Optimized to Your Operating Conditions
Pumps are built in a wide variety of sizes and types, from nuclear primary to electric submersible – demanding a wide range of bearing designs. Whatever the design, Waukesha Bearings can provide an optimized bearing solution.
Among our specialties is the application of non-oil-lubricated bearings, which can improve pump performance and reliability, eliminate lubrication oil systems and shaft seals, reduce pump size and weight, reduce power consumption, eliminate the potential for product contamination, and eliminate potential leakage of a hazardous fluid to the environment.
For larger pumps, the typical bearing design is an oil-lubricated tilt pad bearing with babbitt pads and fitted with seals. Steel pad backings can be upgraded to copper chrome backings to increase the amount of heat conducted away from the bearing surface.
Smaller pumps frequently use water or process lubrication to simplify the design; their bearings typically feature polymer or ceramic materials.
Click the links below to read more about our specialized design features for journal and thrust bearings.
In applications lubricated by water or process fluid, bearing materials need to be both chemically resistant to the fluid and able to operate with thin films.
With clean fluid, polymer bearings provide an inert solution with high load capacity. Solid polymer bearings can handle loads up to 10 MPa (1500 psi) in clean water and have been used successfully in reverse osmosis pumps, boiler feed pumps and mine-dewatering pumps.
Where abrasives are present, ceramic/cermet bearings provide a durable option, without requiring a filter system. For this reason, they have been used extensively in water injection pumps in the North Sea.
Ceramic/cermet bearings are also resistant to most chemicals and retain their mechanical properties and load carrying capacity over a greater range of temperatures than polymers.
Expanded Capabilities in Oil Lubrication
Polymer-lined bearings operate on very thin hydrodynamic films to meet the demand for high load capacity and long life, and are widely used in multi-phase booster pumps and water injection pumps.
Ceramic bearings are used successfully in crude oil booster pumps, cryogenic pumps and subsea pumps.
Intro to Bearing Materials
The selection of the bearing materials plays a significant role in the performance of fluid film bearings. Load, speed, operating temperature, insulation requirements, and lubricant type and cleanliness may all play into the material choice.
Download our “Introduction to Fluid Film Bearing Materials” for an overview of material characteristics, benefits and limitations in fluid film bearing use.
Thrust Bearings for ESPs
Waukesha Bearings offers a range of material options to maximize thrust bearing life in electric submersible pumps (ESPs), increasing efficiency, production and the operating life of the pump.
Waukesha Bearings horizontal bearing assemblies include highly customized journal or combination journal and thrust bearings designed to interface with an external pressurized oil system or operate fully self-contained. The self-contained assembly has the advantage of allowing for a more compact pump assembly.
Our vertical bearing solutions can be customized with options such as cooling arrangements, electrical insulation, hydrostatic lift provisions and instrumentation.
Flexure Pivot® Journal Bearings
For integrally geared pumps, our Flexure Pivot tilt pad design can provide the stability of a tilt pad bearing in the space of a sleeve bearing. In addition the integral pad-pivot-retainer design minimizes manufacturing tolerance stack-up and eliminates pivot wear – further improving stability.
Active Magnetic Bearings
Active magnetic bearings (AMBs) eliminate lubrication requirements altogether while offering unmatched diagnostic capabilities for pumps. Canned AMB designs can even allow the bearings to be submerged in corrosive process fluids. Further, by eliminating oil shear, oil churning losses and pumping loss, magnetic bearings can provide significant increases in mechanical efficiency.
- Plain Bearing Options for Pumps (World Pumps, June 2002)
- New Bearing Designs Meet Demands for Extended Pump Operating Life (Modern Pumping Today, February 2015)
- Present Limits of Operation of Product Lubricated and Magnetic Bearings in Pumps (Proceedings of the 14th International Pump Users Symposium, 1996)
- Bearings for Pumps (11th International Pump Conference, Cambridge, April 1989)