Why should you choose plastic insert bearings over metal?

Anyone who’s worked with metallic insert bearings is likely well aware of the frequent — and frankly tedious — relubrication efforts required for such components. Without the proper lubrication, these bearings are almost certain to wear prematurely and fail, leading to costly downtime and lost production. This may seem like an unavoidable reality, however there’s a simple solution that helps avoid this issue entirely: high-performance polymer insert bearings. They not only eliminate the need for regular relubrication, but are a low-cost, lightweight alternative to metal that can last 8 times longer than metal. Read on to learn more. 

Outperforming the competition

It’s a common misconception that metal will always or almost always outperform plastic, regardless of the component or application conditions. It’s seen as a more robust and mechanically reliable material with a superior service life. But in many cases, tribologically optimized plastics offer superior performance over a more extensive service life than metal alternatives.

Tribo-plastics utilize embedded solid lubricants to ensure constant, adequate lubrication over the entire surface of the component, both eliminating the need for relubrication and preventing premature failure due to improper or inadequate lubrication. 

In the case of plastic insert bearings, this embedded lubrication can lead to a service life that’s as much as 8 times longer than metal insert bearings. This increased lifetime means less bearing replacements are needed, and operational costs are reduced.

Another benefit of using solid lubricants is an inherent resistance to dirt and dust. Since there are no greases or other external lubricants for dirt to cling to, dry-running plastic insert bearings can operate successfully in dirty environments without any adverse effect on wear rate or service life. 

Learn more: Replace metal bearings with plastic

Switching from metal to plastic

If you’re already using metal insert bearings in your application, you may be concerned at the prospect of switching out each and every bearing within your machine. However, insert bearings like those from igus offer 1:1 replacement with metal insert bearings, making the process quick & easy. Watch the video below to see just how simple the process is.

Try before you buy

If you’re still not convinced plastic insert bearings are the right solution for your application, or simply want to see them in action before making any sweeping changes, you’re in luck. igus offers insert bearing sample boxes so you can try them out for yourself before committing to buying them. 

Not sure where to start?

If you’ve decided on making the switch to plastic insert bearings but don’t quite know where to start or which material to select, igus experts are available to help you find the perfect product for your application. 

Jared Worth