Low-maintenance slip joints and bearings are providing engineers, architects and building specifiers with a cost-efficient protection against expansion, contraction and changing loadings.
Products such as the Herculon ranges of joints and bearings, which combine low-friction thermoplastics with durable metal facings, are purpose-built to provide cost-efficient protection against movement created by changes in climate, thermal movement, shrinkage and - increasing frequently these days - changing uses of plant and buildings by facilities and operations managers in commercial, industrial and resources uses.
To assist with specifying for such factors, Hercules Engineering has released a technical brochure (see here) which includes recommended slip joint solutions for optimum cost-efficiency and durability for buildings ranging from hospitals and shopping centres, carparks, transport terminals, office towers and warehouses through to factories, storage tanks, silos, boilers and industrial and resources plant such as pipelines, conveyors, pressure vessels and processing facilities across a diverse range of industry. Included is advice for technologies required for different types of structures located across areas of widely differing climatic and geographic diversity.
"Compared with more sophisticated and expensive heavy alternatives - such as pot bearings and roller bearings - our HLD bearings, for example, offer benefits such as lower initial cost, easier installation and no maintenance for periods of 30 years or more, says David Booty, Manager, Hercules Engineering (a division of Cut to Size Plastics).
Stock bearings from the Hercules' ranges can often provide an off-the-shelf solution, using Herculon Type D Bearings (HLD/SG, HLD/FF & HLD/FX), which are widely proven on applications throughout Australasia, South-East Asia and Africa.
Alternatively, custom-fabricated bearings can be formulated in partnership with Hercules clients, which include owners and operators of some of the world's landmark buildings and major commercial and resources plants.
With more than 30 years' experience in Australasia and Asia – and alliances with some of the world's major engineering plastic producers including Licharz, Gehr and Beck-WefaPress – Cut-To Size and Hercules Engineering can custom-formulate and custom-fabricate according to individual project needs. This service has been employed on major roading and mining plants in recent times, as well as refurbishment of commercial infrastructure such as heavily loaded multi-storey carparks and major processing plants.
Challenges include ensuring that such structures can flexibly cope with internal movement and stresses caused by heavy and changing loads, vibration and other common factors. Often movement within such structures is caused by factors such as climate, thermal movement, shrinkage and changing uses by facilities managers and tenants as structures are adapted to new uses with new performance demands.
Within industrial structures, changes can be induced by the operation of heavy plant including conveyors, motors, turbines and reticulation systems found throughout mining, energy, oil and gas, food and beverage, primary processing, manufacturing, water and waste water utility and wider industrial uses.
Included in the slip joint technical references (which complement Herculon bearing publications) are the latest developments in its HSC, HLMB and HLMD technologies, including stock product and technology custom-engineered for seismic performance, corrosion resistance and tolerance of high temperatures. Products include:
- HSC continuous joints (cast in-situ or precast floor slabs etc.)
- HLMB slip joints for small point loaded structural components (cast in-situ, precast or steel columns etc.)
- HLMD for high point loaded structural components (cast in-situ, precast or steel columns etc.)
"Operators of such buildings are keen not only to ensure new structures include technologies that provide extended no-maintenance performance, but that also such performance is incorporated into refurbishments and repairs as technologies advance and costs are reduced," said Booty.
Hercules Engineering – the producer of Hercules™ composite slip joints and Herculon™ structural bearings – has provided long-lasting product for use in structures as diverse as the Sydney Opera House, the Hang Seng bank in Hong Kong, Australia's Federal Parliament House and the world's largest copper mine, Kansanshi, in Zambia.