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igus develops 2K injection-moulded plain bearings for high mechanical loads

Photo by igus GmbH

It is a novelty for the construction and agricultural machinery industry: With the new iglidur Q3E plain bearing, igus has for the first time found a way to manufacture heavy-duty bearings, built up from two layers of high-performance plastic, in a cost-effective injection molding process. Until now, a plastic-based multi-layer structure was only possible in the winding process, which is more cost-intensive for large series.

When the shovel of an excavator moves, loaded with hundreds of kilograms of sand, enormous loads act on bearing points – a load that igus has so far countered primarily with plain bearings of the igutex series. The bearings are created from different materials in a winding process. Thanks to integrated solid lubricants, the inner layer ensures low-friction dry running. The outer layer, on the other hand, provides enormous strength. “Now we have succeeded in realising a multi-layer structure also in the injection molding process and thus combining materials with complementary properties,” says Uwe Sund, product manager iglidur heavy-duty bearings. The result: the iglidur Q3E series. “Thanks to the new technology, we can now produce multi-component heavy-duty bearings in large series using particularly cost-effective injection moulding.”

The challenge: Injecting and fusing two materials in one work step

The new iglidur Q3E series is the result of intensive cooperation between igus material development and specialists from the company’s own toolmaking department. “In the development of iglidur Q3E, we had the goal of realising a similar, multi-part structure as in the igutex series – with the high-performance plastic iglidur Q3 for a tribologically optimised core and a particularly reinforced polymer for a mechanically high-strength shell,” explains Sund. The biggest challenge was to process the two different materials in the injection moulding process so that two components become one. This combines the advantages of both materials. “We succeed in this in the multi-component injection moulding process with correspondingly complex and sophisticated injection moulds.”

Robust load-bearing capacity meets convincing gliding properties

The plain bearings made of iglidur Q3E are suitable for heavy-duty applications, in which bearings made of metal or fiber composite bushings are classically used and cost savings are to be achieved, among others in the construction and agricultural machinery industry. Their maximum dynamic surface pressure is 75 MPa. “Thus we can cover many heavy-duty applications with iglidur Q3E,” says Sund. The decisive advantage: The plain bearings require no grease. Microscopically small solid lubricants are integrated into the polymer of the inner layer, which are successively released during the lifetime of the bearing. “Especially in the maintenance of construction and agricultural machinery, lubricating the bearing points is one of the most time-consuming tasks,” concludes Sund. “By switching to iglidur Q3E or igutex, users save maintenance costs and increase the service life of the machines. Because time and again, neglected lubrication of classic metal bearings leads to expensive damage to shafts and plain bearings.”

For more information, please visit: https://www.igus.de