Big babbits a grind at PME |

Big babbits a grind at PME

Pat Patera

Machines as tall as locomotives grind bearings big enough for giants’ ring toss at PME Babbitt Bearings in Minden.

Opened in 2002 to serve the company’s West Coast markets, the 18,000-square-foot facility set on one acre employs 10, mostly machinists, says Jim Hemingway, plant manager.

Headquartered in Cincinnati,with a branch in Atlanta, PME Babbitt Bearings provides service to refurbish babbitts a soft metal sleeve that lines a ring bearing.

The greatest challenge in setting up the West Coast operation was finding and moving the dozen mammoth machines used to trim and grind the great rings, says Hemingway.

They were shipped from Ohio.

Precision machining and centrifugal casting are used to put a smooth finish on worn babbitts.

Bearings are vital parts of steam and hydro turbines and come as large as 12 feet in diameter.

Because the bearings and their babbitts are so vital, PME needs to move quickly when a repair job arrives.

The plant is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Repair work is unpredictable, says Hemingway.

The crew must be sufficiently flexible to handle multiple repair jobs that can arrive on the same day.

Customers include Pacific Gas and Electric, Sierra Pacific Power Company and Castaic Dam in California.