6 Rea­sons to use plas­tic spher­i­cal bear­ings

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - BEARINGS -

When start­ing work on a new project that re­quires mo­tion con­trol, one of the most im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tions is what bear­ings to use.

It’s easy to fall back on what you’ve been us­ing for years in­stead of rock­ing the boat with new ideas or con­cepts. You might be more in­clined to stick with bulky, ro­bust steel or bronze bear­ings with­out think­ing about the ben­e­fits of plas­tic bear­ings. In most ap­pli­ca­tions, plas­tic spher­i­cal bear­ings de­liver a bet­ter per­for­mance than their metal coun­ter­parts.

Here are six rea­sons why de­sign en­gi­neers should con­sider us­ing plas­tic spher­i­cal bear­ings:

1. SELF-LU­BRI­CAT­ING

Plas­tic spher­i­cal bear­ings do not re­quire any ex­ter­nal lu­bri­ca­tion, mak­ing them com­pletely main­te­nance-free. Selflu­bri­cat­ing bear­ings are an ideal so­lu­tion for ap­pli­ca­tions where dirt and dust can be­come em­bed­ded in any lu­bri­ca­tion present, which could lead to per­for­mance is­sues.

Al­ter­na­tively, the lack of re­quired greases or oils is ideal in ap­pli­ca­tions where con­tam­i­na­tion from these lu­bri­cants is detri­men­tal, such as in food pack­ag­ing or lab­o­ra­tory equip­ment.

2. RE­DUCED COSTS

Plas­tic spher­i­cal bear­ings can re­duce costs by up to 40 per­cent with­out sac­ri­fic­ing qual­ity. Not only are they less ex­pen­sive, but main­te­nance costs are also sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced.

3. VI­BRA­TION DAMP­EN­ING

Plas­tic spher­i­cal bear­ings elim­i­nate the ex­cess noise and chat­ter­ing as­so­ci­ated with metal bear­ings. For ap­pli­ca­tions where noise is an is­sue, such as in the med­i­cal in­dus­try, plas­tic bear­ings are ideal.

4. COR­RO­SION AND CHEM­I­CAL RE­SIS­TANCE

Un­like metal or bronze bear­ings, plas­tic bear­ings will never cor­rode and are re­sis­tant to most chem­i­cals. They can be used in wash­down, salt wa­ter, and caus­tic ap­pli­ca­tions. Most metal rod ends are made from steel, which will cer­tainly cor­rode. Stain­less steel op­tions are avail­able, but at a much higher cost.

5. LIGHT­WEIGHT

Plas­tic spher­i­cal bear­ings are 80 per­cent lighter than steel, which of­fers a num­ber of ad­van­tages in a wide range of ap­pli­ca­tions where weight re­duc­tions can of­fer ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing faster prod­ucts or in­creased fuel ef­fi­ciency.

6. PRE­DICTABLE LIFE­SPAN AND WEAR RATES

With the igus Ex­pert Sys­tem on­line tool, users can en­ter their max­i­mum loads, speeds, tem­per­a­tures, and shaft and hous­ing ma­te­ri­als, which then prompts the sys­tem to cal­cu­late the ap­pro­pri­ate plas­tic bear­ing and its ex­pected life­time, based on decades of real- world test­ing.

TEST­ING

Test Pa­ram­e­ters:

An en­durance test was run to mea­sure the wear rates of a steel spher­i­cal bear­ing vs. an igus igubal EBRM06 plas­tic spher­i­cal bear­ing. Both bear­ings were placed un­der loads be­tween 10 and 20 lbs. (with vi­bra­tions) over the year-long en­durance test (ap­prox­i­mately 6,500 run­ning hours, 15,000 cy­cles per hour).

Test Re­sults:

While the steel bear­ing failed com­pletely at ap­prox­i­mately 50 mil­lion cy­cles, the igubal bear­ing lasted through­out the en­tire test, ap­prox­i­mately 97 mil­lion to­tal cy­cles. After the com­ple­tion of the test, the in­ner di­am­e­ter of the igubal bear­ing was mea­sured by a pin gauge test to be 6.0 (moves) – 6.1 (sticks).

Plas­tic spher­i­cal bear­ings can re­place steel or bronze bear­ings in al­most any ap­pli­ca­tion. They not only cost less, but re­duce main­te­nance and in­stal­la­tion costs. By mak­ing the switch to plas­tic bear­ings, you can re­duce the threat of bear­ing fail­ure, and in­stead, con­cen­trate on the more im­por­tant parts of your ap­pli­ca­tion.

TREOTHAM NEW ZEALAND LTD, 09 278 6577, WWW.TREOTHAM.CO.NZ

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