Why you should use composite plastic bearings

Composite plastic bushings provide tailored bearing solutions with
predictable lifetime in a wide range of applications. Combining thermoplastics,
fibrous reinforcements and solid lubricants, these bushings eliminate
maintenance and external lubrication, resist corrosion and debris, fit
precisely with little creep, conduct heat efficiently, and dampen vibrations
while maintaining a high compressive strength.

Here are the Top Ten reasons why
you should consider plastic bearings:

1. Lighter weight than metallic

Using composite plastic bushings instead of metallic plastic bushings can
reduce weight by 25% or more. The difference in density between composite plastic
materials and metals Р1 to 3 g/cm³ vs. 7 to 9 g/cm³ Рmakes the weight
reduction available with the plastic option very obvious.

2. Corrosion resistance

Metal-free iglide plastic bearings do not rust, and most available
materials in the range will not corrode in acidic or basic solutions, or when
exposed to traditional lubricants. The iglide product line also includes
bearings that are able to resist harsh acids such as hydrochloric acid, as well
as UV and other high-energy radiation. However, chemical resistance can change
with temperature and chemical concentration; therefore, the specific
application conditions must be taken into account.

3. 100% self-lubricating

iglide plastic bearings are designed to run dry, without any external
lubrication. Fibre reinforcements create millions of tiny chambers, which house
particles of solid lubricant that are released when there’s friction against a
shaft. Homogeneous blending of the plastic material means that the lubricant
cannot be pressed out, and will last throughout the entire service life of the

4. Absorbs shock and edge loads,
dampens vibration

Plastic bearings run quietly and can absorb or dampen vibrations. Their
mechanical loss factor, an indicator of vibration dampening capability, is up
to 250 times that of metallic bearings. The fibre-reinforced material blends
are tailored to specific application requirements, helping bearings stand up to
shock and edge loads in a wide range of application settings.

5. Pairs well with a range of
shaft materials

Plastic bearings can pair with any shaft material without corrosion
issues, but not all shaft-bearing pairs are equal. Extensive testing and
experience have provided igus with a massive database of bearing wear results
when paired with different shaft hardness, roughness, and materials makeup. Excellent
wear performance depends on pairing the right bushing material with the shaft.

6. Excellent wear rates

When a shaft with a composite plastic bushing starts to move, bits of
solid lubricant and thermoplastic abrade to fill shaft imperfections and
provide continuous lubrication, minimising stick-slip and wear. Abrasion rates
drop dramatically after initial startup, becoming negligible during continuous
operation. The plastic bearing offers optimal wear thickness throughout the
entire wall thickness of the bearing.

7. No maintenance required

Based on results of thousands of empirical tests, igus specialists can
recommend iglide plastic bearings that are ready to ‘fit and forget’. Test data
allows engineers to choose the best bearing/shaft combination and predict
maintenance-free service life based on application factors. With no need for external
lubrication, you get a completely maintenance-free bearing solution.

8. Dirt and dust resistance

Metallic bearings wear prematurely if abrasive dirt particles get into
them, but iglide plastic bearings are able to ‘absorb’ these particles,
incorporating them into the plastic material itself. Additionally, the absence
of grease and oil does not attract debris.

9. Special application materials

If your application has specific material requirements, such as FDA or
EU-directive compliance, the iglide material range offers a number of suitable
alternatives. For example, iglide A180, A200, and A500 are all compliant with
FDA requirements, and the M250, H, Q, L280, and T500 materials are made from
physiologically harmless materials.

10. Materials and customisation
available for specific application needs

igus develops numerous new plastic compounds each year, which are tested
in bearing form in thousands of tests annually. An iglide bearing is available
for you regardless of your application; bearings that need to run underwater, resist
high shock loads, fit soft shaft materials or run at extreme temperatures and
speeds are a few of the several options available. Currently, igus offers 16
standard materials, along with 32 specialised material options.

For more information, please visit the Treotham Automation website www.treotham.com.au or call 02 9907 1788.

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