Dr. Albert Kingsbury invented the hydrodynamic thrust bearing in 1912. Since then, Kingsbury, Inc. has been the leader in the design and manufacture of tilt-pad fluid film thrust and journal bearings for all types of rotating machinery, with hundreds of thousands of installations worldwide.
Over the years Kingsbury has committed itself to engineering bearing solutions to meet specific application challenges and to continuous improvement through dedicated research and development efforts.
In addition to its core line of flooded, tilting pad hydrodynamic bearings, Kingsbury offers the options of directed lubrication and fixed profile geometries, as well as rolling element, specialty bearings. All are designed to enhance equipment performance in machinery for power generation, oil and gas, refineries, marine propulsion systems, and process equipment used for rock crushing, mining, steel making, defense and many other applications.
To keep pace with the demand for faster speeds, heavier loads, improved performance, and dependability in challenging conditions, more and more equipment manufacturers have confidence in the proven bearing technologies of Kingsbury.
Vision: In 1912, Albert Kingsbury installed the first fluid-film thrust bearing on a turbine generator at Pennsylvania Water & Power Company's Holtwood Station and revolutionized the power industry.
At the turn of the 20th century, Holtwood Station on the Susquehanna River near Lancaster, PA was one of the most sophisticated hydroelectric plants of its time. Each of its ten 10,000 kilowatt generators accepted 45 tons of force from the water passing through its turbines. Under these heavy loads, conventional roller bearings could not last more than two months before failing.
Facing financial ruin, the utility was desperate for a solution. Fortunately, an engineering professor and consultant named Albert Kingsbury, anticipating the need for a friction-free bearing capable of handling much heavier loads, was completing tests on his new invention, a pivoted shoe bearing that rested on a film of oil.
Holtwood invited Kingsbury to install his fluid film bearing in one unit as a test. After faltering just once, the bearing performed flawlessly and supported 100 times the load of previous bearings. The other nine generators at Holtwood were eventually retrofitted with Kingsbury bearings and soon power plants around the country followed suit.
Ingenuity: Over the decades Kingsbury fluid-film bearings have won recognition in academic and industrial circles, all the while winning over high profile customers including major OEMs, utilities, refineries and the US Navy.
Kingsbury's contributions to mechanical engineering have been recognized over the last century with 135 patents since 1915, 60 of which were awarded to Dr. Kingsbury himself. Other awards garnered by Dr. Kingsbury include the Franklin Institute's Elliott Cresson Gold Medal, Philadelphia's John Scott Medal, honorary degrees from Worcester Polytechnic and University of New Hampshire and the Modern Pioneer Award from the National Association of Manufacturing. The company was also presented with the Navy prestigious E award for manufacturing excellence.
Perseverance: Over the past century, Kingsbury bearings have continued to evolve as the company has expanded.
Kingsbury engineers are known for their success in developing innovative problem-solving technologies that increase the load and speed capacity of fluid-film bearings delivering optimal efficiency in a wide range of machinery. No other bearing maker rivals our expertise in application engineering, design and customer support.
Kingsbury thrust and journal bearings enhance the performance of rotating equipment in many markets and industries for applications that include turbines, compressors, pumps, gearboxes, ship propulsion systems, rock crushers, tunnel boring machines and cranes.
Integrity: Preserving the Kingsbury legacy of technical and professional excellence now and into the future.
Today, Kingsbury is hard at work on solutions for tomorrow's bearing challenges, always mindful of Dr. Albert Kingsbury's legacy of excellence and innovation. In fact, the company has remained stable and privately held by the descendants of Dr. Kingsbury even while the rest of the industry has experienced numerous mergers and consolidations.
With new products and technical advances, a focused team of professionals and a firm commitment to meet the needs of every customer, we enable superior machine performance through expert bearing solutions.
Michael J. Brawley is Kingsbury’s President/CEO. Mr. Brawley is the seventh President & CEO since Albert Kingsbury incorporated the business in 1921, and succeeds William R. (Bill) Strecker, who held the position since May 2007 until his retirement in July 2017.
Brawley began his employment in November 1985 at Kingsbury’s Corporate Headquarters as a Sales Applications Engineer. During his first 18 years, he held multiple positions within the Sales department with his last as Manager of Domestic Sales. He was promoted to Division Manager of Kingsbury’s newly formed Magnetic Bearings Division in March 2003 and afterward became Division Director in March 2005. Following the sale of the Magnetic Bearings Division in 2007, he took on the role of Division Manager of the Repair and Service Division in February 2008 and subsequently moved into the role of Vice President of the Repair and Service Division in April 2010. In July 2016, he assumed the title of Chief Operating Officer, North America Operations, where he was responsible for Kingsbury’s stateside manufacturing operations, including Philadelphia PA, Oshkosh WI, Hatboro PA and Yuba City CA.
Brawley holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Widener University, Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University, and Master of Business Administration from Colorado State University. He was elected by the board of directors to the position of President/CEO in March, 2017.
Joseph J. Wilkes is Kingsbury's Vice President of Engineering. He is currently responsible for overseeing all aspects of the engineering department, including bearing design, analysis, troubleshooting, research and development, and testing. Wilkes has traveled around the world to give technical presentations and troubleshoot bearing problems. Prior to joining Kingsbury, Wilkes worked 10 years for Philadelphia Gear Corp., progressing to the position of Manager of High-Speed Engineering.
Wilkes holds an MBA from LaSalle University and a BSME from Villanova University. He has three US patents and is a current member of STLE.
Mick McCann is Vice President of Sales and Marketing. McCann started at Kingsbury in January 1994 as a Sales Applications Engineer responsible for customers in the southeast United States. In 1998, McCann's sales responsibilities were expanded to include Far East Asia. Since that time, McCann has made regular visits to China and Japan to cultivate Kingsbury's business interests. In 1999, McCann was promoted to the position of Senior Sales Applications Engineer. By 2003, he became responsible for the management of the Domestic Sales staff and has held additional titles of Sales Supervisor and Manager of Sales along the way. McCann was appointed Director of Sales & Marketing in May 2007.
McCann holds a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University and an MBA from St. Joseph's University.
In April 2010, the Board of Directors appointed Mick Vice President, Sales and Marketing.
Dr. Morched Medhioub joined Kingsbury, Inc. as director of the company's new European office in Göttingen Germany in November, 2011. Dr. Medhioub has more than 20 years of expertise in the field of hydrodynamic bearings, and is an alumnus of the prestigious University of Braunschweig in Germany, where he received his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in Engineering. His accomplished background in fluid-film thrust and journal bearings, coupled with his experience as former managing director of Sartorius Bearing Technology, make Dr. Medhioub perfectly-suited for his new sales and engineering leadership role at Kingsbury.
In September, 2013, Dr. Medhioub was appointed Managing Director of Kingsbury GmbH.
Scan DeCamillo, Manager of Research and Development, is responsible for design, analysis, and development of fluid film bearings for industrial and military applications. He began his work in this field in 1975 and has developed performance and structural bearing analysis tools throughout his career. He holds patents and has authored several papers on bearing research, most recently on advancing hydrodynamic bearing technology in high-speed turbomachinery.
Mr. DeCamillo received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (1975) from Drexel University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania as well as a member of STLE, ASME, and the Vibration Institute.
Sean O’Hara is the Chief Financial Officer. O’Hara began his career at Kingsbury in September 1988 in the Information Technology department. In 1993, O’Hara was promoted to the position of Manager of Information Technology. In 2001, O’Hara was promoted to Director of Corporate Information Technology. By 2007, O’Hara assumed the leadership role of Finance along with Information Technology. O’Hara was appointed Director of Finance responsible for Accounting, Information Technology, Human Resources, and Traffic in 2009.
O’Hara holds an MBA from Holy Family University.
In April 2010, the Board of Directors of Kingsbury, Inc. appointed O’Hara to Chief Financial Officer.
Joy L. Johnson joined Kingsbury, Inc. as Executive Secretary supporting the President and CEO, Board of Directors, Shareholders and several members of the Executive Team in August, 2013. Ms. Johnson has more than twenty years of experience supporting executive level employees and served as liaison to previous Board of Directors.
Ms. Johnson was appointed Corporate Secretary of Kingsbury, Inc. in July 2017.
Through over one hundred years of operation, Kingsbury engineers have amassed a wealth of information about bearing performance from thousands of field installations. But Kingsbury engineers never stop pushing the limits of bearing performance, searching for solutions to the challenges posed by high speed machinery in today's increasingly demanding oil and gas applications.
Kingsbury's R&D Mission
The Critical Role of Research and Development
Joseph Wilkes, Kingsbury's Vice President of Engineering, sums up the role of research and development best: "Our customers are demanding lower vibration levels, and there is more focus and analysis of the various frequencies that make up the overall vibration level. Ten or more years ago, many considered vibration as a single value, where now they are looking at the subsynchronous, synchronous, and supersynchronous frequencies much more closely."
According to Scan DeCamillo, Kingsbury's manager of Research & Development, "Turbomachinery is increasing both in size and in speed, which imposes great demands on bearings and machine dynamics. Since the industry began demanding greater machine efficiency several years ago, Kingsbury's direct lubrication designs have proved invaluable in maintaining low pad temperatures and improved efficiency. However, stability and vibration challenges have also surfaced. Our R&D efforts have allowed us to address vibration issues through patented designs, while maintaining the benefits of direct lubrication bearings."
Advanced, high-speed data acquisition equipment in Kingsbury's R&D facility allows our engineers to replicate, study and develop solutions to these pressing issues. Pad flutter and high sub-synchronous vibration, for example, can cause pivot fretting and wear, leading to increased bearing clearance and alarms over time. Instead of simply treating the symptoms, Kingsbury's engineering staff developed unique axial and radial SSV features that actually eliminated the source of the problems.
This approach exemplifies Kingsbury's commitment to eliminating bearing issues before they become problems, to enhance machine efficiency and minimize downtime.