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New igus plain bearings for automotive industry of the future are up to 30% more wear resistant

22 December 2022

Robust, corrosion-free, chemical-resistant and lightweight. The automotive industry places high demands on plain bearings for engine compartments or even windscreen wipers.

Since many plain bearing materials reach their limits here, igus is launching an alternative: plain bearings made of the new high-performance plastic iglidur H5.
In automotive, plain bearings found in the chassis or transmission, as well as in convertible roof systems or pedals, must be robust, durable, and corrosion-free. And, for example, windscreen wipers, they should be resistant to a variety of chemicals. 

Low weight is also important to increase the vehicle’s range and reduce fuel consumption. "This is comparable to a flyweight boxer that has to survive in the super heavyweight division," says Rob Dumayne, Head of the dry-tech business unit at igus UK. 

But throwing in the towel is not an option for the safety critical car industry. "In order to meet the increasing demands of the automotive industry, we have developed iglidur H5, a new high-performance plastic for plain bearings."
High bar: iglidur H5 is 30 percent more wear-resistant than predecessor
iglidur H5 is the fifth generation of the iglidur H family. What all previous materials in the family have in common is: in automotive engineering, they are often more durable and fail-safe than most plain bearings made of metal composites and conventional plastics

"With iglidur H5, we have managed to raise the bar even higher," says Rob Dumayne. "Long-term tests at our in-house laboratory have shown that iglidur H5 is up to 30 percent more wear resistant than its predecessor H4." 

This was achieved by further optimising the polymer formula. iglidur H% has significantly improved impact strength and elasticity, and this complements the other materials of the "H-family", which are fibre-reinforced, especially for higher loads, are relatively stiff and less forgiving. 

iglidur H5 is also resistant to high levels of force, but significantly tougher than, for example, iglidur H3 and H4.
iglidur H5: strong, up to five times lighter, resistant up to 200°C
There are numerous possible applications for these new iglidur H5 plain bearings in the automotive industry. One is the operation of windscreen wipers. They must function reliably under high loads – for example, with a fully snow-covered windscreen. 

"That's why we added fibres and fillers to the base polymer,” says Dumayne. “Due to them, the plain bearings can withstand high forces and edge loads as well as impacts and shocks even under continuous stress". 

In addition, the new material is resistant to road salt, chemicals, fuels, oils, and high temperatures of up to 200°C. This also makes it suitable for use in engine components – for example in water and coolant pumps

"With iglidur H5, we have created an enhanced material with which we are now prepared for current and future requirements of the automotive industry," Dumayne says. 

However, the new polymer plain bearings are also applicable for pumps used in chemical plants and other industrial applications outside the automotive sector.

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