Polymer Replaces Plating in New Heavy-Duty Diesel Engine Bearings
German automotive supplier MAHLE Engine Components has developed a new lead-free bearing system for heavy-duty truck engines. The system combines engineered polymeric coatings with lead-free bearing linings, and purportedly offers several advantages over other bearings.The first heavy-duty diesel engines to use the new lead-free bearings are slated to appear on vehicles beginning this year, and product development programs for additional applications are already underway with two major engine manufacturers. Production of the lead-free bearing system began this summer at MAHLE’s facility in Atlantic, Iowa.
Improving Wear Resistance
The company’s research shows that MAHLE’s polymer-coated bearings are more resistant to wear and fatigue than other lead-free bearings, which use electroplated coatings. Improved wear resistance helps engine manufacturers accommodate low-viscosity engine oils, which work to improve fuel economy.
Customer testing of the polymer-coated bearings has also shown improved performance over the electroplated alternatives, according to the company.
“Polymer technology is well established in the light- and the medium-duty market for engines under 10 litres in displacement,” said MAHLE’s James George, who suggested that the heavy-duty market is in need of alternatives.
Other reported benefits of the new MAHLE system include improved corrosion resistance and extended oil-drain intervals. Beyond performance enhancements, lead-free bearings also offer environmental benefits as they’re safer and easier to dispose of. The company has also stated that its lead-free, polymer-coated bearing system will offer significant owner-operator cost savings.”Our new bearing system provides a great combination of proven cast-bronze bearing technology with a polymer overlay that features high load capabilities, as well as seizure and wear resistance,” said MAHLE’s Joachim Wagenblast.
In even better news for automotive manufacturers, check out Smart Manufacturing Could Save Global Automakers Billions.