A 7506 TEU container ship left Drydocks World-Dubai (DDW) with the largest rudder bearing ever made by Thordon Bearings.
The 2001-built vessel, operated by a European owner, was fitted with a 1230mm (4ft) long and 1111mm (3.6ft) diameter SXL bearing after the bronze rudder bearing of original vessel had to be replaced due to excessive wear.
Thordon’s authorized distributor in the United Arab Emirates – Ocean Power International (OPI) – has been contacted by DDW to offer an alternative rudder bearing solution, with OPI recommending Thordon’s greaseless SXL polymer bearing.
With the rapid supply of material that can be installed during the vessels planned dry-docking being a key decision criterion, Thordon and OPI mobilized to produce and deliver the bearing in record time.
From receipt of order, it took just three days to fabricate, ship, deliver, machine and install the record bearing using liquid nitrogen during the twelve-day dry-docking in November.
The owner has also benefited from Thordon’s unique 15-year lifetime rudder bearing wear warranty, which covers the supply of a replacement should the bearing wear out and require renewal within 15 years of the facility.
Rafid Qureshi, Managing Director of OPI based in Dubai, explained: “The Thordon plant in Burlington produced the self-lubricating polymer material in less than 24 hours. The bearing was then loaded onto a scheduled Emirates Airlines flight to Dubai, where UAE Customs quickly cleared the product, delivered and installed within a further 24 hours.
“Ocean Power International is considered a critical service provider to the UAE marine industry, so we are getting priority approval on equipment for Dubai dry docks. DDW couldn’t believe it was made, shipped and delivered in just three days. The CEO called me personally to thank us for the speed of execution.
Scott Groves, Vice President of Sales, Thordon Bearings, said: “The owner is very pleased with the 24/7 customer service provided by Thordon Bearings and OPI. Rafid and his team often deliver bearings for critical and urgent projects in the early hours of the morning, but this is the first time they have delivered a bearing of this size…and in record time.
“Using grease-free deck gear and rudder bearings fits perfectly with the owner’s commitment to protecting the environment and the health and safety of its employees.
“Since it is no longer necessary to grease our bearings, the associated labour, costs and source of pollution are eliminated. Internal lubricants formulated into the material reduce friction, resulting in smoother, longer lasting, grease-free bearing operation.
Thordon’s SXL material has a lower modulus of elasticity than other non-metallic bearings, which results in significantly increased vibration damping, adaptation to edge loads and better shock resistance. This reliability and performance is evident with nearly 4500 applications of rudder bearings on ships.
OPI is also currently working with DDW on various projects to replace container ship fairleads with Thordon’s greaseless ThorPlas-Blue bearings.
Source: Thordon Bearings