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Deep sea success for SKF magnetic bearingsSKF Group Company S2M has won a two-year contract to supply SKF magnetic bearings and associated electronics for subsea compression trains used in the Åsgard gas field in the Norwegian Sea. The SKF magnetic bearings will be fitted on the motor compressor shaft systems on the compressor units that maintain gas flow pressure level. These innovative bearings are an oil-free, frictionless and virtually maintenance-free alternative to mechanical bearings that provide optimum efficiency, reliability and performance vital for smooth operation in deep sea operations.
The contract with MAN Diesel and Turbo, Aker Solutions Norway and Statoil, to supply custom built magnetic bearings, will provide a high performance alternative to conventional mechanical bearing technology. The Åsgard gas field project will involve placing two hermetically sealed compressor units installed at a depth of between 200 and 300 metres on the seabed. The units function by maintaining discharge pressure in the pipeline and compensate for the falling suction pressure as the gas field is depleted, thereby boosting gas flow.
Used in highly specialised applications and industries such as offshore, these ultra-efficient bearings can operate at high speeds, require no lubrication and, as there is no component wear, provide virtually maintenance-free long life.
In a magnetic bearing system the rotating drive shaft is supported and held in position by electromagnetic forces generated in radial and axial directions. These forces are generated and controlled by sophisticated electronics and copper-wired electromagnets to provide contactless, wear-free operation.
Commenting on the project, Vincent Megret, SKF Magnet Systems Unit Director and S2M Managing Director said, "We are delighted to have been selected to contribute to this exciting project, which will open up new opportunities for subsea natural gas exploration. This demonstrates once again that SKF\'s leading-edge technology can answer the needs of our high-tech customers."
SKF acquired S2M, the world\'s largest magnetic bearing company, in 2007, and is now the global leader in this advanced bearing technology. The company supply and service operations in Canada, Japan, China and Russia, for many of the biggest companies active in the oil and gas industry, including machinery suppliers, utilising SKF magnetic bearings.
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