igus develops innovative two-component, very quiet ball bearing

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Following intense research and development, igus has launched a novel two-component (2K) ball bearing. The lubrication- and maintenance-free xiros bearing combines several properties making it wear-resistant and dimensionally stable and quiet, even at high speeds. This combination makes the new 2K plastic ball bearing suitable for use in fans and test lab equipment.

At high speeds, bearings require resistant materials to withstand the high centrifugal forces of the balls in the bearing. But these hard materials, when combined with stainless steel balls, lead to vibration and high noise levels. With the new xiros 2K ball bearing, igus has now developed a lubrication- and maintenance-free plastic ball bearing that guarantees quiet operation even at continuous high speeds. To achieve this, igus has combined different designs and materials in an innovative way.

Hard shell, soft core

In this new bearing, the blue layer of xirodur D180 material has a noise-dampening effect. To give the soft, wear-resistant inner material a high dimensional stability, it is combined with a hard shell. Because the soft material is poured into the hard shell of both rings, the balls always run on the soft, high-performance plastic during rotational movement and are then supported by the shell.

Undercuts designed into the balls ensure high adhesion of both materials and additional stability. The balls are kept apart by a wear-resistant cage made of the igus plain bearing material iglidur J3.

Compared to standard ball bearings, the 2K ball bearing delivers a particularly quiet, smooth operation at high speeds, in industrial or domestic fans and lab equipment, for example. In igus' in-house test laboratory, tests showed around three times less noise at high speeds than standard ball bearings from the xiros range. "In the tests, the new xiros 2K bearing proved to be nine decibels quieter, which corresponds to about half the volume of a B180 ball bearing," says Rob Dumayne, Drytech Director at igus UK.

In contrast to metallic solutions, the tribologically-optimized bearing does not need to be externally lubricated to maintain this smooth running. Despite the lack of lubrication, the bearing has a long service life with low operating costs. The 2K ball bearing is 10mm in diameter and will be available with inner diameters from 5mm to 12mm. Customized solutions and dimensions are also possible. An online configuration tool for the xiros 2K bearing will follow in the coming months.