Short outages, long product lead times?

bushings using ThorPlas-Blue.
Bearings / Blog / General Industrial / Hydropower / Shaft Sealing / Water & Wastewater

Short outages, long product lead times?

Field machine replacement bushings using ThorPlas-Blue.

In the dynamic world of hydropower operations, minimizing downtime king. To maintain a continuous power supply, keeping planned outages short is crucial. However, long product lead times for essential replacement parts can turn these short outages into expensive, extended downtimes. Enter the solution: ThorPlas-Blue bushings that can be finish machined on-site, providing the quick solution that hydropower operators need. 

The Dilemma: The Clock is Ticking

Hydropower plant operations are strategically planned to have periodic outages, primarily to undertake essential maintenance and repairs. These outages are carefully scheduled to minimize disruption to the power grid and to ensure a steady supply of energy. However, one of the biggest challenges that maintenance personnel can face during these outages is the time it takes to procure replacement parts. 

The typical process goes something like this: 

Identify the Need
Uh oh, we have bushings that are more worn out than we thought. We need replacements quickly!
Sourcing & Ordering
Where can we get replacement parts from? The original drawing calls out some unknown material, and we have no idea who can supply it!
Shipping & Delivery
Ok - we found a supplier, but they need 8 weeks to finish machine the new bushings, and we only have 2 weeks left in our planned outage...
Installation & Testing
Even if the supplier can rush ship them, we still need time to get them installed. We need more time!

Each step adds to the downtime, and with the added unpredictability of shipping and potential manufacturing delays, the scheduled outage can extend way beyond the planned duration. 

The Solution: ThorPlas-Blue Rough Tube Stock

ThorPlas-Blue Rough Tube Stock

To navigate around these lengthy lead times and unexpected supply chain delays, many hydropower operators are sourcing ThorPlas-Blue self-lubricating bushing material as rough tube stock


  • Quick Turnaround: Instead of waiting for the finished parts to arrive, ThorPlas-Blue can be supplied as rough molded tubes and easily finish machined on-site to the required specifications. 
  • Cost Savings: By machining replacement bushings on-site, utilities can bypass expensive rush machine shop charges, high shipping costs, or the price premiums associated with emergency deliveries. 
  • Quality & Reliability: ThorPlas-Blue is renowned for its durability, resistance to wear, and low friction properties, making it ideal for high-load bushing applications in hydropower plants. 
  • Versatility: Having the rough material on hand BEFORE the outage starts means that measurements of shaft and housing dimensions can be taken, then the replacement bushings can be machined immediately, so they are ready to re-install exactly when needed – keeping outage schedules on track. 

Millstream Engineering and Thordon Bearing

We have recognized this need for shorter lead times of replacement bushings, and have proactively stocked many common sizes of ThorPlas-Blue rough molded tubes, ensuring swift delivery in advance of a planned outage. For hydropower operators, the result is simple: increase uptime, reduce risk of an unexpected outage extension, and tangible cost savings. In an industry where every minute counts, partnering with proactive suppliers like Millstream Engineering and Thordon Bearing, armed with ThorPlas-Blue, becomes the strategic advantage.