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Making hydraulic cylinders robust and economical with iglidur plain bearings

More than 50 years ago, André Chapel began to develop a small business into a European group specialised in the development, manufacture and sale of hydraulic cylinders and components. The company has seven locations in France and Germany and a total of 260 employees. In 2016, the company generated a sales turnover of 45 million euros. In addition to CNC and robot manufacturing, the Chapel Group also offers colour schemes from a single source. Every year, 500,000 hydraulic cylinders are produced, of which about 50 per cent are attributable to custom-made products.
 
The special hydraulic cylinders are constructed mainly in Osterrönfeld in Schleswig-Holstein, one of the two German sites. The customers are mainly from agriculture, trailer and dumper/tipper construction as well as from the forklift industry. Applications for railways are also planned. Chapel supplies customers worldwide with mobile hydraulic systems for the original equipment. Sven Wichert, in charge of the design of Chapel's special cylinders, explains: "Our customers rely on high quality, which they do not find in many competitors from Eastern Europe and Asia. Decisive on top of this are availability and the ability to deliver. “

Chapel Group hydraulic cylinder with iglidur plain bearings

Chapel Group hydraulic cylinder with iglidur plain bearings

 

Problem

For this application, a plain bearing was sought that would be available at short notice and that would be robust and able to withstand the various weather conditions in which the hydraulic cylinders are used.  Moreover, the previously used metallic solution of brass was relatively cost-intensive. 

Solution

Plain bearings made of iglidur G offer a wide standard product range, which is available directly from stock.  In addition, these can be ordered online cost-effectively with no minimum order quantity.  Even under the most adverse conditions, from temperatures between -15°C and +70°C, the plain bearings offer an excellent coefficient of friction. Due to their special material composition, additional lubricants can be dispensed with completely.  They are therefore insensitive to dust and dirt.   

"As our customers are based in Southern Germany, Switzerland and Dubai, the prevailing temperatures can fluctuate between -15°C and +70°C. Added to this is the salt content in the air during the winter periods. We can't afford any downtime here. “
 
Sven Wichert, Design Manager, Chapel Group

Fast delivery capability is crucial

In order to meet these requirements, great importance is placed on suitable suppliers: "We employed plain bearings from igus in all the motion areas of the hydraulic cylinder." This collaboration has proven its worth for more than ten years. Orders are with us within half a week. " The installed "iglidur G" products are also beneficial with short delivery times as well as technical advantages. They are significantly more economical compared to the brass bushings used earlier. In addition, the bearings, which are used with diameters of 20 to 45 millimetres, are extremely wear-resistant and weather-resistant.
 
The robustness of the bearings is very important for Wichert: "As our customers are based in Southern Germany, Switzerland and Dubai, the prevailing temperatures can fluctuate between -15°C and +70°C. Added to this is the salt content in the air during the winter periods. We can't afford any downtime here. " Uwe Sund, igus industrial manager for agricultural engineering, confirms these experiences: "Plain bearings made of iglidur G cover the widest range of different requirements. The material is ideal for universal applications, a truly "all-round". Typical applications include medium to high loads, medium surface speeds and medium temperatures. “

Chapel Group warehouse with hydraulic cylinder in standard and special designs

Chapel Group warehouse with hydraulic cylinder in standard and special designs

 

Large selection

iglidur G is available as sleeve bearing, flange bearing or thrust washer. In the wide range of possibilities, igus helps the designers with a recommendation catalogue. Thus, the machine elements are pre-defined

  • For above average loads
  • for low to average surface speeds,
  • When the bearing needs to run on different shaft materials
  • For simple pivoting and rotary movement,
  • If the bearing needs to support versatile application (Over 650 sizes are available from stock)
  • if dry operation is required,
  • If you need dirt-resistant bearings
  • For heavy vibrations

Uwe Sund, however, notes: "Friction and wear are strongly dependent on the shaft. Very smooth shafts, for example, have a negative effect on the application. However, we can make specific recommendations, thanks to our test laboratory in Cologne. " For iglidur G, a ground surface with a mean roughness Ra of 0.8 μm is best suited. Furthermore, with increasing loads, the recommended hardness of the shaft increases. However, "soft" shafts tend to wear more often, thus increasing the susceptibility of the entire system. Sund continues, "We offer appropriate tests as a service for our customers at any time. This helps to provide the right plain bearing for any desired shaft material. “

Chapel's purchase manager Alexander Hoppe (middle), and Uwe Sund, agricultural industry manager at igus (right), as well as Christian Wille, technical sales consultant for bearing technology at igus (left)

Chapel's purchase manager Alexander Hoppe (middle), and Uwe Sund, agricultural industry manager at igus (right), as well as Christian Wille, technical sales consultant for bearing technology at igus (left)

 

Goodbye to complaints

Chapel utilises the supplier's know-how in continuous interaction with him and also passes on the results to the customers. Sven Wichert says: "The end user has less maintenance due to the parts used in the hydraulic cylinders. This is the advantage advertised by our direct customers. "
 
The collaboration between Chapel and igus continues against this background. The rising sensitivity for environmental protection could increase the use of plain bearings even further. Chapel's chief designer Sven Wichert is convinced: "Grease nipples are usually used in many standard cylinders for appropriate re-lubrication. Excess lubricant can lead to contamination, or inevitable seepage into the soil. The plastic plain bearings from igus do not require any lubrication and are absolutely environmentally friendly. This is an enormous potential for the hydraulic cylinders here, whether standard or special version. “
 
To the products used

Here you can find further interesting applications from very different areas of use