Composite plastic bearings

10 reasons to use composite plastic bearings

Weight reduction, corrosion resistance, self-lubricating are some of the benefits.

Composite plastic bushings combine thermoplastics, fibrous reinforcements, and solid lubricants for tailored bearing solutions with a predictable lifetime in a wide variety of applications. These bushings run without maintenance, external lubrication, resist corrosion and debris, fit precisely with little creep, conduct heat efficiently, and dampen vibrations while maintaining high compressive strength.


Lighter weight than metallic bearings
Swapping metallic plastic bushings to composite plastic bushings can reduce weight by 25% or more. The difference in density between composite plastic materials and metals – 1 to 3 g/cm3 vs. 7 to 9 g/cm3 – the weight reduction available with plastic bearings is obvious.


Corrosion resistance
Metal-free iglide ® plastic bearings do not rust, and most available materials 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. Chemical resistance can change with temperature and chemical concentration, so be sure to take your specific application conditions into account.


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 which are released as friction against a shaft occurs. Homogeneous blending of the plastic material means that lubricant cannot be pressed out, and will last throughout the entire service life of the bearing.


Forgiving of shock and edge loads; vibration dampening
Plastic bearings run quietly and absorb or dampen vibrations. Their mechanical loss factor and an indicator of vibration-dampening capability is up to 250 times that of metallic bearings. The fiber-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


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 make up. Excellent wear performance depends on pairing the right bushing material with the shaft.


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.


No maintenance required
Test data allows engineers to choose the best bearing/shaft combination and predict maintenance-free service life based on application factors. When combining this with the lack of required external lubrication, you get a completely maintenance-free bearing solution.


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 lack of required grease and oil does not attract debris.


Special application materials available
If your application requires specific material requirements, such as FDA or EU-directive compliance, the iglide ® material range offers a number of applicable products and materials. For example, iglide ® A180, A200, and A500 all comply with FDA requirements, and the M250, H, Q, L280, and T500 materials are made from physiologically harmless materials.


Materials and customization available for specific application needs
Whether your bearings need to run underwater, resist high shock loads, fit soft shaft materials, or run at extreme temperatures and speeds, igus ® has an iglide ® bearing for you. Currently, igus ® offers 16 standard materials, along with 32 specialised material options.


Source: 10 reasons to use composite plastic bearings 

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