White Papers

The true cost of bearing lubrication

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Ideal for very short-stroke applications, unlike linear ball bearings: Ball bearings require a longer stroke to fully lubricate, and very short strokes can cause ball bearings to slide instead of rolling over the shaft, creating damage. Plastic bearings are able to complete very short strokes, as their coefficient of friction is constant (after an initial start-up phase at the beginning of service life). Fraction of the weight of metal bearings: Plastic plain bearings weigh approximately one-fifth as much as metal plain bearings, up to one-seventh the weight of some options. Reducing system weight reduces overall drive requirements, and can lead to lower system operation costs and help reduce fuel consumption and/or lowering the inertia of moving parts. Application parameters not conducive for self-lubricating plastic bearings • High loads with high speeds: These lead to excessive frictional heat buildup and wear. • Highly cantilevered loads: Since self-lubricating plastic bearings slide (unlike ball bearings that roll), linear applications with higher coefficients of friction may result in uneven movements for highly cantilevered loads or drive forces. • Extremely precise applications: Plastic bearings have a higher running clearance than ball bearings, sometimes .001" to .002", and therefore are not ideal for applications needing extreme precision. • Extreme temperatures: Plastic bearings are not recommended for applications with long-term temperatures >484º F. Field Applications Using High-Performance Plastic Bearings Agricultural A manufacturer of equipment specifically for the farming industry produces 'The Pick Planter', which creates individual planting row units using walking gauge wheels to deliver a consistent planting depth. Oil-impregnated bronze bearings with graphite plugs were used to facilitate this movement until they began causing severe problems. They were even requiring replacement two to three times a season. On the West coast, the bronze bearings were experiencing high wear and premature failure due to the very abrasive conditions caused by high levels of volcanic ash in the soil. On the East coast, the high salt content in the air caused corrosion and seizure. By replacing all 144 bronze bearings with iglide ® self- lubricating plastic bearings from igus ® , the pick arms' lifespan was increased by 500 to 600 percent. The actual bearings cost 70 to 80 percent less than bronze bearings, and were more reliable.

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