Upgrading Marginal Thrust Bearings

One of the most common causes of unscheduled hydraulic turbine shutdowns is the failure of thrust bearings, commonly referred to as “a wipe.” Under pressure to restore the unit to service, a decision is made to replace the failed bearing with another bearing of the same design, setting the stage for a new failure.

The author discusses an excellent alternative in PTFE pads that are a modification of flat type bearings to tilting pad type. The installation of the modified bearing does not involve structural changes and is not costly. In addition, load carrying capacity of the upgraded bearing is estimated to double.

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