Innovative control valve for hydraulic plain bearings

Improved hydraulic plain bearings are the focus of research and development in both academic and industrial settings. New solutions with increased bearing capacities and more compact dimensions are now to be devised for maritime applications. The energy efficiency of lubricant supply is to be improved here, and the robust nature of classic hydrodynamic plain bearing solutions maintained.

An approach that meets precisely these goals has been developed and extensively researched as part of the HYDROS research project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Within the scope of this project, Hydrive Engineering GmbH is entrusted with developing an innovative control valve from the design phase right through to prototype testing. The valve is responsible for controlling the volume of lubricating oil flowing into a bearing pocket using pressure. This volumetric flow rate independently adjusts itself to meet the physical conditions in the bearing.
Hydrive is developing a constructive solution for this purpose in the form of a compact cartridge valve. Extensive simulations were performed to ensure the valve is able to function as required. These results were directly used to influence the valve’s structural design, allowing a working prototype to be developed within just six months. A full scale 1:1 bearing was successfully tested in realistic operating conditions on a bearing test stand,
and a patent application has now been filed for the solution. Comprehensive information can be found in the following German-language article (Beitrag Druckwaage zum 9.IFK) published at the 9th International Fluid Power Conference in Aachen. An image-video about the reaseach project can be found at youtube.

Oasis of the Seas_ABB Azipod propulsion units