AWARDS 2021 | Best Bearings Supplier – Thordon Bearings
Best Bearings Supplier – Thordon Bearings
Canadian-based Thordon Bearings was the pioneer of elastomeric polymer sea-water lubricated shaft bearings some forty years ago. Persuading the conservative maritime world to advance from metal bearings to advanced polymers took time but now Thordon bearings are practically universal. They are suited and fitted to every imaginable type of ship and boat wherever low maintenance and pollution free operation is required.
“The main benefits that owners and operators talk about are the need for little to no maintenance, ease of installation, and their ability to last longer than competitors’ products,” Thordon told Baird Maritime. “Owners and operators can keep their boats in the water longer and avoid costly downtime, and we have various material grades each designed and engineered for different operating environments.”
One new noteworthy product that the company introduced in the past year was the Thordon “Pucker Seal”. It is manufactured from a tough polymer and is designed to keep out abrasives such as sand and grit from the rudder trunk, which will provide a longer bearing life.
“Although it’s a small product, it has caught on quickly with workboat owners and operators on US inland waterways.”
Thordon said it is also close to launching a new TG100 shaft seal design that is shorter and weighs less than the company’s original design. The new design will still include the unique safe return to port feature, which Thordon claims will provide an element of safety, protecting both the crew and vessel in situations where the seal is badly damaged: “TG100 seals have [already] saved two different vessels from sinking,” noted the company.
Even with the lingering Covid-19 pandemic, Thordon described 2021 as a “strong year” for the company in the workboat sector, leading it to adopt an optimistic outlook for 2022.
“Along with the sales of our RiverTough tailshaft bearings, we have seen a lot more interest in our TG100 shaft seals over the last year. Our ThorPlas-Blue material is also performing quite well in steering gear systems since it not only eliminates grease, but also lasts significantly longer than greased metal bearings.
“We are also continuing to add inventory to our US warehouses to be able to respond quickly to our customers along US inland waterways. We are also eager to add to our sales staff in the southern US to strengthen our presence and better serve this market.”
Reducing environmental impact will be a major factor in the bearing industry now and in the future, the company explained.
“With sustainability on the minds of many businesses, and only growing in importance, it will be vital that ship owners choose the right technologies in order to reduce their environmental impact,” Thordon told Baird Maritime.
There is therefore significant effort being made to make vessels grease and oil-free without compromising longevity. To that end, Thordon continues to manufacture bearings that eliminate oil and grease including seawater lubricated tailshaft bearings and grease-free rudder and deck equipment bearings.
“As pressures are put on businesses to be more efficient, meet their demands, and grow, shipowners and operators will continue to look for bearing suppliers that can deliver and provide quality products,” the company added.