Grease-free bearings help in ice resurfacing machine application
Canadian-based ice resurfacing specialist Resurfice Corp (“Resurfice”) has returned to Thordon Bearings (“Thordon”) with a repeat order for its grease-free SXL and ThorPlas-Blue polymer bearings for Resurfice’s Olympia range of ice arena resurfacing machines.
In a relationship dating back almost thirty years, Thordon has supplied more than 700m (2296.6-ft) of the robust material to Resurfice – enough to span the length of eleven ice hockey arenas – with Resurfice usually placing two orders each year.
The most recent order is for 22m (71.2-ft) of SXL and 4m (13.1-ft) of ThorPlas-Blue, held in stock for quick and easy machining to Thordon’s specifications for installation to existing and newbuild machines, including the self-propelled, all-electric Olympia Millennium E.
Each ice resurfacer takes six to ten SXL bearings in the augers that gather the ice chips off the rink and then lift them into the hot water tank. Resurfice has also started using the heavy-duty ThorPlas-Blue material in the Olympia steering linkage assemblies.
Greg Auger, Commercial Director at Millstream Engineering, Thordon’s authorized industrial distributor in Ontario, Canada, said: “These machines return from arenas all over the world for a major overhaul every ten years or so, but will also use the bearings for servicing and refits as well as for new machines. The use of polymer grease-free bearings has certainly been an important factor in the evolution of ice resurfacing technology.”
“Thordon’s proprietary bearing polymers have been hugely successful in our ice resurfacers,” said Lisa Schlupp, Purchasing Manager at Resurfice Corp. “They are very durable, resulting in minimal maintenance for our ice stadium customers. If you’ve got oily, greasy bearings and the grease drips onto the ice rink, then you end up with a mass of black spots trapped in the ice. Hockey players, skaters, and other winter sports enthusiasts expect a clean, smooth, and debris-free arena and that’s why these machines have to use grease-free bearings in their rotating components.”
Scott Groves, Thordon’s Vice President, Sales, said: “Ice resurfacing is very much a niche market; a niche within a niche. As with other types of industrial machinery, our grease-free polymers check all the boxes. They are durable, robust, self-lubricating, and easy to machine which saves manufacturers and operators considerable time and money. We have had a long relationship with Resurfice, which, like Thordon, is a family-owned business with a solid reputation for quality, reliability, and environmental sustainability.”
Ice resurfacers are large electric or mechanical machines used in winter sports arenas to scrape, clean, smooth, and polish the ice surface. The main components include a “snow box,” hot water tank, wash water tank, a conditioner, and a broad bush.
As the resurfacer moves around the rink it cuts away a razor-thin layer of ice, lifting the flakes into the snow box. At the same time, any dirt and debris are lifted into a waste tank, as clean water sprays the surface to “condition” the ice layer and even out any skate marks and grooves, leaving a smooth, glossy finish.
Resurfice Corp has been at the forefront of ice resurfacing technology for more than 50 years. In 2016, the company unveiled the OLYMPIA Millennium H, representing a quantum leap forward in performance, precision control, and fuel efficiency. The company’s first fully electric OLYMPIA Millennium E was launched in 2008.
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