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Bridge Products

Versiflex HLMR Bearing Assemblies

Versiflex Elastomeric Bearing Assemblies

Protect Your Investment

Meeting the Challenge
D.S. Brown Company
Since 1963, The D.S. Brown Company D.S. Brown is one of the leading suppli-
has provided bearing assemblies and ers of structural bearing assemblies. Founded in 1890 and based in
joint seals for bridges around the globe. With extensive experience and utilizing North Baltimore, Ohio, USA,
Bridges and other large structures are the latest technologies, D.S. Brown can The D.S. Brown Company is a
supported on bearing assemblies to efficiently design, manufacture and test worldwide designer, manufacturer
transmit forces while accommodating all Versiflex high-load multi-rotational and supplier of engineered
structural movements. (Versiflex HLMR) pot-style, spherical products for the highway and bridge
and elastomeric bearing assemblies for construction markets.
The selection of an appropriate bearing all types of construction.
assembly is based on the magnitude of D.S. Brown is fully integrated,
vertical and horizontal forces transmitted D.S. Brown is available to work closely performing and controlling all
through the bearing assembly, as well as with bridge owners and engineering requirements of a project internally:
the amount of displacement and rotation design consultants to assist in the design,
of the superstructure elements. In addi- selection and testing of the proper Research and Development
tion, special attention to the bearing structural bearing assemblies.
assembly design may be necessary when, Engineering Design/CAD
for example, larger than normal horizon- Detailing
tal loading or uplift situations exist.
Rubber compounding,
mixing, extruding and molding

Custom steel fabrication and


Load Testing

With offices and fabrication facilities

throughout the USA and Asia, D.S.
Brown is well-positioned to satisfy
all of your structural bearing assem-
bly, expansion joint system and spe-
cialty bridge product requirements.

Gene Hartzell Memorial Bridge, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, USA.

2 On the Cover: Victory Bridge, Sayreville / Woodbridge, New Jersey, USA. Photo Courtesy of FIGG Engineering.
Versiflex HLMR Bearing Assemblies

Typical Applications the mid-point of the deck at a fixed Structural Steel

Versiflex HLMR pot-style bearing
bearing line. Finite element analysis Components are typically fabricated
assemblies are suitable at locations may also be used to determine a more from either 50 ksi (345 N/mm2) or 36 ksi
where low-profile, high-load bearing precise movement direction. All bearing (250 N/mm2) material. All exposed steel
devices are required. Versiflex HLMR assemblies at any pier or abutment line surfaces are to be metalized or painted to
bearing assemblies are especially suited must be oriented in the same direction. prevent corrosion.
for curved or skewed bridges and other
complex structures where the direction Components Elastomeric Disc
of rotation varies or cannot be precisely As illustrated below, the Versiflex Typically manufactured from 50
determined. HLMR bearing assembly consists of a durometer neoprene.
shallow steel cylinder, or pot, which con-
Design Criteria tains a tight-fitting elastomeric disc Sealing Rings
Required information for the proper thinner than the depth of the cylinder. Rectangular in shape and manufactured
design of a Versiflex HLMR bearing The pot is a one-piece machined com- from half-hard brass.
assembly includes: ponent. A machined steel piston fits
inside the cylinder and bears directly on PTFE
Vertical Load the elastomeric disc. Flat brass rings are Low-friction material stable to 500F
Horizontal Load used to seal the elastomer between the (260C).
Rotation piston and pot components. This assem-
Translational Movements bly resembles a hydraulic cylinder where Stainless Steel
the elastomer behaves like a viscous Polished to a 10 micro inch or less RMS
The plan area of a bearing assembly is fluid, flowing as rotation occurs. (mirror) Finish.
usually controlled by the average vertical
stress on the elastomeric disc.

Rotations of up to 0.03 radians can be

accommodated by Versiflex HLMR Steel Sliding/Sole Plate
bearing assemblies. Design rotation is a
combination of the effects of live load
and construction tolerances.

The use of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) Stainless Steel

as the low-friction sliding surface in
bearing guide systems was previously the
standard. With the increased use of PTFE
seismic design in the bridge industry,
larger horizontal loads must pass through Steel Piston
the bearing assemblys guide system.
Alternative low-friction materials, which
provide much higher allowable bearing Brass Sealing Rings
pressures than PTFE, are recommended
for cases where horizontal loads exceed
Elastomeric Disc
50 percent of the vertical design load.
Steel Pot Plate

For curved bridge structures, the

theoretical direction of movement is a Steel Masonry Plate
chord projected from the mid-point of
the deck at the expansion bearing line to

Versiflex HLMR Bearing Assemblies

Fixed Design
(PF Series)
Fixed bearing assemblies are designed to
transmit horizontal forces in any
direction through contact between the
piston and the inside of the pot wall.
Horizontal movement is restricted in all
directions while accommodating
rotational movement of the bridge

Multi-Directional Design
(PM Series)
The addition of a PTFE and stainless
steel sliding surface between the piston
and the sole plate creates a bearing as-
sembly that allows horizontal movement
in any direction. A multi-directional
bearing assembly does not resist externally-
applied horizontal forces.

Uni-Directional Design
The addition of guide bars to the multi-
directional bearing device allows for
horizontal movements in a single
direction and the capability to resist
externally-applied horizontal forces in
the orthogonal direction. Orientation of
the guide bars in a direction parallel to the
structural movement is critical.

(PMCG Series)
The Center-Guided system consists of a
single guide bar along the centerline of
the bearing assembly. Center-Guided
gearing devices are not recommended
where the horizontal force exceeds 30
percent of the vertical force.

The Edge-Guided system utilizes two (2)
guide bars which are external to the
rectangular pot plate. An inverted pot
assembly is typically detailed to
economically provide uniform bearing
along the guide bars.
*NOTE: Masonry plate excluded for clarity.
Versiflex HLMR Bearing Assemblies

Manufacturing Capabilities (455 mm) at a maximum travel speed of In some cases, the masonry plate size
6 inches (150 mm) per minute. Static will be increased to meet required con-
High-load bearing assemblies require and dynamic coefficients of friction are crete pressure limits. Where required,
precision machining to provide long- determined by recording horizontal force expansion bearing assemblies may be
term, maintenance-free performance. and displacement on an X-Y plotter. provided with an initial offset, so the
The D.S. Brown Company utilizes state- slide plate can be set to allow structure
of-the-art CNC machining equipment in Installation Considerations shortening due to post-tensioning, creep
its manufacturing process to assure that or other causes.
manufacturing tolerances are maintained. Versiflex HLMR bearing assemblies
must bear on an even and level surface. Unless strictly supervised by a D.S.
Load Testing Capabilities The two most common ways to achieve a Brown representative, bearing assem-
level bearing seat are: blies should not be dismantled on-site.
Bridge owners often require the use of
proof testing to verify performance. Grout the bearing into place
Proof tests commonly specified include Provide a lead or fabric underlayment
vertical and horizontal load testing, between the bridge seat and the
rotation testing and coefficient-of- masonry plate
friction testing.
When the grouting method is not
The D.S. Brown Company utilizes some utilized, the use of metal shims or blocks
of the largest, most versatile calibrated to adjust the level or elevation of the
test presses in the United States. Vertical bearing assembly is to be avoided.
forces up to 5 million pounds (2270 Careful attention should be given to the
tonnes) can be achieved, and bearing strength of concrete and reinforcement
assemblies up to 75 inches (1900 mm) around the bearing because of the large
by 65 inches (1700 mm) in plan and 18 concentration of load carried by the
inches (455 mm) in height can be tested. bearing devices.

Horizontal load tests and coefficient-of-

friction tests are conducted using a
double-acting hydraulic cylinder with a
capacity of 1.3 million pounds (590
tonnes) in tension. The maximum
horizontal displacement is 18 inches

Versiflex Elastomeric Bearing Assemblies

Typical Applications Laminated bearing assemblies are attached to the superstructure and a
For nearly 50 years, elastomeric bearing molded to any shape or size. The inter- polished stainless steel sheet welded to
assemblies have been used in the nal steel plates are vulcanize-bonded to the load plate. The lower component
construction of new bridges and the alternating layers of elastomer during the consists of a low-friction PTFE sliding
rehabilitation of existing structures. molding process. Laminated bearing as- surface, steel backer plate, molded
Other applications include: buildings and semblies may also be manufactured with elastomer and bottom steel load plate.
arenas, shear-key bumpers, seismic top and/or bottom steel load plates which All components of the bottom assembly
isolation protection and vibration devices are also vulcanize-bonded. An elastomer are vulcanize-bonded during the molding
for machinery. cover layer is necessary to protect the in- process. Slide bearing devices may be
ternal plates from the environment. guided or free to move in any direction.
Sliding Design Manufacturing Capabilities
Versiflex elastomeric bearing
assemblies are custom molded using For applications where horizontal Versiflex elastomeric bearing assem-
neoprene or natural rubber and are displacements exceed 2 inches (50 mm), blies and all associated steel components
categorized into three basic designs: non- sliding elastomeric bearing assemblies are molded and manufactured to precise
reinforced, laminated and sliding bearing may provide an economical solution. tolerances. Versiflex elastomeric bear-
assemblies. Rotation and displacement The addition of a low-friction sliding ing assemblies can be produced up to 75
of elastomeric bearing devices are surface allows a standard laminated elas- inches (1900 mm) by 65 inches (1700
accommodated by deformation of the tomeric bearing device to accommodate mm) in plan and 18 inches (455 mm) in
elastomer. Bearing assemblies may be unlimited horizontal displacement height. In addition to physical property
molded with holes, slots, skewed ends, without increasing the height of the tests on the polymer compounds, speci-
clipped corners and/or sealing ribs and bearing assembly. fied testing is also performed in-house,
may also be circular in shape. including vertical and horizontal load
A slide bearing assembly consists of an testing, rotation testing, peel testing and
Non-Reinforced Design upper and lower component. The upper coefficient-of-friction testing.
Non-reinforced bearing devices are best component consists of a steel load plate
specified when the load, rotation and
horizontal deflection are minimal. Top Sliding Design
and/or bottom steel load plates can be
vulcanize-bonded to the bearing device
during the molding process.

Laminated Design Steel Load Plate

The addition of internal steel plates (or
laminates) increases the vertical load Stainless Steel
bearing capacity and the amount of hori-
zontal deflection which can be
accommodated by the bearing device.

Laminated Design PTFE

Steel Base Plate Molded Neoprene

or Natural Rubber

Steel Load Plate


Versiflex Structural Bearing Assemblies

Seabreeze Bridge, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.

High Five Interchange, Dallas, Texas, USA.

U.S. Grant Bridge, Portsmouth, Ohio, USA.

Protect Your Investment

The D.S. Brown Company

300 East Cherry Street
North Baltimore, OH 45872
419.257.3561 Fax: 419.257.2200

2008 The D.S. Brown Company Versiflex is a trademark of The D.S. Brown Company