A bearing is a common but very important component used in a wide range of machines in different industries. Marine is one such industry. Composite bearings are an important component of marine hardware. Ship-building is a huge and one of the oldest industries in the world. The industry is continuously working to improve operating efficiencies. Another important goal of the development in the industry is enhancing safety. Though ships provide the cheapest way to move goods. This industry still needs to reduce costs involved in construction, repair, service and maintenance. The material and components used in the construction of ships play an important role in improving efficiency, safety and reducing costs.
Traditionally, most marine bearing applications have used bronze. The number of marine applications using composite bearings has increased. The industry now has better materials to use. Advancements in the composite bearings material have provided the following benefits to ships manufacturers and owners:
- Lower coefficient of friction
- Environment friendly
- Higher compressive load capacity
- Propulsion and Steering systems
- Suitability for salt or freshwater
- Easy to machine complex shapes
With composite materials, you need less maintenance solutions. This improves oil and grease systems, prevents galvanized corrosion and provides other benefits. Composite materials provide better operation, efficiency and longevity of marine bearings. From deck equipment to ship maneuvering systems, almost all marine systems use bearings.
Marine Bearings Applications
Marine bearings have both under-water and above-water applications. Rudders, ship hulls, propeller shafts and there are many other below-water applications of composite bearings. Similarly, roller bearings, hatch cover and there are many other above-water applications of marine bearings. Ships use marine bearings of different sizes. There are composite marine bearings with a diameter of one inch. Ship propeller scales and other huge-scale applications use bearings diameter exceeding 30 inches.
Advantages of Composite Materials
It is important to reduce maintenance requirements and downtime of marine bearings. At the same time, it is also important to improve the performance of marine bearings. This is the reason why the industry is using bearings made from composite materials. Composite materials provide you with a better alternative to traditional wood or bronze bushings. These materials help in alleviating lubricant discharges. Composite materials also prevent galvanized corrosion.
Rudder and propeller shaft composite bearings are ideal replacements for wood, rubber-lined and bronze bushings. Machined axial grooves in composite bearings provide better lubrication and water flow. Composite bearings can improve the following operations:
Lubricant discharges highlighted the need for a better solution to oil and grease systems. Lubricants that are good for the environment can be used. However, water-lubricated composite alternatives are better options than oil and grease bearings.
Ship Maneuvering Systems
Ships have side thrusters to make ship docking safe and controllable. Traditionally, the industry has used greased bronze bearings in the side thrusters. Bearings made from water-lubricated composite materials reduce vibration, promote quiet smooth operation and also extend the bearings’ life.
Many deck equipment applications now use composite in the place of bronze.