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Life’s a beech: Wooden shafts and plastic bearings save CO2 in manufacturing

04 December 2023

Machine builders are searching for ways to reduce their carbon content. New materials are coming under greater scrutiny in manufacturing processes, to replace metals and alloys or incumbent, carbon-heavy materials. Wood is a renewable raw material, and several seasoned woods have the physical properties to suit low- to medium-load applications like conveyors, as well as furniture-making and advanced joinery.

However, using wood for moving applications that need bearings has some issues. Metal bearings require lubrication that could potentially leak and affect the wooden shafts’ integrity. Plastic bearings need to be affixed to the wooden shafts with enough grip – or co-efficiency of friction – to withstand the forces of the application, and some plastics and woods have inadequate friction coefficients for long-term use. 
igus has developed a bearing made from recycled plastic material, which is well suited to wooden shafts, and has extensively tested its performance against metal shafts. 

Read the full article in DPA's December issue

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