Bearings in a tyre "soaping" station withstand the solvents and alkalis for years to come

Individual plain bearings machined from iglidur® bar stock save on downtime and maintenance costs


  • What was needed: A lubrication-free flange bearing for a tyre assembly line.
  • Manufacturing process: Machined from bar stock
  • Requirements: Durable, as well as water and solvent-resistant
  • Material: iglidur® W300 spherical ball, housing made of igumid G
  • Industry: Automotive
  • Success for the customer: €2,440 savings on repair costs, €8,400 savings in prevented machine breakdowns and savings in maintenance costs


In an average of approx. 7.5 seconds, the two fully automated tyre assembly lines of MC Syncro Supply GmbH mount a tyre on a rim. The plants usually run 5 days a week in a 3-shift system, which adds up to about 120 hours per week. At the so-called tyre soaping station, the diameter of the tyre is determined from the inside, while the inner bead of the tyre is being moistened by brushing with soap. To enable this, soap flows into the brushes from above. The excess soap runs back into the storage tank over a trough. The conveyance of the tyre in and out of the tyre soaping station runs over toothed belts which are clamped on two mounted brass shafts.

The problem: Machine downtime due to the absence of lubricants

Due to the soap, the grease was washed out over time even from encapsulated bearings. Especially for metallic bearings lubrication with, for example, grease or oil is essential for a long service life and optimum performance of the bearings during operation.


The result was that the metal bearings jammed and the shaft continued to rotate. This then wore out within a very short time. The damage costed 6 hours in repair time and led to the replacement of all defective components (2 shafts, 4 bearings, 2 toothed belts) at a cost of €610. This repair had to be done on each machine twice a year. The costs for the repairs and the machine failure added up to several thousand euros.

Plain bearings made of iglidur® bar stock save on lubrication and reduce costs

Different defects appeared in both tyre assembly lines, which could be attributed to wear. Quick solutions were needed. The first machine had the damage described above. The bearings were rusted to the core and the shafts in the bearing seat had already worn out. As the bearing seat had worn out, iglidur® four-hole flange bearings were used on the inner part of the shafts. As a result, a new shaft was not needed.
The second machine had no bearing damage yet but was close to it. To prevent this, igus® delivered a metre of bar stock. Bearings of iglidur® could be made out of this and the metal bearings replaced with the iglidur® bar stock bearings. The cost savings for repair, spare parts, maintenance, and machine downtime for the systems are now several thousand euros per year.

A plain bearing made of bar stock in a tyre fitting line

Further application reports