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Novel two-part ball bearings cut noise, even at high speeds

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Aug 10,2022

The German engineering plastics specialist igus has developed a plastic ball bearingthat unusually combines two materials to make it wear-resistant and dimensionally stable and quiet, even at high speeds. This design makes the xiros 2K bearing suitable for use in applications such as fans and blowers.

When ball bearings operate at high speeds, they need materials that can withstand the high centrifugal forces of the balls in the bearing. But these hard materials, when used with stainless-steel balls, lead to high levels of vibration and noise. The new two-part lubrication- and maintenance-free plastic ball bearing ensures quiet operation even at high speeds.

The noise-dampening effect is provided by a layer of blue xirodur D180 material. To give this 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 when rotating and are supported by the shell.

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

Compared to standard ball bearings, the new xiros 2k bearing achieves particularly quiet, smooth operation at high speeds. Tests have shown that the noise levels are around three times lower at high speeds than for standard xiros bearings. “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,” reports igus UK’s Drytech director, Rob Dumayne.

Unlike metal bearings, the tribologically-optimised plastic bearing does not need external lubrication to maintain its smooth running. Despite the lack of lubricants, the bearing has a long service life with low running costs. The bearing will be available initially with an inner diameter of 10mm, and versions from 5–12mm are planned. Customised versions will be possible.

An online configuration tool for the xiros 2K bearing is planned.

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