Graphite Metallizing Corporation of Yonkers, New York, has been solving tough bearing problems for over one hundred years. The company began in 1913 when two engineers developed a method for putting molten metal into carbon to create a new material called Graphalloy®, a graphite/metal alloy. Used in the manufacture of bushings, bearings, and other components for machinery and process equipment, Graphalloy materials are self-lubricating, impervious to temperature extremes from -400 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit (-240 to 400 degrees Celsius) and thrive in harsh environments where other bearings fail. Special grades provide reliable service up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit (535 degrees Celsius) and higher in non-oxidizing atmospheres.
High temperature, self-lubricating Graphalloy bearing materials are uniquely suited to help control volatile gas burn-off flares at oil and natural gas production sites. This innovative development resulted from a customer requirement to overcome design problems in a control linkage. The high heat of these flares caused bushing lubrication failures and this, in turn, caused flare control systems to fail. These repeated failures resulted in unacceptable maintenance and replacement costs.
EPA regulations require that oil field flares destroy the volatile organic compounds emitted into the atmosphere in an environmentally friendly manner. To meet these requirements, oil field operators must use flares at their production sites that provide a clean burn. These flares must operate reliably at remote sites under all conditions.
Given the loss of lubrication within the faulty linkage, it became obvious that flare controls and gas burn-offs were not meeting EPA regulations nor providing “clean” burns. The flare manufacturer tested other bearing materials. None met the challenge until Graphalloy’s high temperature self-lubricating graphite/metal alloy material was tested, approved, and put to work.
Result? The custom produced bearings were retrofitted to thousands of existing flares and are now standard on new systems. Today, the bearings operate successfully–no stoppages!
Other industrial applications have experienced success with Graphalloy in high temperatures. A mill reclaiming metals such as titanium feeds metal powders into a drum heated to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit (816 degrees Celsius). The drive shaft spinning the drum is supported by two Graphalloy Pillow Blocks. In addition, Graphalloy Bushings are in the twelve wheels that support the drum as well as the worm gear. This application demonstrates the ability of the bushings to perform in extreme temperatures.
Also, a Midwestern steel mill was using these bushings for the horizontal rollers in their cooling beds. The bushings were thriving under severe heat and water spray conditions. Because of the success with the horizontal rollers, the mill wanted to consider Graphalloy Flange Bearings for another application: the vertical guide rollers along the sides of the cooling beds used to keep the hot steel from running off the sides. Guide rollers remain static until a piece of hot steel slams up against them, at which time they are expected to turn instantly to guide the steel back onto the cooling bed. This mill had been using conventional greased rolling element bearings in the vertical guides that were lasting only a few months. Based on the success with the vertical rollers, the mill has since retro-fitted additional lines with Graphalloy.
Graphalloy can be the solution to the toughest bearing, bushing, thrust washer, cam follower, or pillow block bearing design problem. It is available in over one hundred grades with specific properties that meet a wide range of engineering solutions and specifications. FDA accepted grades of Graphalloy are available for food contact equipment. NSF® International has certified two grades of material for use in municipal well pumps and water treatment plant applications. In some applications, Graphalloy bearings have operated for up to twenty years without maintenance. Standard designs are available but most products are custom designed to the unique requirements of the specific application. ISO 9001:2008 certified as well as NSF/ANSI 61 certified, the company serves a broad range of industries with standard and custom quality bearings, bushings, and related products. ■
Eric Ford is the vice president of sales and marketing at Graphite Metallizing Corporation. He can be reached at or 914.968.8400. For more information, visit
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