Bearings

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Market forces and increasing regulatory demands have exerted considerable pressures on pulp and paper operations. As a result, mills are striving to achieve maximized equipment uptime and optimized plant productivity by focusing on process efficiency and machine reliability.

In modern industry, hundreds of millions of horizontal process pumps move fluids. The larger of these, typically pumps in ranges above 500 kilowatts (kW), incorporate sliding bearings. Except for a relatively small number of pumps with product lubrication or with exotic and expensive bearings, horizontal process pump bearings need oil lubrication.

Some will know from their experience with automobiles that thicker oils, such as Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) 30, are more appropriate for warm summer months. But thinner oils, perhaps SAE 10, can help prepare a vehicle for winter driving. Figure 1 illustrates where these motor oils fit in comparison to the industrial oil designations used today.

Bearings are a vital component in the wastewater industry. Breakthroughs in bearing technologies help wastewater companies extend the life and operational efficiency of critical applications—even when those applications are operating in harsh conditions, with corrosive fluids and under heavy loads.

The Himalayan Mountains tower over some of the most rugged terrain and harshest climate conditions on the planet. Melting snows from Mount Everest, K2 and hundreds of other snow-capped peaks carve out more than 6,000 rivers in Nepal, China, Bhutan, India and Pakistan.

Minimizing pump downtime directly affects the bottom line. Sealless mag-drive and canned-motor pumps, commonplace in the petrochemical and power industries, enhance reliability and reduce emissions and leakage compared with more traditional sealed pumps. The choice between sealless and sealed pumps often involves savings in both time and money.

For any bearing used in rotating machinery, applying best maintenance practices and using the correct enabling tools can help contribute to maximum bearing service life. These practices include proper storage and mounting, adequate lubrication, and close monitoring and inspection that can uncover the root causes of any damage.

Many industries use variable frequency drives (VFDs) with induction motors. Introduced in the 1960s, VFD technology has advanced considerably during the past 50 years.

Despite their simplicity, centrifugal pumps often experience repeat failures that even seasoned maintenance and reliability professionals have trouble preventing.

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For those of you old enough to remember Lawrence Welk, you’ll notice that the title of this brief column is the final quote from his show’s closing song. I am still a loyal fan of his reruns today.

A reciprocating power pump, as depicted in Figure 1, is a displacement machine. It has characteristics that are different than a centrifugal pump.

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