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Polymer bearings combine the best of both worlds

01 August, 2000

Polymer bearings combine the best of both worlds

A German bearing manufacturer has developed an injection moulded polymer bearing which uses different materials for the sliding and support functions, allowing both to be optimised for their roles.

The technology, from L+S Kunststofftechnologie, allows the sliding layer to be optimised for friction and wear without needing to provide strength and stiffness, which are provided by the backing material. The sliding layer can be thin and formed from exotic, high-performance polymers which would be costly in large volumes.

According to Glacier Industrial Bearings, which is selling the composite devices in the UK, conventional injection-moulded bearings involve compromises between the bearing function and the need to maintain adequate strength.

Glacier says that the new design overcomes the traditional limitations of injection moulded bearings while retaining their advantages such as corrosion resistance and low weight. The backing material can be sized to form an interference fit with the bearing housing.

Indentations to hold lubricants can be moulded into the bore and sealing elements incorporated using materials such as thermoplastic elastomers. This simplifies assembly and reduces the bearing size, says Glacier.

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