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Needle roller bearings vs. iglidur® polymer plain bearings

Replacing a needle bearing with an iglidur® bearing reduces costs by a factor of 3 to 4. Whether as a standard from stock or as a tailor-made special solution. iglidur® plain bearings are the first choice when lightweight, media and corrosion resistance, high robustness and service life play an important part.

What is the difference between the two types of bearing?

Needle roller bearings  
Needle roller bearings

Higher precision and stiffness

Requires continuous lubrication with grease or oil

Running costs due to maintenance and lubrication

Corrosion can seriously impair the function

Higher manufacturing and purchase costs than iglidur®

Compactness varies depending on design

Sensitive to shocks and forces against the direction of loading

iglidur® plain bearings  
iglidur® polymer plain bearings

Self-lubricating and maintenance-free

Corrosion-resistant

Cost-effective

Lightweight

Extremely wear-resistant

Predictable service life

Contains no moving parts

Suitable for soft shaft materials

Why do iglidur® plain bearings not require lubrication?

Closely examining iglidur®  

iglidur® plain bearings are made of tribologically (for friction and wear) optimised high-performance plastics specifically designed by igus®. They contain solid lubricants, that after the start-up phase are always located at the contact surface to the shaft and in addition are partially released when the counter partner is moved. Thus, the solid lubricants are also deposited on the shaft surface via micro-abrasion, lubricate the plain bearing and make it maintenance-free.
Needle bearings require a continuous lubrication If the lubricant fails, material damage occurs leading to the so-called seizure. Many rolling bearing damages are caused by a lack of or incorrect lubrication.

What makes iglidur® plain bearings so long-lasting?

iglidur® plain bearings have neither a lubrication film nor a gliding layer. The solid lubricants evenly distributed in the material ensure a low friction at all times. This uniform composition of the plastic compounds also ensures a long service life, since the entire wall thickness of the plain bearing serves as a wear zone. Reinforcing fibres enable an additional improvement of the mechanical properties and ensure that the bearings withstand even high loads. In addition, iglidur® plain bearings are very robust and long-standing even when used with dirt, edge loads, shocks and vibrations.

iglidur® plain bearings are long-lasting even in continuous load  

Why are iglidur® plain bearings corrosion-resistant?

iglidur® in use with humidity and dirt  

The corrosion process can greatly affect the function of metal bearings, in particular needle bearings: if water, condensation or acids penetrate into the bearing, this often leads to stoppages due to rust. In comparison, depending on the choice of material, plastic bearings are characterised by low moisture absorption. In addition, due to their organic nature, they are resistant to inorganic media as well as acids, alkalis and salt solutions.

What makes iglidur® so appealing despite low precision?

The advantages of rolling bearings are their high precision and stiffness. The more needle rollers are used, the more stable and stiffer they are. The strength of precision is displayed by needle bearings in machine tools or gearboxes. However, tilting due to their rigidity can result in high edge pressures between rollers and raceways, which leads to wear. Although this can be mitigated by convex profile ends, it cannot be avoided. Here – and in many other applications where this high precision is not necessary or even a disadvantage – iglidur® plain bearings are used. In such cases, they withstand edge loads, alignment errors and impact loads to a higher degree.

Agricultural vehicle with iglidur® axle bearing  

Why are iglidur® plain bearings so cost-effective?

Solar plant with iglidur® special parts  

iglidur® plain bearings made of high-performance plastics are produced via the cost-effective injection moulding process and can be almost freely designed with regard to shape and dimensions. That helps reduce material costs. Due to their self-lubricating property, no costs for lubrication or maintenance arise when using iglidur® plain bearings. Costs are also reduced by the potential of combining with softer shafts. Other features include shortened development times and low process costs due to the use of a lot of igus® online tools, such as Product finder and service life calculator.