Published 12-11-2020
| Article appears in November 2020 Issue

Gliding structural bearings deliver extreme performance


Custom-fabricated structural bearings are being introduced by Hercules Engineering for extremely high stress applications requiring outstanding load-bearing performance, even in compact or wet spaces of buildings and industrial structures.

The latest Herculon™ structural bearings are manufactured by integrating H-Glide fibre-reinforced composite pads sliding on 2B finish stainless steel to achieve an exceptionally low sliding coefficient of friction compared with other engineering bearing materials.

Unlike metal bearings that may rust or require continual lubrication and maintenance, the environmentally safe yet hard-wearing H-Glide bearing pads are dry sliding and will not release contaminants into surrounding environments or adjacent processes.

Mr David Booty, manager, Hercules Engineering (a division of Cut To Size Plastics Pty Ltd) said: “H-Glide’s excellent sliding properties (including friction coefficients from 0.05 – 0.1) are invaluable to architects, engineers and specifiers because lower coefficients of friction will transfer less stress onto the load bearing structural components when the bearing does its job of protecting them against surrounding movement.”

Hercules Engineering and Cut To Size Plastics provide a wealth of experience and application guidance, based on almost 50 years of operation in Australasian and Asia-Pacific regions in applying engineering polymer technology to construction, infrastructure, food and beverage, energy, mining, manufacturing, maritime, oil and gas, safety and water and wastewater applications.

“With their incompressible H-Glide sliding layer, these bearings can withstand extreme point pressures of 350-500 megapascals, depending on bearing design and application,” Mr Booty said.

“This outstanding performance – which is up to 40 times greater than conventional water-resistant and non-lubricated fibre-reinforced elastomeric bearing pads – is complemented by the material’s ability to function well in a variety of environments including, but not limited to, damp or under water applications. It is suitable for:

Construction, infrastructure, engineering and architectural projects involving high point loads on bearings, including commercial, retail and public infrastructure ranging from health facilities to parking stations
Oil process and production platform applications, as well as resource development infrastructure and mineral processing plants subject to changing operational loads and ambient conditions
Maritime and logistics structures, port and rail facilities, water and wastewater environments requiring a combination of high engineering performance combined with environmental compatibility
Energy structures, including wind, wave and tidal power generators, where bearings must provide outstanding performance over varying loads for extended periods.
Industrial and manufacturing process plant, including food and beverage, plant and process engineering applications requiring low maintenance, with high requirements for safety and hygiene
 “A major advantage of this type of composite bearing is that they do not require lubrication, which minimises any disruption to processes,” Mr Booty said. “H-Glide bearings’ already excellent lifespans can be increased by the use of a mirror polished stainless steel sliding plate.

“Absorption of water and other fluids is negligible. The material is virtually inert, reactions with food and cleaning substances, for example, almost never occur,” Mr Booty said.

The company’s standard ranges of Herculon™ structural bearings and Hercuslip™ composite slip joints are widely proven product designs that have performed over decades since 1972 in applications ranging from landmark metropolitan construction projects, through to major international industrial and resources projects.

The new custom bearings that incorporate H-Glide are a new extreme performance addition to Hercules Engineering’s easily installed and cost-effective range of products that gives architects, engineers and specifiers a high performance and more durable bearing option.

Hercules Engineering’s latest example of bearings incorporating H-glide was in a shopping centre roof which required extreme load-bearing capacity in a confined space, as close as possible to the axis of the load.

The H-Glide bearing pad is available in different formulations, including conductive materials. It is equally suitable for a wide variety of high-load structures requiring extreme load-bearing capability combined with non “stick-slip” behaviour, where static and kinetic coefficient of sliding friction are virtually equal.

“By using new generation composite formulations, H-Glide bear­ings allow the highest loads, with ultra-low wear rates and friction values,” Mr Booty said. “The material is resistant to a majority of common industrial chemicals and environments, whether it is immersed in water or used in dry applications, or anywhere in between, from freezing to tropical conditions.”


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