Waukesha Bearings applies ceramic and cermet (ceramic-metallic composite) materials to thrust and journal bearing designs to extend bearing capabilities in applications where traditional materials and polymers fall short. The extremely hard surfaces of ceramic/cermet bearings can handle corrosive materials, contaminated lubricant and temperatures beyond the limits of polymers and traditional materials.
In addition, ceramic/cermet surfaces are harder than common abrasives, such as sand, and will crush abrasive debris in the lubricant, preventing bearing damage.
Of note, the use of ceramic/cermet requires deliberate material selection for both the rotating and stationary surfaces, especially when abrasives are present or films are extremely thin.
Ceramic/cermet bearings are used successfully in many oil-, water- and process-lubricated pump applications, including:
Water and Process Lubrication
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. Where abrasives are present, ceramic/cermet bearings provide a durable option.
Electric Submersible Pumps
For ESPs operating in SAGD applications, ceramic/cermet thrust bearings can provide a drop-in replacement for existing polymer-lined bearings to increase the operating envelope. The Hidrax™ HT thrust bearing from Waukesha Bearings has a rated unit load capacity of 8 MPa (1160 psi) and can operate in oil bath temperatures in excess of 300°C (572°F).