A San Diego hydroelectric plant has been operating with Vesconite Hilube wicket gate bushings since August 2022.
Hollow bar for the bushings was ordered from Vesconite Bearings’ warehouse in Richmond, Virginia, by a Washington State hydro company that specializes in servicing and overhauling older hydro-electric turbines.
The Washington company machined the wicket gate bushings and commissioned the hydro plant, together with the wicket gate bushings. These act as the pivot points for vanes that direct the water flow to hit the turbine at an optimal angle.
The service company has indicated that the wicket gate bushings are performing well and has since ordered enough hollow bar to machine another set of bushings, and one set of wicket gate bushings fully machined by Vesconite Bearings.
This San Diego project, like some other projects for which Vesconite Hilube has been ordered, is an older hydroelectric turbine that has historically used a greased bronze system ⎻ a traditional bearing material that is found in many of the more advanced-age hydroelectric plants.
The service company wanted to move away from greased bronze because greased systems are difficult to maintain; notorious for leaking, polluting, and failing; and generally require maintenance-intensive seals.
These are some of the reasons why older hydro-turbine projects are increasingly being refurbished with novel materials, including no-swell, self-lubricating Vesconite Hilube bushings.
For quick despatch and time-sensitive projects, Vesconite Bearings’ Richmond warehouse is a preferred option, particularly for hydro companies operating in the US.
Where project consultants have sufficient lead times and are in the preliminary design stages, Vesconite Bearings’ turnkey machining of wicket gate bushings is often chosen.