Workboat experts discuss how to eliminate grease from workboats and save money in a series of online seminars

Jul 6, 2020

Thordon Bearings will run a series of web-based seminars exploring how workboat operators can reduce operational costs while improving crew safety through the use of mechanical shaft seals as well as grease-free bearings in their steering gear and deck machinery systems.

In the first of a series of three 45-minute technical webinars, to be broadcast on July 16th 2020, at 10:00 EDT, Jason Perry, Thordon’s territory manager, US Inland Waterways, will present case studies showing how operators have improved crew safety and reduced workboat maintenance costs by replacing tailshaft ‘stuffing boxes’ with mechanical seals.

“Understanding how the tailshaft sealing system has evolved over the years can help boat owners save money and reduce downtime, as well as keeping their crews safer,” said Perry.

Perry, will present the webinar series with colleague Jim Bright, who has over 40 years of experience working on vessels on the US Inland Waterways.  Together, they will explore the bilge water, greased packing, maintenance and shaft wear challenges owners face when operating stuffing boxes in silty/sandy waterways and how these issues can be easily resolved with a mechanical seal. 

“This webinar will address many of the maintenance and cost issues associated with using a stuffing box for tailshaft sealing by showing real life examples of the transformation of the shaft alley resulting in a tail shaft mechanical seal conversion,” said Perry.

Technical information on how to replace greased bearings and bushing in rudder stocks, steering gear and deck machinery will be covered in follow up webinars planned for August 11th and September 15th, respectively.

Jim Bright, Thordon’s Business Development Manager, US Inland Waterways, said: “Greased bronze bushings have been used for rudders and rotating machinery, such as winches and windlasses, for many years, but the technology is out of sync with requirements for environmental and crew safety. Developments in polymer technology, together with new environmental regulations, means that non-metallic/grease-free bearing solutions are the new standard for workboats.”

He added: “We aim to show operators how cost-effective it is to make the switch and explain how other U.S. operators of the grease-free system have solved the safety, environmental and technical issues they encountered with outdated technology. Switching to grease-free bearings and bushings also reduces the risk of injury caused by slipping on a greasy deck,” said Bright.

This series of technical webinars have been developed with boat owners, naval architects, port engineers and shipyard teams very much in mind. They are based on the 35 years’ experience Thordon has designing and manufacturing environmentally-safe polymer bearings and mechanical seals for a multitude of maritime sectors across more than 100 countries.