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One of South Africa’s largest independent polyurethane and plastic foam manufacturers restarted an important gear pump – used to pump glue to rebound foam chips – without difficulty after the company’s December-January closure period.

Because the gear pump pumps viscous adhesive liquid at one of the company’s two chip plants, it can fail to restart if component parts are immobilised by glue after a long period of inactivity.

However, with the introduction of Vesconite Hilube polymer bushings in the well-known Viking internal gear pump, the company’s pump restarted with ease.

Not only that, the Vesconite Hilube pump bushings, which were inspected at the time of the restart, showed no wear.

The  service manager at the foam manufacturer noted that the self-lubricating, hard-wearing Vesconite Hilube polymer bushings replaced carbon graphite ones, which had tended to crack in the warm operating environment in which the viscous glue-like chemicals needed to be heated to be applied to the foam chips.

This did not occur with the Vesconite Hilube, which had the added advantage of being self-lubricating and being able to move in the high-friction environment.

“You can’t use an ordinary plastic bush,” the service manager said.

“The gum dries out and sticks to the bush if you try. After the December break and after long weekends, the gear pumps ceased to operate before we used Vesconite Hilube.”

The company manufactures 800 tonnes of chip mattress blocks per year.

These are used for mattresses, bus seats, gymnasium mats, restaurant seats and in other high-density furniture and bedding applications.

The service manager said the Vesconite Hilube bushing has lasted seven months, and is pleased that it has survived and continued to operate after the holiday period.

He has installed Vesconite Hilube bushings on several gear pumps at the factory, including several pumps where temperatures can reach 65°C.

He believes that this is a low-maintenance solution for a challenging operating environment.

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