UK company Michell Bearings has invested in a new large vertical bearing test rig.

Costing approximately £100,000, the new rig is a joint venture between Michell, North Wales-based First Hydro Company and Voith Fuji of Japan.

Located in Michell’s research and testing facility in Newcastle, the rig has a capacity of 60 tons, a thrust collar of 1500mm diameter and a 300kW motor, making it one of the largest of its type in Europe. It will also enable the company to test extensively large vertical bearings in realistic operating conditions comparable with those commonly found in hydrogenerators.

Project engineer Dave Knaggs, who will supervise the rig, said: ‘The rig will be run constantly, replicating many different conditions under which our bearings operate. This will enable us to improve upon the performance of existing designs and also test new ones.’