As the national oil company of South Africa, PetroSA plays a critical role in the nation´s petroleum chain activities, from exploration and production of oil and natural gas to operating the world´s first gas-to-liquid (GTL) refinery at Mossel Bay.
During a routine statutory shutdown of PetroSA’s offshore FA Platform in Mossel Bay, existing Cutless® rubber bearings in the vertical main seawater lift pumps were replaced with Thordon grease-free SXL pump bearings. The statutory shutdown is part of PetroSA’s operating permit that allows opportunity for inspection and repair of critical equipment in order to ensure its integrity. Thordon’s strong and recognizable global brand is known for high quality and superior performance, eliminating oil and grease from bearing applications in ships, hydro-turbines, vertical pumps, and many other industrial applications, so PetroSA felt secure in knowing they could trust this partnership.
In total, twenty Thordon bearings were supplied for their 128-foot vertical Ingersoll-Dresser pump, which included seventeen shaft line bearings and three bowl bearings. The initial need to overhaul the pump came from the poor performance experienced with the Cutless® rubber bearings. The hope was to use the existing spiders even though they were worn from the previous rubber bearings turning in the housing.
The local Thordon distributor, Alignment with Laser (AWL); pump manufacturer, Flowserve; along with Thordon engineering were able to create a solution that did not require new spiders to be purchased. Using the existing spiders, even though they had experienced wear, dramatically reduced the cost on the project. If the decision had been to go back to Cutless® rubber bearings, new spiders would have been mandatory since they had worn to over the standard size.
Thordon SXL pump bearings are easy to machine and install. The bearings were machined at a local machine shop to the sizes that were generated by the Thordon Bearings Sizing Calculation Program and dry ice was used for quick and easy installation of the bearings into the housing. PetroSA was on hand to witness the first bearing being installed, and to verify the fit of the bearing into the housing. With the success of this project, PetroSA are looking at other applications to incorporate Thordon grease-free SXL bearings.
PetroSA was pleased with the new bearings and versatility they offer. Thordon Bearings Inc. designs and manufactures a complete range of polymer bearing and shaftline products for the marine, clean power generation, pump, offshore, and industrial markets.◆
For More Information:
Craig Carter is the director of marketing and customer service for Thordon Bearings Inc. Thordon Bearings Inc., a Thomson-Gordon Group company, is a family-owned company that operates a state-of-the-art polymer processing plant, as well as in-house design, CAD, and New Product Development facilities in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. They manufacture to ISO 9001:2008 Quality System requirements. An extensive distribution network has been established in over eighty countries to service its global customer base. The company is headquartered at 3225 Mainway, Burlington, Ontario L7M 1A6. For more information, call 905.335.1440 or visit
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