Michell Bearings has secured an order from ANDRITZ Hydro Canada to provide three sets of PTFE thrust pads for the Sir Adam Beck I hydropower station

Situated close to Niagara Falls and operated by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), the station diverts water from the Niagara and Welland rivers which is then released into the lower portion of the Niagara River.

As part of a progressive upgrade programme, Michell Bearings is contracted to supply PTFE thrust pads replacing the current Babbitt solution within two historic turbine generator units.

The PTFE material provides a greater safety factor when compared with the Babbitt alternative. PTFE is more durable and has a well-established and proven track record within the hydropower sector, increasing the life of the bearing by providing greater reliability.

Dave Bonell, OPG’s Senior Manager Renewable Generation Projects, said: “Nearly 100 years ago, the Sir Adam Beck I station in Niagara Falls helped set the standard for 25 Hz frequency, which became the norm across North America, but there is no longer a demand for the 25 Hz power cycle, so it’s time to overhaul and upgrade these two units.

“The new generator units will be lighter and more efficient, and able to make more energy with less water required to pass through the turbine.” Jamie Wright, Sales Director Americas, said: “We were pleased to secure this contract with ANDRITZ in providing our flagship tilting thrust pads to such a symbolic project.”

Due to COVID travel restrictions, an external inspection on the pads was carried out remotely last year with an in person visit scheduled this year.

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