Eco benefits of plastic plain bearings

Written by: IGUS | Published:

iglidur® plain bearings from igus® are tribologically optimised to ensure that no lubrication is ever required. These bearings run without any oil or grease, so no contaminants escape into the environment. The light weight bearings also help reduce fuel consumption and Carbon Dioxide output in vehicles, aircraft, and plant machinery. Igus UK www.igus.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)1604 677240

Current estimations are that over 40% of all lubricants are ultimately released into the environment, by seeping into water or soil, or evaporating into the atmosphere. A study by a research team of chemists, mechanical engineers and environmentalists at the RWTH University in Aachen, Germany, found that this country alone consumes 250,000 tonnes of lubrication each year. To put this into perspective, this would fill 8000 standard tanker Lorries. Most countries have a threshold level permissible in waste streams, and hundreds of millions of pounds are spent annually treating the waste water to get to acceptable levels.

The iglidur® plain bearings from igus® are tribologically optimised to ensure that no lubrication is ever required. These bearings run without any oil or grease, so no contaminants escape into the environment. The continuous development of the igus® product range means that more and more applications which traditionally use lubricated metal plain bushes can now benefit from environmentally friendly plastic iglidur® bearings.

The manufacture of plastic plain bearings is very positive from an environmental point of view. While 15 litres of oil are required to produce 1 litre of aluminium, and 11 litres of oil to make 1 litre of steel, only 1.8 litres of oil are necessary to produce 1 litre of plastic. In fact, only 4% of the world’s oil production is used in the manufacture of plastics, and this value is likely to decrease with the progress that is being made in the organic production of polymers. Also, the first steps are being made in extracting Carbon Dioxide from power station emissions and using this to produce polymers such as Polycarbonate and Polyurethane.

Lubricant-free and light weight

As well as the “no lubrication” environmental benefit of iglidur® bearings, there is also the issue of weight reduction. The light weight bearings also help to reduce fuel consumption and Carbon Dioxide output in vehicles, aircraft, and plant machinery. Basically, the reduced weight leads to a lower required drive force, and subsequently lower energy consumption. Also, iglidur® polymer plain bearings have, as standard, high chemical resistance, whereas metal plain bearings often have to be coated to achieve this. The coating methods used include zinc plating, treatment and galvanising, which is both unhealthy and high in energy consumption.

iglidur®: the green bearing

iglidur® plain polymer bearings are designed to be dimensionally interchangeable with lubricated plain metal bearings. Go green with minimal effort, fit iglidur® polymer bearings and protect our future.

ABOUT IGUS®:
igus® is the largest producer of injection moulded polymer bearings and reinforced plastic Energy Chains® in the world. These seemingly unrelated products are linked together through the belief in making functionally advanced, yet affordable polymer components and assemblies. The company employs over 1,800 people in Germany and 24 subsidiary companies and works with representative partners in more than 21 other countries. igus® products have been consistently field and value proven. The company has extensive experience and technical data, gleaned from testing between 1,500 and 2,500 new products under extreme conditions in the igus® test laboratories every year. Picture 1
In contrast to metallic plain and rolling bearings, the iglidur® plastic plain bearings from igus® require no oil or grease.

Picture 2
The energy required to produce one volume litre of material (converted to litres of oil).


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