General presentation > Keynote speaker

Steve Dixon

Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Michell Bearings, Scotswood Road

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK



Stephen Dixon received a 1st class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1988 from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (UK) and was awarded an MBA from the Durham University Business School (UK) in 2003.

He has worked in the bearings industry for the last 34 years having started with Michell Bearings in 1981.  He has held various roles within Michell Bearings principally in the Design and R&D areas.  Since 2008 he has held the position of Engineering Director at the company.

Stephen is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer and was elected a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 2009.


Hydrodynamic Bearings – Robust Design Ensures Success.

When Michell and Kingsbury successfully applied their solution to Reynold’s equation, the tilting pad bearing came into existence.  The design was simple and elegant and offered significant performance advantages to users.  Whitemetal (Babbitt), a material conceived in the 19th Century was utilised as a sacrificial lining.

Today, more than 100 years on, the same fundamental concept appears to be going strong.  Over the years, robust designs have prevailed and designers have enhanced their products and improved performance.  Materials have also improved and alternative linings to whitemetal have emerged.  Fluid film bearings are well established across a huge variety of applications, many with demanding operating and environmental conditions.

The authors look at some of the successful designs that have become commonplace, how designs have progressed and how lining materials have evolved.  Finally, some recent bearing developments are reported and conclusions are drawn about the requirements of plain bearings in the future.




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