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Why use plastic bearings? The pros and cons

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article image Plastic bearing

Datco Industries lists several reasons why industries should switch to plastic bearings.

Plastic bearings are generally made of an engineering plastic compound incorporating various solid lubricants, accounting for their superior strength and consistently low coefficient of friction. 

Some of the reasons to make the switch to plastic bearings include self-lubricating properties, super strength, eco-friendliness, chemical resistance, zero maintenance requirement and economy.

They’re self-lubricating! 

The solid lubricant content in plastic bearings lubricates the bearing as soon as it starts moving, reducing any delay in start-up and keeping the area clean. Microscopic bits of the bearing abrade and serve to lubricate the bearing at the outset, with negligible change to the bearing itself. 

Plastic bearings are particularly suitable for food grade applications because the FDA strictly limits the use of lubricants in food production machinery. While dust and other particles will stick to conventional lubricants and create a layer of grime, any particle will simply embed in the plastic bearings, having no effect on performance.

They’re super strong! 

Plastic bearings can operate continuously at any temperature between -50°C and 250°C and withstand peak temperatures of up to 310°C. Plastic bushings can be just as strong as metal ones but with thinner walls, typically ranging from 1.2mm to 1.6mm thick that are better at dissipating heat, leading to greater operating range and reduced wear. 

Additionally, the thin walls are lighter and less likely to deform, making them ideal for applications where weight is an issue.

They’re eco-friendly! 

Their lighter weight makes plastic bearings much more fuel efficient. Plastic bearings need no additional coatings or additives to produce the same results as metal components, which are often supplemented with harmful elements. 

They’re chemical resistant! 

Often much more resistant to various chemicals and substances than their metal counterparts, plastic bearings resist the scratching and wear that occur with metal bearings, serving to maintain their low coefficient of friction, and moving smoothly with a minimum of interference.

They’re maintenance-free! 

By choosing the right engineering plastic for the bearing, one can resist corrosion problems over time. After installation, plastic bearings will last a long time and will not need to be replaced. Corrosion can cause metal bearings to freeze in place, making them almost impossible to remove without cutting them away. Plastic bearings are easily removable.

They’re cheaper! 

Many plastics are cheaper than metals, especially when ongoing maintenance costs are factored into the bearing’s lifecycle.

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