Wave Machine Bearing: Case Study

Posted on 2017/09/22 | Cliff | Our Projects

Eclipse can provide long-lasting composite bearings for any application — even water park attractions.

Eclipse provides seal solutions for many different industries, including water parks and marine equipment.

This case study explores an Eclipse seal and parts solution for an attraction at the Denver-based water park, Water World.

The Client’s Issue

Water World approached Eclipse with the need for a new type of bearing to increase the longevity and reliability of the wave machine parts.

The wave machine uses a hinged ‘paddle’ hydraulic swing in a swimming pool to make gigantic waves for tubers and swimmers to enjoy.

The paddle had bronze bushings, which has traditionally been a common material for these pieces of equipment.

Apart from friction-induced wear, the main problem with the bronze bushings was point loading.

The rigidity of the bronze bushing and trunnion (hinge) pin meant the contact pressure between the two parts was on a concentrated line where they pressed against each other. This pressure caused premature wear of the bushing.

The Eclipse Solution

Eclipse designed a retrofit bushing for the wave machine using non-metallic fabric-reinforced polyester/resin material with a high compressive strength of 45-50,000 psi.

The bushing is also flexible and spreads the contact load between the trunnion pin and bushing, which avoids point loading.

This form of bearing spreads the load around approximately 40% of the bearing surface.

The composite material also had the advantage of being self-lubricating in water, with a low friction coefficient. The combination of these features minimized wear on the bushing significantly.

The design of the Eclipse retrofit bushing is shown below:

The bushing is depicted in blue, exposed by cutting away part of the grey clamp to show the diagonal slit that allows expansion and contraction.

Long-Standing Benefits of Alternative Bushings

Water World now enjoys problem-free wave machine operation with their new non-metallic bushing designed by Eclipse.

The new bushing lasts 4-5 times longer than the old bronze bushing — instead of needing several bushings per year, it’s now a matter of years per bushing.

Customers now enjoy the wave pool with less down-time for maintenance, and Water World spends less money on repair labor and dealing with unwanted pool draining.

Broader Applications of Alternative Bearing Materials

Eclipse has access to an extensive array of bearing materials that can be precisely optimized for a range of both underwater and dry applications.

Primary examples are trunnion pins for bridges and dams, due to their ability to handle high loads without point loading.

Contact us to find out more about reliable, long-lasting composite bearings for your application.