Plastic bearing innovation and evolution: 50 years of BNL

Written by: BNL (UK) Ltd | Published:

BNL celebrates 50 years in 2020! In 1970 we introduced the BNL moulded plastic bearing to the market. Over five decades, our products have developed from simple bearings into innovative, integrated bearing solutions that offer so much more than just smooth rotation and excellent wear rates.

BNL celebrates 50 years in 2020. Over this time, our plastic bearings have evolved from traditional radial bearing designs into complex products with integrated features and functions.

Our original bearings were recognisable, traditional products including radials, pulleys, wheels and thrust races, injection moulded instead of machined for longer operational life. Lighter than equivalent steel bearings, corrosion and chemical resistant and needing no lubrication, our plastic bearings were used in markets including industrial machinery, material handling, transportation, food processing, showers enclosures and furniture. We are pleased to say that decades on, we still supply many of these customers.

By developing our design, tooling and moulding processes, we created a new generation of plastic bearings - complex bearings that combined different features into the bearing raceways, integrating different components into a single moulded product.

BNL’s integrated plastic bearings appealed to new customers who valued a bespoke design approach. By integrating clips and fixings, shafts, gear forms, pulleys and rollers our customers began to benefit from component/cost reductions, quicker assembly and easier maintenance. Our bearings began to appear in photocopiers, pool cleaners, ATMs, spa jets, rotating beacons and satellite antennae.

We continue to innovative and develop capabilities, materials and products to meet the technical challenges posed by our customers. Collaborating with leading industrial, appliance and automotive clients, we engineer bearing solutions that support their product innovation in highly dynamic markets.

Key bearing capability developments include:

  • An 80% increase in performance and life of BNL moulded bearings over standard machined bearings
  • Improved temperature and speed ranges by over 40%
  • Development of flexible fingers, soft-touch silicon labyrinths and twin-shot casings to improve resilience, strength and load capability
  • Design techniques to fine tune natural frequencies (NF), noise, vibration & harshness (NVH) and the creation of Diametrically Adaptive Rolling Element (DARE) bearings for automotive applications
  • HMI solutions for touchscreen and touchpad controls, Head-Up displays (HUDs), scrolling wheels and thermostats for automotive systems and domestic appliances.
Discover how our products have evolved to be more than just bearings:

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