Burlington’s Thordon Bearings wins international Environmental Protection Award

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Published November 27, 2023 at 2:10 pm

IBJ Awards
Thordon Bearings of Burlington won the Environmental Protection Award at last week's IBJ Awards gala in London, England

Burlington’s Thordon Bearings was in the spotlight last Monday in London, England for the International Bulk Journal’s annual gala awards show, with the company capturing the Environment Protection Award – Marine – for its pioneering ThorPlas-Blue grease-free bearings.

The bearings, now installed in eight of Norway-based Wilson Ship Management AS – Europe’s largest shortsea fleet – not only eliminate the risk of pollution from greasing systems, but also offer easy installation and a long, maintenance-free bearing wear life.

Thordon Bearings was also nominated in the Innovative Technology Award category for the same product.

With traditionally designed greased bronze bearings, a hatch cover’s wheel spindles, cleat spindles, hinge pins, hydraulic cylinder protective sheaths, cleat wedges, drive chain sprockets, toothed rack and cylinder spherical bearings typically need to be greased at least once a month to ensure that the hatch covers open and close smoothly. The greasing operation is time consuming and messy and it leads to the risk of grease escaping and polluting the water as well as some safety risks for the seafarers carrying out the work.

“In parallel with decarbonisation, the eyes of the world – not to mention regulators – are focused on shipping in relation to the protection of the ocean and wildlife from pollution of any kind. Thordon Bearings’ environmentally focused products provide the ideal solution to reduce the environmental impact across shipping operations,” said Neil McDonald, Regional Manager – Northern Europe at the gala, held at the nearly 500 year-old Honourable Artillery Company in central London and hosted by British comedian and actor Hugh Dennis.

Already commonplace on vessels in fairleads, capstans, winches, lifeboat davit bearings, cranes, chain hoists, and door and ramp hinge bearing systems, the product has recently begun attracting interest for its effectiveness in the hatch cover systems aboard bulk carriers.

The design of the ThorPlas-Blue product has opened an important new market for us,” noted McDonald. “Thanks to the ability of the elastomeric polymer material in these bearings to withstand very high pressures – up to 45MPa – they are now being successfully installed on the hatch cover wheels of dry bulk vessels.”

Wilson Ship Management AS was among the first bulk carrier operators to select ThorPlas-Blue to replace the greased bronze bearings on the hatch cover wheels of some of its dry cargo vessels. “The feedback to this relatively new application has been very positive and we are experiencing increased interest in ThorPlas-Blue for application on the hatch covers of dry bulk vessels,” McDonald added. “Like all of Thordon’s bearings, the use of Thor-Plas Blue in deck machinery reduces the environmental impact since they require neither lubricating oil nor grease.”

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