Canadian Manufacturing

Dubai Electricity & Water Authority is replacing its pump and valve bearings with Thordon material

OPI hopes to have converted more than 60% of all DEWA pump bearings to ThorPlas-Blue or SXL by the end of 2022.

July 6, 2021  by CM Staff

UAE utilities service replaces pump and valve bearings with Thordon products (Credit: Thordon Bearings)

Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) is a step closer to replacing its industrial pump bearings with grease-free Thordon water lubricated bearing solutions, following the installation of the Canadian company’s technology to desalinate plants across the United Arab Emirates.

In the first six months of this year, Ocean Power International (OPI), Thordon Bearings’ Dubai-based distributor, supplied ThorPlas-Blue and SXL bearings for installation to 20 butterfly valves and 7 brine recirculation and vertical pumps, respectively.

For quite some time now, DEWA has been systematically replacing its traditional bearings with Thordon products at facilities across Dubai. The first retrofit was carried out more than 25 years ago.

OPI Managing Director, Rafid Qureshi said: “After hearing about the issues that DEWA was having with the original bearings, we proposed a solution that included ThorPlas-Blue. After checking load calculations and ensuring operating pressures did not exceed the bearing material’s 45 MPa (6,527 psi) tolerance, we machined and fitted the Thordon bushings. Since that first installation, we have replaced pump and valve bearings at several power generation and desalination plants across Dubai.”

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In 2019 for example, OPI and Thordon completed bearing retrofits at the OPI workshop for a de-mineralization pit pump after fabric lined metal bearings had worn out. And in May last year, 20 vertical pumps and 6 brine recirculation pump isolation valves at the OPI workshop were retrofitted with the Thordon polymer material.

“The bronze bushings originally installed in the vertical pumps were wearing out and causing frequent breakdowns every 6-8 months,” said Qureshi. “Unfortunately, there were multiple components that failed as a result of the bushing failure, forcing DEWA to find a longer lasting, more reliable solution.

ThorPlas-Blue is a proprietary engineered thermoplastic bearing capable of dynamic operating pressures up to 45 MPa (6527 psi) and can be back fit into applications where greased bronze is currently installed. Higher pressures may be possible following a Thordon engineering review.

OPI hopes to have converted more than 60% of all DEWA pump bearings to ThorPlas-Blue or SXL by the end of 2022.

“Thordon’s bearing material certainly fits well with DEWA’s commitment to adopting more sustainable, reliable and economically efficient technologies. It can help DEWA maintain a competitive edge while contributing to its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) objectives,” said Qureshi.

DEWA currently has an installed capacity of 12,300 megawatts (MW) of electricity and 1.78 million Kiloliters (470 million gallons) of desalinated water per day, providing its services to over one million customers in Dubai.


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