Argentinian hydro projects opt for Vesconite

Two significant Argentinian hydroelectric projects have chosen Vesconite: Central Los Quiroga and Planta Hidroeléctrica Cabra Corral-Salta. Vesconite Hilube replaced bronze wicket gate bushings in 2009 at Central Los Quiroga. The results were very satisfactory, the bushings were reported to still be like new in discussions held in 2019. In addition, five turbines at Planta Hidroeléctrica Cabra Corral-Salta were fitted with Vesconite Hilube in 2011 and were reported to be operating without any problems in 2019.

Vesconite Hilube used on irrigation project

Twenty Vesconite Hilube staves were provided for Drop 4, Unit 2, of GE Hydro’s Imperial Irrigation Project. The Imperial Irrigation District is community owned and provides irrigation water in the south-eastern portion of California’s desert. The housing diameter was 700 mm, shaft diameter 572 mm and the bearing length 940 mm. The Vesconite Hilube replaced rubber staves.

Turbine supplied to Integrated Power Plant and Iron Works

A 5-wing Kaplan wheel turbine that was supplied to Haapakosken Tehdas Oy in 2007 included a Vesconite Hilube bearing with an outside diameter of 225mm, inside diameter of 180mm, and a length of 300mm. The Kaplan turbine provided electricity for this Finnish integrated power plant and iron works, including power-intensive foundry. This old ironworks environment was owned in 2021 by Haapakoski Ruukki and protected by the Finnish National Board of Antiquities. The turbine (including the Hilube bearing) is still working. The electricity is used for the small needs of Haapakoski Ruukki and the rest is sold out to the general net.

Alstom test report

After a long testing campaign where a series of self-lubricating products were tested in the Centre de Technology in Grenoble, France, Vesconite Hilube approved to use in all kinds of Alstom turbines in wicket gates, connecting rods, servomotors, radial and axial segments. This approval is valid worldwide.

The basic results and testing conditions are as follows:

Supplier: Grafimec Bearings Systems – Brazil
Material tested: Vesconite Hilube
Size of bushings: 95 x 80 x 60 mm
Testing conditions:
Test: dry
Temperature: room
Tests duration: 1.800.000 cycles
Specific load: 20 MPa
Speed: 15 mm/s

Wear: ≤0,1 mm
Dynamic friction coefficient: <0,12 

Main turbine bearing fitted with Vesconite Hilube bushings

Argentina – A hydropower plant fitted its turbine with Vesconite Hilube turbine bearings in 2007. The original oil-film main-guide bearings used in the turbine ran the risk of water contamination. Vesconite Hilube proved itself as a superior alternative – hard-wearing, non-water absorbing and self-lubricating. Downtime and maintenance was significantly reduced, with resultant cost-savings.

Hoover Dam pressure relief valves fitted with Vesconite Hilube

USA – Vesconite Hilube has been the preferred choice for the pressure relief valves (PRVs) at the Hoover Dam. Originally designed in the 1930s, the PRV’s divert water around the turbines when flow to the turbines needs to be stopped. Vesconite Hilube was selected to replace the existing cast iron parts, which had oxidised and seized, preventing the valve from functioning. Vesconite Hilube has proved to the ideal material for this application, due to its self-lubricating, hard-wearing, corrosion-free and low slip stick features.

Hoover Dam control-linkage fitted with Vesconite bushings

USA – The link-arms and change ring controlling the wicket gates on America’s Hoover Dam demanded a maintenance-free self-lubricating bush. The specific bush is subjected to considerable force and has a knock-on effect on the wicket gate system, which ultimately controls waterflow to the dam’s turbines. Vesconite Hilube was supplied, machined and fitted, and has performed flawlessly for the past seven years.

Vesconite Hilube fitted to wicket gates

Canada – A manufacturer of small-scale hydroelectric plants required a hard-wearing bushing material for its wicket gates – aerofoil-shaped blades that control water flow to the hydroelectric turbines. A central shaft runs through the wicket gate and three bushings assist in their rotation. For the past 10 years, the company has successfully fitted Vesconite Hilube bushes to these critical parts, thanks to Vesconite Hilube’s low friction co-efficient, self-lubricating properties and negligible water absorption.

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