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Turntable bearing proves pivotal in lighthouse lamp refurbishment

04 July 2016

Marine engineering specialist, Ocean Kinetics, which has an extensive track record in fabrication, oil and gas, renewables, marine works and marine salvage, has taken delivery of a high performance turntable bearing from R.A. Rodriguez (U.K.) Limited to help it refurbish a lighthouse lamp.

Bressay Lighthouse

The bearing was selected thanks to its quality, load-bearing capabilities and short lead-time availability.

Ocean Kinetics was established by John Henderson in 1992, since when it has evolved into £3 million, custom-built, 3,600m² premises at Lerwick on the Shetland Islands. The range of projects undertaken at the company is diverse, so when an opportunity arose to get involved with the refurbishment of the lamp at Bressay Lighthouse, the company was only too willing.

Mr Henderson explains an interesting point in that the original system, constructed in 1858, comprised of a basin filled with mercury in which the light floated to allow almost frictionless rotation. As a result, a very lightweight clockwork mechanism was used to rotate the light.”

However, this configuration was deemed a little hazardous for modern engineering standards and so Ocean Kinetics, which is fully accredited to ISO 9001, ISO 3834-2 and EN 1090 quality management systems, approached R.A. Rodriguez to supply a suitable bearing-only solution.

After a full assessment of the application by Dave Young, Northern Area & Product Manager at R.A. Rodriguez, it was suggested that a gearless turntable bearing from the company’s KDL.U series would offer the ideal solution thanks to its quality and load capacity capabilities. In addition, the 948mm (external flange diameter) bearing could be supplied within the required two-week timescale.

Mr Henderson says even though the turning part of the lamp weighed several hundred kilograms and it was not an easy task to replace the mercury, the turntable bearing from R.A. Rodriguez is now successfully mounted in the slightly curved basin above the pedestal.

KDL series four-point contact bearings have met requirements in various approved and economical turntable applications for many years. These bearings are robust and proven in the toughest applications, ensuring that axial/radial loads and tilting moments can be absorbed. According to Ocean Kinetics, the bearing produced a nice feel when rotated, which is an indication of its build quality. This is particularly important in lighthouse lamps where continuous, steady movement is a prerequisite.

Turntable Bearings – background

A bearing is generally used to allow controlled relative motion between two parts. This will usually be in a linear or rotary movement. Different bearing types will allow for different movements, and so the classifications will be vast. A turntable will provide the framework that will transit the load to the bearings.

Turntable bearings can accommodate axial, radial and moment loads. R.A. Rodriguez Ltd is one of the leading companies providing bearing and precision components to the UK, Scandinavian and Irish market. Derived from USA based R.A. Rodriguez Inc., which was established in 1929, the offshore business now acts as a representative for leading manufacturers that supply to this field.

Unlike linear bearings which are housed or mounted on a shaft, turntable bearings are mounted directly to a seating surface. There are several different types of turntable bearings. Standard turntable bearings feature a single row of ball bearings, a standard bearing raceway, and four points of contact between the balls and the raceway. Double row turntable bearings will effectively double those figures of standard turntable bearings, and triple row turntable bearings are also available.

R.A. Rodriguez offers lightweight turntable bearings in a range of varying diameters. These can be geared or ungeared, depending on the use of the turntable bearing. R.A. Rodriguez also offers a service where if a customer requires a turntable bearing for a design or configuration not shown, will create a custom bearing design for them. 

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