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Polymer sliding elements in harsh environments

Clotex machinery

Clotex machinery in Renage: Black, abrasive dust everywhere: Use of drylin® linear guides instead of roller guides


  • What was needed: Longer service life
  • Requirements: Fine and abrasive dust, lubrication-free
  • Industry: Fence post manufacturer
  • Success for the customer: No more seizing up and no more costly and time-consuming maintenance.


The company Clotex in Renage, France, manufactures fence posts for private residential construction. Since the air in the machine park is very dusty, no lubricants may be used in the production process. Dust is constantly produced during rolling, which is both abrasive and very fine. If only a small amount of lubricant came into contact with the dust, it would promptly form a tough mass. Seizure and thus costly and time-consuming maintenance would be the result.


Therefore the company uses lubrication-free plastic bearings from igus®. This is because drylin® R linear guides are self-lubricating, dirt-resistant and still have the same dimensions - an ideal replacement for ball or roller guides. The same applies to plain bearings versus ball bearings. Clotex has been relying on the so-called drylin® R bearings from igus® to weather rough, difficult environmental conditions for around four years now. The bearings increase the service life of the devices. Fewer spare parts are used and much time is saved on maintenance work. The igus® bearings with high-performance polymer sliding elements can be replaced much more easily than ball bearings. drylin® R linear bearings, consisting of a metallic housing and a positively inserted liner, can be used on all shaft materials.
Twice the service life
The first machine from Clotex equipped with igus® bearings was a punching machine that punches holes in the steel posts. In this application the punches themselves are guided by the bearings. The output is 12,000 cycles/day at a speed of 1 m/s. This gives drylin® R bearings a service life twice as long as that of conventional ball guides. Based on this experience, Clotex has also implemented the guidance of the ejector through igus® bearings on another machine. They intend to use lubrication-free plastic bearings as standard throughout their machinery - especially in the robots.
From food industry to road construction
For even more difficult applications, for example in the concrete and stone industry, in the automotive sector (e.g. welding tongs), in the food industry (e.g. pasta products on rails that quickly stick together), in road construction, in quarries or underground, igus® has further guide systems in its product range in addition to the round guide systems. A new version of the drylin® T guide has now been developed, whose sliding elements are fixed with positive fit in the guide carriage by metal lids.