Development of the Hydrostatic Bearing Mechanism evolved from the caisson thickener design. Conventional thickener mechanisms are driven by gearing which rides on ball or roller type anti-friction bearings. It would not be feasible to use this method of support with a very large diameter bearing, especially with high torque, vertical and unbalanced loads. Additional stresses are produced in large bearings by temperature changes in machine tolerances. These stresses make proper design and fabrication costly and operating difficult. It is also important to note with large thickeners that the loads increase by an exponential function as the diameter increases.
The basic principle involved in the hydrostatic bearing design is simple. The main gear is attached to a movable continuous runner that passes over a series of stationary pads. An oil film, capable of supporting the load, is maintained between the two surfaces. A separate hydrostatic journal bearing system is incorporated to stabilize the runner in a horizontal direction. The motion between the two surfaces is slow due to the speed required for thickener operation and no dynamic force is present to sustain the loads. For this reason, an external source is used to maintain the pressure. The term hydrostatic is used because ….Read more