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Slew Ring bearing used in historic lighthouse refurbishment

Turntable Bearing Proves Pivotal in Lighthouse Lamp Refurbishment

Market-leading marine engineering specialist, Ocean Kinetics, which has an extensive track record in fabrication, oil and gas, renewables, marine works and marine salvage, has taken delivery of a high performance turntable bearing from R.A. Rodriguez (U.K.) Limited to help it refurbish a lighthouse lamp. The bearing was selected thanks to its quality, load-bearing capabilities and short lead-time availability.

Ocean Kinetics was established by John Henderson in 1992, since when it has evolved into £3 million, custom-built, 3,600m² premises at Lerwick on the Shetland Islands. The range of projects undertaken at the company is diverse, so when an opportunity arose to get involved with the refurbishment of the lamp at Bressay Lighthouse, the company was only too willing.

“An interesting point is that the original system, constructed in 1858, comprised of a basin filled with mercury in which the light floated to allow almost frictionless rotation,” explains Mr Henderson. “As a result, a very lightweight clockwork mechanism was used to rotate the light.”

However, this configuration was deemed a little hazardous for modern engineering standards and so Ocean Kinetics, which is fully accredited to ISO 9001, ISO 3834-2 and EN 1090 quality management systems, approached RA Rodriguez to supply a suitable bearing-only solution.

After a full assessment of the application by Dave Young, Bearings Product Manager at RA Rodriguez, it was suggested that a gearless turntable bearing from the company’s KDL.U series would offer the ideal solution thanks to its superior quality and load capacity capabilities. In addition, the 948mm (external flange diameter) bearing could be supplied within the required two-week timescale.

“Even though the turning part of the lamp weighed several hundred kilograms and it was not an easy task to replace the mercury, the slew bearing from Rodriguez is now successfully mounted in the slightly curved basin above the pedestal,” says Mr Henderson.

KDL series four-point contact bearings have met requirements in various approved and economical turntable applications for many years. These bearings are robust and proven in the toughest applications, ensuring that axial/radial loads and tilting moments can be absorbed. According to Ocean Kinetics, the bearing produced a nice feel when rotated, which is an indication of its build quality. This is particularly important in lighthouse lamps were continuous, steady movement is a prerequisite.

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