The modern-day car interior houses a wide range of mechanisms, along with a lot of different buttons, knobs and switches. Whether it’s adjusting the window or cranking up the air conditioning or music, we are constantly turning and twisting the various rotating knobs that are spread throughout the interior. The appearance and aesthetic of these controls directly influence the perceived quality of the vehicle and can greatly impact a possible car purchase. The first time a potential buyer physically touches a button, or adjusts a knob, can make or break a buying decision within a matter of seconds—do the buttons feel high-quality and are easy to adjust, or are they unstable and tend to be inaccurate?
This makes component selection an extremely important factor in the design process for automotive engineers, and plastic ball bearings may not have even been considered. Below are three examples of when plastic ball bearings are the best solution for the interior of a car.
Controls for the air-conditioning system
Air conditioning is a standard feature in most vehicles at this point, and many of us don’t want to drive without it. The ability to select the ideal temperature and rate of airflow is a much-welcomed option when facing a wide variety of weather conditions. In the visual below, thin-ringed plastic ball bearings demonstrate their advantages over metal ball bearings both in regard to cost and design freedom.
Electric Gear Shifts
Automatic transmissions are a common option in most vehicle classes, and they do not require any movement from the classic gearshift. Instead, the gears are automatically shifted and controlled by a sophisticated turntable that is built into newer combustion engines and electric vehicles. This is where dry-running plastic ball bearings can play a major role, since they are corrosion-resistant and lightweight.
The multimedia interface (MMI) and other console controls
Usually, the knobs and buttons that control the entertainment system are located right on the center console or the dashboard. Almost every feature requires the use of rotating buttons or knobs at some stage, whether you are tuning the radio, or preparing to use the built-in GPS. Once again, plastic ball bearings are ideal for this application area due to their dry-running and corrosion-resistant properties. Additionally, custom design services offer the possibility of part integration so that a high-quality locking function can be combined with the rotary movement.
To ensure the best possible interior experience for a potential car-owner, use plastic ball bearings and components. Igus® is proud to offer some of the best plastic ball bearings in the industry with our xiros® product line. Additionally, plastic plain bearings from iglide® can offer alternative solutions for any application that requires plain bearings or sleeve bearings.
If you are interested in speaking with an expert about the right ball bearings for your automotive applications, please do not hesitate to contact Preston Souza, dry-tech® Product Specialist.