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SKF bearings enable continuous, maintenance-free pump operation at a depth of 1 600 meters

The challenge

offshore oil rig
An offshore oil and gas processor that required a full processing installation on the seabed first needed to prove that sub-sea pumping of multiphase fluids – oil, gas, brine, sand and more – would be possible in deepwater. After careful selection, the company settled on a pump design that would be tested in waters below 1 600 meters.

To reduce extraction and repair costs along with productivity losses, pump reliability was key. The short-term goal was to operate the equipment maintenance-free for five years or more, even under severe load, shaft deflection and lubricant conditions.

The SKF solution

Working closely with the customer and the pump manufacturer, SKF provided several sets of specially designed CARB toroidal roller bearings. SKF super-tough stainless steel bearing rings with NoWear coated rollers were developed to handle the radial loads, while other specially designed bearings were delivered for the drives.

The results

After long-term field testing, the specially designed SKF bearing solution is showing no signs of wear. The customer is confident that this aspect of the deepwater pump design will continue to withstand the highly demanding conditions of this sub-sea installation.
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