum Vitae N.A. engineers were able to respond with a bearing solution that not only replaced all of the existing bearings on the INS Vikramaditya, but restored the ship to her original design specifications with stern tube bearings made with lignum vitae material, helping the Indian Navy ensure another 33 years of uninterrupted service for this important asset.
Click to view this Hydro Review article from May 2013
“When the turbine guide bearings installed at several hydroelectric plants in the U.S. suffered short lives and significant wear, the owners turned to lignum vitae material. Their experience has shown that this material, although more costly, can provide longer service life than composite and plastic bearing materials.”
The addition of the Vacuum Pressure Vessel compliments existing processes designed for total saturation to meet and exceed current Marine and Hydro standards.
Total saturation of a water lubricated bearing guarantees 100% reliability of bearing performance required for everything from large to small hydro.
Installation of this vessel has reduced lead times by reliably saturating material in hours and days vs weeks and months. Proper saturation is critical for water lubricated bearings.
This collapsed timeline was proven critical when LVNA was asked to provide 55 thrust and main guide bearings for the 1912 Historic Blewett Falls Hydro Station operated by Duke Energy. LVNA reverse engineered, produced working drawings, manufactured, and delivered in 30 days from PO. These new lignum vitae bearings will continue to produce clean renewable energy for many more decades.
Lignum Vitae North America provides Longevity, Reliability, and Performance to both the Hydro and Marine Industries. Contact us to see how the Lignum Vitae North America personalized approach can lead to the solution for your needs.
This week on Mythbusters Lori Ann and James debunk the lignum vitae availability myth. While walking through the shop they uncovered 500 tons of premium bearing grade material. If you thought you could no longer obtain genuine lignum vitae, THINK AGAIN! #hydro #lignumvitae #bearing #thrustbearings #material
- It’s The Water Temperature
- It’s The Water Condition/Silty
- It’s The Marine Growth
- It’s The Shaft Quality
- It’s The Air Entrainment
A simple and cost-effective way to address ongoing premature failure, degradation and performance problems in polymers is shifting to lignum vitae bearings and seals.
The no-excuse solution lignum vitae is inherently able to adapt to extreme and dynamic operating environments:
- Zero Clearance
- Run of river water, No Filtering*
- Zero Wiping or Smearing of Material
- High Resistance to Shock, Edge Loading/Vibration issues
- Low Coefficient of Friction
- Oil/Grease-Free Operation
- No Hydrolysis Degradation/perfect memory
- Conforms to Worn Shafts
- Only industrial Renewable Bearing
- Mixed-mode of Lubrication/Dry Start & Hydrodynamic
- First water-lubricated bearing – 1854, the same for centuries
Our team of engineers and specialists collaborates with plant operators to understand their unique challenges to design long-term solutions made with lignum vitae. Contact us to see how the Lignum Vitae North America personalized approach can lead to the superior solution for your needs.