Referring to Inland Barge Service’s push boat Ramona, which has been operating with RiverTough since 2007, Groves said: “After nine years of operation in the harsh, abrasive waters of Alaska’s Yukon River, Ramona’s RiverTough water-lubricated tailshaft bearing emerged completely free of wear and tear.
“When the owner drydocked the vessel to carry out hull repairs, the RiverTough bearing and sleeves had no appreciable wear and tear, which was amazing considering the environment in which Ramona operates.”
Groves said that Thordon Bearings also has data from workboats operating on the Mississippi showing typical RiverTough bearing wear rates of 0.075mm to 0.100mm (0.003” to 0.004”) in 6,000 to 7,000 hours of annual use.
“This provides clear evidence of RiverTough’s superior wear life in very abrasive water conditions. They routinely outlast rubber bearings by a factor of two or more,” he said.
Thordon showcased its TG100 Shaft Seal at the International Workboat Show. Since its market introduction, Thordon Bearings has supplied more than 180 TG100 seals to operators of a wide range of vessels, including workboats, naval patrol vessels, ferries, yachts, tugs and tow boats.
A unique feature of the TG100 is the emergency seal that permits stand-alone operation to allow the vessel to safely return to the nearest port, preventing permanent seal damage. The unique omega ‘Ω’ shape of the proprietary elastomeric bellows minimizes torsional vibration and maintains the required spring force throughout the allowable range of axial shaft movement. This elastomeric bellows has no shelf life and no scheduled replacement.
“While the TG100 seal is effective as a stand-alone installation, the optimum solution is in combination with our water-lubricated RiverTough tailshaft bearings, which have now been installed to more than 400 vessels,” said Groves.