Western Machine Works


Hydro Turbine Thrust Bearing


This project involves the precision machining of the hydro turbine thrust bearing for a hydropower facility in Oregon. The customer asked Western Machine Works to achieve the tight tolerance and RMS finish required, which the previously contracted fabrication shop failed to achieve. The wrong tolerance and finish caused damage to the newly fabricated bearings and needed to be repaired. 


  • Part: Hydro turbine thrust bearing
  • Customer: hydropower utility


  • Hold .001″ machining tolerance.
  • Achieve a 32 RMS finish after machining.
  • Rush schedule.

Engineered Solutions:

  • Measurement of thrust bearing diameter.
  • Set up thrust bearing in vertical turret lathe and remove .005″ from each bearing half.
  • Machine bearings to precise tolerance of +/-0.0001″ and 32 RMS finish.
  • Quality control before packing and shipping.


  • Bearings were machined in accordance to customer’s specified tolerance.
  • Bearings met RMS finish specification.
  • Provided adequate documentation of tolerances and bearing finish to customer for their records.
  • Saved significant capital dollars and time not shipping the bearings to the refurbishment facility.
  • Fabrication was completed within client’s return-to-service deadline and outage schedule.

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