Mineral processing equipment manufacturer and designer MechProTech has introduced hydrodynamic composite bearings made out of Vesconite thermopolymer plates that are bent into a half moon or quarter moon shape. These are used on the mills – for the fine grinding of mineral ore – and scrubbers – used for the washing and dispersion of clays and agglomerated material, made up of fines and superfines.
The bearings run on an oil film so there is no surface contact between the bearing and the outside support for the mills and the scrubbers, and, as a result, there is no energy-consuming and grinding friction during operation, states MechProTech Sales Manager Wynand Boshoff. “Vesconite is a sacrificial bearing that provides support. If the oil that the bearing runs on breaks down, there is no damage to our equipment,” he says of the benefit of not damaging the more-costly capital equipment processing machinery. The advantages of using Vesconite are not limited to technological ones and also include cost, operational and logistic benefits.
MechProTech notes that the Vesconite hydrodynamic bearings are less costly in this application than white metal bearings, which can be six times more expensive than the thermopolymer bearings. The bearings are also hard wearing and grease free so they require little maintenance in an industry in which machinery downtime can be costly. In addition, they are lighter and more maintenance friendly than the white-metal bearings that they replaced and can be more quickly and easily replaced, comments MechProTech MD Evan Bird.