Thrust bearing redesign for double the load
Jim Ball - Technical Development
Our customer came to us with a big problem. They wanted to re-rate a model of turbine using newer high efficiency turbine blades and increased firing temperatures to produce more power at a higher efficiency. This would also double the turbine’s axial thrust loads, requiring increased bearing capacity.
They asked if Orion could design a bearing to carry double the load but that would fit in the same space as the existing bearing. The original bearing was rated at 445,000 newtons (100,000 pounds) maximum load. Using the latest technology in lubricant delivery, and proprietary Orion bearing programs that expertly predict bearing temperatures, pad bending, and film thickness, we were able to develop a design that increased the bearing capacity to 1,100,000 newtons (250,000 pounds). By testing our product and paying attention to technical details, we have been able to extend capacities for Orion thrust bearings. The new bearing had advanced lubrication features, including the “Orion Controlled Inlet,” which helped the customer improve efficiencies.