Why Plastic Bearings Outperform Metal Bearings?

1 Development prospects of plastic bearings

At present, most equipment customers still struggle between plastic and metal bearings when choosing bearings for equipment. After all, when plastic bearings have not been produced, metal bearings have always been the traditional material choice, so many people are still unwilling to give up choosing metal materials. But so far, the performance of plastic bearings will get better and better in the future.

2 Plastic bearing materials and their advantages

In fact, the production cost of plastic is lower than that of metal bearings, and the types of plastic materials are becoming more and more abundant. They are used in many industries. The most common plastic materials are nylon, polytetrafluoroethylene, polyethylene and PEEK.

The versatility, economy and cleanliness of plastic bearings. There are many low-cost materials available for a variety of applications, plastic bearings are typically made from thermoplastic alloys with a fibrous matrix and solid lubricants, offering excellent strength and a consistently low coefficient of friction.

3 What are the good properties of plastic bearings?

(1) Self-lubrication

The plastic, by its very nature, lubricates the bearings, reduces start-up delays and keeps the area clean. The tiny bits of the bearings wear out at first and act to lubricate the bearings, but the changes to the bearings themselves are negligible. This also makes plastic bearings more suitable for food applications, as the FDA strictly restricts the use of lubricants in food production machinery. Also, while dust and other particles can stick to the lubricant and form a layer of fouling, with plastic bearings any particles will simply become embedded in the bearing without affecting performance.

(2) Operation at low and high temperature

Plastic bearings can operate continuously at any temperature between -4°C and 260°C and can withstand peak temperatures up to 600°F. Plastic bushings can be as strong as metal bushings but have thinner walls, typically 0.0468"-0.0625" thick. Thinner walls are better at dissipating heat, resulting in a greater operating range and reduced wear. Additionally, thin walls are lighter and less likely to deform, making them suitable for applications where weight is an issue.

(3) Environmental performance

Plastic bearings are more fuel efficient due to the light weight of plastic. Plastic bearings do not require additional coatings or additives to produce the same results as metal components that are often supplemented with harmful elements. Furthermore, plastic production requires only about 10-15% more oil than the same amount of aluminum or steel.

(4) Good chemical resistance

Plastic bearings are generally more resistant to various chemicals and substances than metal bearings, and are resistant to scratches and wear that occur with metal bearings. This helps maintain their low coefficient of friction for smooth movement with minimal disturbance.

(5) Maintenance-free bearings

By choosing the correct plastic for the environment in which it will be used, the bearing will resist corrosion over time. Once installed, the plastic bearings last a long time without needing to be replaced. Corrosion can cause the metal bearings to freeze in place, making them nearly impossible to remove without cutting them off. Plastic bearings are easy to remove.

(6) Low price of plastic

Many plastics are cheaper than metals. So plastic bearings and plastic bushings can reduce costs by up to 25%.