General Electric Spring Bed Thrust Bearing Page
There are two predominate designs for hydroelectric main thrust bearings. They are the Kingsbury tilting shoe bearing and the General Electric spring bed bearing. We have worked on and repaired both types. The following GE catalouge, from the 1930s, describes the GE spring bed bearing. They have an unusual characteristic. When they first start to turn, they make a distinctive "grunting noise".
We recently rebuilt the springbed bearing for the 800 KW, Centennial Island HEP in Lowell, Massachusetts. It was in very bad condition when we recived it. Warren obtained new springs from Baystate Spring in Holden, MA. He ground all springs flat, to the same height on both sides. He then preloaded the springs onto the bed plate. He then surface ground the assembled bed. We had to rebabbit the thrust plate. We used American Power in Georgetown, Massachusetts to cast and finish the babbitt. They also resurfaced the thrust runner. After we re-assembled the unit, we were able to stand a penny on edge on the generator head cover and it stayed up! Prior to the rebuild, the powerhouse floor would vibrate!