Carbon graphite shortage prompts search for alternative bearings

22 August 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201811295

Import / Export
Motors, Drives & Transmissions
Pumps, Valves, Pipes & Fittings

A graphite shortage has meant that manufacturers of submersible motors and pumps are switching to impact and wear-resistant Vesconite bearings.

That’s according to Vesconite technical sales representative Eddie Swanepoel, who revealed that he has received enquiries for the switch from carbon graphite to Vesconite for sleeve and thrust bearings and mechanical seals for submersible motors and for line-shaft bushings and wear rings for submersible pumps.

This follows what clients describe as a global shortage of six grades of carbon graphite, including those impregnated with resin, white metal, bronze and antimony, which are produced by manufacturers as tubes, rods, sheets and finished machined items.

The demand for carbon graphite has increased dramatically as a result of its use in battery applications, and particularly as a result of the increase in the production of electrical cars.

This has been a boon for Vesconite Bearings, which is keen to match prices and replace carbon in various applications.

According to Swanepoel, Vesconite’s advantages over carbon graphite include that it is easier and more economical to machine. While carbon graphite needs to be produced in a strictly controlled environment, requires lapping and polishing to ensure smoothness, and needs to be glued and baked to adhere to components, Vesconite has no such requirements.

In addition, the low coefficient of friction of Vesconite means that the inclusion of Vesconite components in motors and pumps will result in energy savings.

“Many of the enquiries that we have received this year and last have come from India,” said Swanepoel.

He believes that India is playing an increased role in the global supply of submersible motors and pumps as a result of a closer relationship with the US in the last few months.

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