United States
  • Booth: 9217

Stop by our booth to talk to the babbitt bearing experts!

Founded in 1920, Pioneer provides OEMs and end users bearing engineering, manufacturing and repair expertise to help design, build, maintain and upgrade large rotating equipment to operate more efficiently and reliably over an extended life.  Pioneer has served nuclear power plants on site in Europe, South America, Asia and coast-to-coast in North America.  From Emergency repairs to the most challenging retrofit design/build requirements, we can satisfy most fluid film bearing requirements of nuclear, fossil fuel and hydroelectric plants.

Brands: bearing journal radial thrust shoe damage design engineering consulting technical services repair upgrade retrofits babbitt rebabbitting inspection root cause training alignment hydrodynamic replacement troubleshooting


  • Bearing Design Development for OEMs and End Users
    We design and manufacture for original equipment manufacturers thrust bearing assemblies, some of which support loads up to 2,000,000 pounds....

  • To replace existing parts, we’ve designed and manufactured for OEMs guide bearings having bore sizes to date as large as 50", with each bearing consisting of ten individually adjustable radial tilting pads, each pad weighing approximately 700 pounds.

    When we design a bearing, our engineers start with a solid academic grounding in tribology. That means they have a thorough understanding of materials, friction, lubrication and wear. But their insight is derived from the combination of their formal education and from decades of working with large rotating machinery at hydroelectric, fossil fuel and nuclear power plants.

    Our bearing designs are enhanced by what we’ve observed over the years in our bearing repair department. This gives us an unparalleled opportunity to see hundreds of examples of bearing damage every year. We’ve seen more than a few cases where someone else’s design contributed to the damage. So we incorporate into our solutions for customers the best design features for performance and longevity while avoiding aspects that contribute to bearing damage or unnecessary costs.

    By joining theoretical knowledge with practical experience, Pioneer offers the customer the kind of synergy that independent design consultants, without a manufacturing and repair business, may have difficulty providing.

  • Bearing Engineering Upgrades & Troubleshooting
    Machine requirements or dynamic behavior can change over time. Often, modification of existing bearings may provide a smooth running machine, reducing requirements for special maintenance or restricted operations....

  • Machine requirements or dynamic behavior can change over time. Often, modification of existing bearings may provide a smooth running machine, reducing requirements for special maintenance or restricted operations. We have the field experience, design skills, and manufacturing facility to provide you with innovative, cost-efficient solutions.

    To trouble-shoot operational problems, our engineers are armed with a full set of complex diagnostic tools, including the DyRoBeS© and GENMAT® codes, to help you solve your problems with guide and thrust bearings. And they’re ready on short notice to perform complete engineering evaluations of: machine rotordynamics; critical speeds; journal bearings; exciter steady rest bearing; tilting pad thrust bearing assemblies; oil cooling systems; and root cause of bearing damage.

    Our technical expertise, technology and experience in the field of fluid film bearings and seals define us. But we’re not focused on justifying a particular technology for its own sake. We’re customer driven. Our longevity is based on technical know-how and providing the most effective design and part based on the customer’s requirements and budget. That’s the best way to provide our customers with improved solutions to their machinery problems.

    Once diagnosed, we can solve operational problems relating to the bearings by designing upgraded features for existing bearings or by custom designing completely new replacement parts.

    Our engineers are frequent lead lecturers at conferences on bearings and lubrication of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

  • Bearing Manufacturing
    From our very beginning in 1920, first-rate, quality manufacturing has been a hallmark of Pioneer’s accomplishments and the primary way we grew our business....

  • From our very beginning in 1920, first-rate, quality manufacturing has been a hallmark of Pioneer’s accomplishments and the primary way we grew our business. With our California heritage and experience as our rich legacy (as described in our history), today we perform all manufacturing and in-house repair work in our modern purpose-built plant we built and opened in 1990. In recent years, we added a third manufacturing bay and expanded our engineering offices. The plant is 34,000 square feet (3,159 sq. meters) under roof, entirely devoted to fluid film bearings and seals.

    We manufacture and repair fluid film bearings ranging in size from outside diameters of a few inches to over 100 inches (254 centimeters), though the majority has bore sizes over 14”. With good overhead crane capacity, we efficiently handle bearings weighing up to 10,000 pounds (over 4.5 metric tons) for the largest turbines and generators at work in fossil, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants.

    For more than half a century, we’ve manufactured bearings for OEMs and end users of large land-based and offshore rotating equipment and the U.S. Navy.

    Over the past 15 years an increasing percentage of production is devoted to our own designs, including our Fluid Pivot® JC and JS tilting pad journal bearings.

    We design with 3-D CAD software and cut chips on state-of-the-art computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools to produce the final product.

    Proper and clear documentation and in-process inspection insures we avoid unwanted surprises at the stage of final inspection. Throughout the stages of manufacturing and repair work, we check bearings and seals with more accuracy and clearer documentation with the help of a portable computer-linked coordinate measuring instrument.

    As a bearing company, the heart of our manufacturing and repair operations is our casting department. Continuing a tradition established more than 60 years ago in California, we have invested in the equipment necessary to use the tin emersion method of pre-tinning a bearing. That means we’re able to heat a bearing shell up to proper temperature faster and, unlike the method of using gas-fired torches, we’re applying heat evenly to the shell. That means we eliminate any chance of hot spots that could degrade the quality of the babbitt bond.
    Thrust Bearings:
    •    Tilting pad
    •    Tapered land
    •    Bumper thrust faces
    •    Complete thrust bearing assemblies—including spring-bed supported thrust bearings
    •    Hydroelectric turbine thrust bearing runners

    Journal Bearings:
    •    Two-axial grooves
    •    Preloaded
    •    Three-lobe
    •    Overshot groove
    •    Pressure dam
    •    Mechanical tilting pad bearings
    •    Fluid Pivot® tilting pad bearings

  • Hydrogen Gland Seals and Oil Seals
    Pedestals and housings for fluid film bearings using oil lubricants generally have seals to control the lubricant flow and prevent leakage. In electrical motors, such leakage can contaminate the electrical windings....

  • Pedestals and housings for fluid film bearings using oil lubricants generally have seals to control the lubricant flow and prevent leakage.  In electrical motors, such leakage can contaminate the electrical windings.  In some facilities leakage can lead to environmental concerns.  These seals will have slightly more clearance than the bearings to avoid rubs.  

    We provide new and refurbished oil seals, whether smooth bore, labyrinth, or floating ring, for a variety of bearing and pedestal styles.  Although we are completely capable of performing babbitt welding services, when refurbishing these seals we prefer to re-cast them by either of our proven centrifugal or static casting methods to avoid the risk inherent in local babbitt welding of breaking the underlying existing babbitt bond, a bond achieved by another source and of unknown strength to Pioneer.  
    We ourselves cannot test the strength of our own babbitt bond in a particular part without a destructive test; however, we do conduct on-going internal quality assurance destructive tests on sacrificial test pieces to maintain the integrity of our process and our required standard for bond strength.  In handling an existing seals babbitted by some unknown other company, however, we have no idea of the integrity of the process employed to obtain the bonds in the parts, thus we prefer to completely re-cast these seals.  Contact us for a thorough explanation.

    Many tilting-pad journal bearing designs use axial end seals to control the volume of oil flow through the bearing.  The seal clearance sets the oil flow which controls the operating temperatures within the bearing.   Again, we prefer to babbitt these seals by completely re-casting them, either by our proven centrifugal or static methods, to avoid the risk inherent in local babbitt welding of breaking the underlying existing babbitt bond.

    Large electrical generators rotate in hydrogen to reduce friction losses.  Oil flooded, floating ring seals are a part of the pressure boundary to prevent hydrogen leakage.  These hydrogen seals, often babbitted and sometimes referred to as “hydrogen (H2) gland seals”, have very precise geometry to maintain proper sealing over a range of operating conditions.  

    We have more than 35 years of experience manufacturing new seals for our OEM customers and re-casting worn seals, where feasible, for end users operating a variety of generator designs.

    Reduce Lead Times for New Seals!  For users of Siemens equipment, we maintain a limited supply of new H2 gland seals for purchase through your Siemens representative that can reduce the lead times when damaged seals emerge during your outage.

    The bracket for hydrogen gland seals on the ends of large electrical generators requires precision machining to achieve the fits and clearances required for reliable sealing of the hydrogen within the generator.  With aging and maintenance, the geometry of these brackets may have sufficiently changed to result in excessive leakage or premature seal damage.  Pioneer can assist customers in restoring the original fit dimensions, or in adapting a bracket to accommodate journal damage.

    By teaming our manufacturing and repair services with a first-rate bearing engineering department, we can help our customers operate turbines and generators more efficiently and reliably over an extended life. 

  • Standard & Expedited Bearing Repair Services
    Pioneer Motor Bearing provides the market-leading fluid film bearing repair service in the U.S. and Canada. Here’s how we justify that claim:...

  • Consider our longevity: We operate the longest running non-OEM fluid film bearing repair service in North America, dating back to the day we opened for business in 1920.

    We’ve repaired more bearings than anyone: No non-OEM business in the bearing industry on our Continent has repaired more bearings than Pioneer – radial and thrust bearing assemblies of all kinds and styles for automobile engines, commercial marine and U.S. Navy diesel and steam propulsion, gearboxes, fans, compressors and, most of all, for the power generation market for fossil, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants.

    We’re stable and thus retain knowledge gained from experience: Our 90 years of bearing repair experience is unmatched in our industry. And lessons learned from it have been handed down from one generation to the next in a stable business still owned and actively managed by the same family, with the 4th generation, great-grandsons of the founder, having joined Pioneer in 2009.

    Our Repair Service is Only Part of Our Story:

    • Despite our leading repair service, we are a bearing design and manufacturing company with full time in-house degreed mechanical engineers. They have a solid academic understanding of tribology and fluid film bearings. Customers benefit from their vast real-world experience with the design and operation of radial and thrust bearing assemblies. Simply put, our bearing expertise is almost unmatched in the aftermarket.
    • We have been manufacturing new bearings for power generation OEMs for more than 60 years. That means that unlike the typical repair shop, we created, maintained and constantly review and improve an internal quality assurance program that is OEM-approved for new manufacture and is subject to regular and reoccurring audits by our OEM customers.

    Take a look at our OEM endorsements:

    • We are the first-ever independent bearing company to be granted a license to use OEM bearing drawings and specifications to perform bearing repairs in the U.S. directly for domestic and international end users as an OEM-authorized service facility. Initiated in 1989 with the Westinghouse Electric Corp., Pioneer continues on today as the senior licensee of Siemens Energy. That’s a 21-year track record as a licensee, effectively serving Siemens’ customers.
    • We are the exclusive U.S.A. bearing repair licensee of Alstom Power, making us an authorized service organization for the repair of large steam utility bearings designed by Alstom, ABB, ASEA, GEC, and BBC, for fossil fuel and nuclear power plants.

    You can reach for our help right from your pocket: Our pocket-size Bearing Damage Flip Chart® is a “best seller” among operations and maintenance personnel. Text and photographs guide our customers towards a better understanding of the symptoms and root causes of numerous types of bearing damage.

    We own and operate a purpose-built facility: We perform the highest quality repair services at our well equipped, modern plant near Charlotte, North Carolina, with 3,159 m2 (34,000 square feet) devoted to one specialty: the design, manufacture and repair of fluid film bearings.

    So, when you send your damaged bearings to Pioneer, you’re trusting a bearing design and manufacturing company with over 90 years of experience to perform aftermarket services of the same high caliber our OEM customers expect of us in satisfying their orders for new bearings – to their designs or ours.

  • Technical Field Services
    Beyond ordinary bearing repairs of one kind or another, we perform a wide variety of on-site technical services, including:...

  • Beyond ordinary bearing repairs of one kind or another, we perform a wide variety of on-site technical services, including:

    •    Guidance with installation
    •    Assistance with rotational alignment issues
    •    Visual and UT inspection of damaged bearings to determine necessity of repairs and re-scraping of shoes
    •    Dimensional measurement checks

    We have provided technical engineering & inspection services on site at power plants in North and South America, Asia and Europe, assisting OEM field service engineers and power plant maintenance personnel.

  • Training
    Well-trained personnel are critical to operating plants effectively and efficiently. For this reason, Pioneer is committed to offering training services to customers and other industry professionals....

  • To improve machinery operations and maintenance over the long term, we train maintenance personnel on bearing fundamentals and bearing damage, using a syllabus Pioneer created to help identify a variety of bearing damage mechanisms. We also train end user and OEM maintenance engineers on advanced topics, such as rotordynamics and specific radial and thrust bearing issues.

    We tailor courses to fit the customer’s allotted time and subjects of interest, from half-day to two full days.

    We also offer industry wide workshops. Our engineers are often lead speakers at conferences.

    Most recently, for example, on July 26, 2010, Pioneer Motor Bearing Company hosted, organized and moderated a workshop on Hydroelectric Thrust and Guide Bearings as a pre-conference event on the eve of HydroVision International 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.  The workshop was attended by close to 30 people, from nearly as many companies and three continents, including end users operating hydroelectric plants and engineers from major power generation OEM’s.

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