GGB Is Leading the Way in Hydropower Bearings From Brazil’s Belo Monte to the Panama Canal

By: | May 3rd, 2018

GGB bearings for locker system in Panama Canal

GGB is known for its robust solutions pertaining to renewable energy applications, most notably in the hydropower industry where the company’s extensive experience and expertise make it second to none.

Currently at the forefront of developing highly customized solutions to meet specific friction challenges, GGB’s recent collaborations include Brazil’s Belo Monte Hydroelectric Power Plant, China’s Xiangjiaba Hydropower Plant, the Son La hydroelectric project in Northwestern Vietnam, and the Panama Canal.

GGB HPF Cylindrical bushes

To say that’s an impressive list would be an understatement.

So what makes GGB a global leader in the hydropower industry?

For starters, GGB’s fiber reinforced composite bearings, which encompass its HPMB®, HPM and HPF® turbine bearings, meet hydropower industry standards for turbine wicket gate applications and the self-lubricating nature of the bearings eliminates the need for additional lubricants capable of contaminating rivers. In addition, GGB’s hydropower bearings will not deform, crack or delaminate under severe conditions often found in hydroelectric installations.

Perhaps the best examples of the high load capacity, excellent shock and edge loading capacity, as well as excellent corrosion resistance of GGB’s HPM and HPF® bearings is their applications in Brazil’s Belo Monte Hydroelectric Power Plant and China’s Xiangjiaba Hydropower Plant.

Currently the third largest hydro plant in the world, the design team behind Brazil’s Belo Monte dam partnered with GGB specifically because of the company’s HPM bearings and HPF® bearing segments for wicket gate service.

Brazil’s Belo Monte (GGB)

Their ability to offer reliable water and debris resistance, on top of withstanding harsh 24-hour operating conditions at the dam, while still providing a minimum service life of 20 years, made GGB’s HPM bearings and HPF® bearings an obvious choice. In addition, these bearings help reduce energy consumption over time which ultimately lowers operating costs and saves money.

China’s Xiangijaba hydropower plant also called upon GGB’s HPM and HPF® bearings for use in its turbine wicket gates, as well as in servomotors and linkages, for the first of four Francis turbines. These bearings enabled smart design of servomotors and their low coefficient of friction guaranteed less force when adjusting the position of the wicket gates during operation.

GGB-DB Cylindrical bushes

Yet another example of GGB’s innovation and attention to detail is the company’s GGB-DB® self-aligning spherical hydro bearings which are environmentally friendly, maintenance-free and offer an extended  service life.

In Northwestern Vietnam’s Son La Hydroelectric Project, the GGB-DB® bearings were installed in the cam rollers within the heavy roller gates to provide ultra-low friction, maximum wear resistance and complete corrosion resistance whereas the Panama Canal’s lock system utilized the GGB-DB® cast bronze hemispherical bearings for refurbishment and expansion of its miter gates.

Thanks to excellent results, GGB was awarded a second contract to supply four additional pintle bearings for underwater miter gates.

In hydropower applications, there is an ongoing cost/benefit analysis that balances the operations, maintenance and fuel costs with the amount of electricity produced. GGB has shown time and time again it will go above and beyond for clients to provide the highest quality low-maintenance parts imaginable in order to improve production and keep operating costs to a minimum.

Learn more about GGB’s hydropower bearings today:

Marshall Smith

Technology, engineering, and design enthusiast.

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