Tilting Pad Bearings

Tilting Pad Bearings

Kingsbury developed the tilting pad bearing a century ago and has continuously made improvements since.

Kingsbury, Inc. has been the industry leader in the design and manufacture of tilting-pad bearings, also called pivoted-shoe bearings, since Dr. Albert Kingsbury invented them in 1912. Our expertise in the technology, operation and service of these tilt-pad bearings stretches back more than a century and has been continuously updated with new patented product developments.

Tilting Pad Thrust Bearings

Thrust bearing support axial loads in vertical or horizontal shafts, often ones in high load and high speed applications.

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Tilting Pad Journal Bearings

Journal bearings provide radial load support to keep shafts centered and eliminate vibration, often in high performance applications.

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The main types of tilting pad bearings are thrust and journal bearings.  These two types are further divided into fixed profile (for thrust only), tilting-pad flooded lubrication, and tilting-pad directed lubrication categories, based on designs needed to meet higher performance challenges.  These bearings operate by providing a coating of oil between a rotating component and the static bearing. 

Directed lubrication is the current performance leader for handling higher pressures of 2.76+ MPa, temperatures typically up to 135°C, and speed requirements of over 14,000 RPM.  The groove in the LEG bearing, (an acronym for leading-edge groove) in the tilting pad category provides the best oil circulation.  

Additionally, these bearings typically have babbitted working surfaces on the tilting pad consisting of a layer of softer metal like tin alloys which act to protect the underlying surface and can easily be replaced. In some cases, this babbitting material is a limiting factor to the maximum performance and in other cases it is the integrity of the oil. 

Recent Changes in Tilting Pad Bearings:

  • Kingsbury has added a new category of tilting pad bearing called the G-MD, which is a European-style modular thrust bearing with the highest design flexibility.
  • Kingsbury offers a new advanced-material bearing most visitors are unaware of which uses a Vespel coating in order to enable process fluids as the lubricant. This is particularly well suited to petrochemical industry applications.