Advanced Ceramic Shafts and Bearings in Circulator Pumps

With an annual production of approximately 16 million pump units a year and manufacturing operations in >12 countries Grundfos is one of the most recognised and respected pump manufacturers in the world. Dedicated to making its products as reliable and durable as possible, Grundfos works with partners, education institutions and suppliers to research and develop the best pump technology for its products. One of the longest relationships of this kind is with Morgan, which supplies the manufacturer with bearings, shafts and washers for its circulator pumps.

Case Study – Ceramic Bearings for Circulator Pumps

Circulator pumps are used in central and district heating systems and domestic service systems. They need to be able to run quietly and consistently for long operational periods - often up to 5,000 hours a year. As part of its on-going work to improve its products, Grundfos realised that the traditional steel-shaft/carbon bearings used in the pump were having a direct impact on the pump's longevity and noise.

The Advantage of Using Ceramic Bearings

Bearings are critical to the pump's performance and in order for us to offer products with a maintenance-free 15 year lifetime we needed to find a material that could rotate within the water - which contains abrasive wear particles created by corrosion in the heating plant - without excessive wear. By using ceramic, we know there will be no increased bearing clearance and therefore no noise increase over time and that the pump will meet and exceed its lifetime expectations.

Preben Jakobsen, Technical Manager, Grundfos

The Disadvantage of Carbon Steel Bearings

Other bearing systems are made of steel shafts and carbon bearings. This material combination does not offer optimum abrasive wear resistance to the most common abrasive wear particle - black iron oxide - which is present in heating plants containing mild steel parts. These bearings become increasingly worn resulting in increased noise levels and in some cases, maintenance requirements.

Alumina Bearings

During its research into alternative materials, Grundfos became aware of Morgan Advanced Materials and its technical ceramics capability. The companies began working together to establish which material would be best suited to the application and the result is the inclusion of Morgan’s HiloxTM alumina shafts and bearings within the pump.

Morgan’s knowledge of materials was impressive - and played an important part in our design process. As a result of their efforts to help us identify the best solution we have had a long and successful relationship.

Preben Jakobsen, Technical Manager, Grundfos

Closing Remark

Morgan Advanced Materials also supplies seals, bearings and thrust bearings for other Grundfos products including its submersible, centrifugal and composite pumps and is working with Grundfos on more diverse and innovative pump technologies such as dosing pumps.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Morgan Advanced Materials.

For more information on this source please visit Morgan Advanced Materials.

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