February 20, 2018
Plain Bearings for Aerospace Applications Article
Aerospace & Defense Technology, an engineering magazine that covers advances in aerospace and...
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AT A GLANCE
With the continual pressure of global competition, companies must always be on the lookout for cost savings in order to keep their prices low. To achieve this goal, they often turn to the manufacturing floor for efficiencies and productivity gains. While those efforts are laudable and necessary, they often overlook the opportunity presented by going back even further, to the design stage.
One such company was a manufacturer of centrifugal compressors, which pressurize gas to transport it at a high flow capacity. An integral part of the centrifugal compressor is comprised of inlet guide vane valves to ensure that the gas entering the compressor is directed to the impeller blades at the correct angle. The company had been using four to six bearings per inlet guide vane valve to provide structural support. Looking for improvements, the manufacturer turned to GGB for a bearing solution that allowed a reduction in housing size.
With smaller dimensions than the bearings the manufacturer had been using, GGB’s GAR-MAX® fiber reinforced composite bearings successfully passed the manufacturer’s performance tests and saved money when they began designing compressors with reduced housing sizes.
GAR-MAX® fiber reinforced composite bearings consist of a self-lubricating liner backed by continuously wound high-strength fiberglass. These high-strength fibers provide GAR-MAX® bearings with a high load capacity (210 MPa static load and 140 MPa dynamic load) and the ability to operate in temperatures ranging from -195ºC to 160ºC (-320ºF to 320ºF).
In addition to their great structural strength, GAR-MAX® plain bearings have an inert nature that makes them resistant to corrosive environments and unaffected by common industry gases. This, coupled with their maintenance-free, self-lubricating design, gives GAR-MAX® journal bearings a much longer service life than traditional ball bearings.
GAR-MAX® fiber reinforced composite bearings provide the following benefits over ball bearings when used for inlet guide vane valves:
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