Posted by Joseph Fonseca
Engineers at the Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station (NAVSSES), Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division in Philadelphia recently oversaw the installation of dry flexible couplings on the lube oil service pumps and main feed pumps on USS Essex (LHD 2).
The new couplings replace grease-lubricated versions eliminating hazardous waste and quarterly maintenance requirements for Sailors. The new couplings will run for a year on Essex before moving forward with installation on other amphibious ships.
"The dry flex coupling, a device used to connect two moving parts of a system, replaced grid couplings that required more than three pounds of grease to keep each of the eight on board lubricated, " said Brett Franks, mechanical engineer and machinery alteration program manager. "There are four couplings on the ship's lube oil service pumps and four on the main feed booster pumps."
The maintenance of grid couplings is cumbersome work and requires Sailors on amphibious ships to work with hazardous materials. The dry flex coupling is easier to assemble, they slide and lock into place with no lubrication required. The maintenance includes replacing the 24 pounds of grease on the eight grid couplings.
"The point is to reduce labor and remove the three pounds of grease it takes to keep the old couplings lubricated," said Franks. "The dry flex couplings are also better environmentally."
The Ship Systems Engineering Station, Philadelphia is a major component of Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division. It is the Navy's principal test and evaluation station and in-service engineering agent for all hull, mechanical and electrical ship systems and equipment and has the capability to test and engineer the full range of shipboard systems and equipment from full-scale propulsion systems to digital controls and electric power systems.