Bearings facilitate movement while reducing friction. When choosing bearings engineers have two categories of bearings at their disposal: rolling bearings and plain bearings (also known as bushings). Most know what a rolling bearing (or ball bearing) is, but have difficulty with the different plain bearing varieties.
The majority of plain bearings are simple in design using either metal or plastic formed into the desired shape. Some plain bearings are more sophisticated and consist of a carrier material (metal) and a polymer layer. If you’re looking to understand more about the major types of bearings and bushings, head to our blog: A guide to bearings and bushing.
Plain bearings are used in a wide range of applications, and can broadly be divided into radial bearings, thrust bearings and linear bearings, depending on whether they’re working with rotational or linear movements. Its alternative name of “sleeve bearing” gives you the best idea of a plain bearing use and appearance. The plain bearing has a sliding layer and because some of them are self-lubricating, they provide a smooth and reliable operation. The simplest type of bushing is a cylindrical, sleeve-shaped design, used in radial loads. For additional axial loads, a bushing with a flange is the best option. Plain bearings are widely used across many industries, particularly if there are heavy load requirements. They’re found in machinery with rotating or sliding shafts, and depending on the material, can be a good option when quiet operation is needed.
NORGLIDE® Bearings reduce the friction between two mating components without a rolling element. The material structure of NORGLIDE® Bearings is what makes them unique. A NORGLIDE® Bearing is metal reinforced, self-lubricated with a layer of low friction PTFE. It is used in applications where plain and conventional rolling element bearings are applied.
Traditionally NORGLIDE® Bearings would be classified as plain bearings (or bushings), sliding bearings or sleeve bearings. NORGLIDE® Bearings are tailor-made unlike conventional bearings and not confined by standard bearing types or geometries. NORGLIDE® can be manufactured in a vast range of shapes and sizes, this is explained more below.
The material composition of every NORGLIDE® material is different. A NORGLIDE® Bearing is metal reinforced, self-lubricated with a layer of a low friction compound tape.
Most bearings consist out of a metal backing and a compounded PTFE layer. There are a number of different metal types that can be used for the metal backing, each one has different benefits. Selecting the right metal will depend on the application and performance needs such the mating surfaces. Onto this metal backing a layer of PTFE is applied, there are various compounds available, resulting in low wear and friction. The combination of the different metal backings and PTFE compound layers will deliver performance outcomes for a variety of requirements. Our engineers understand the properties of each material and their performance characteristics, such as reduce excessive torque from high loads, compensate tolerances, improve sizing, offer damping and corrosion protection etc. To determine the correct metal and sliding layer combination for your system or application our engineers’ will work with yours, engineer to engineer to understand the performance requirements alongside other considerations such as the surface material of mating components, environmental influences, temperature, linear or rotational movement.
The load carrying capacity and sizeability of NORGLIDE® Bearings can be further enhanced by adding a metal interlayer. The interlayer can be made of bronze, stainless steel, aluminium-cladded steel or aluminium depending on your requirements. A bearing made up of two layers (metal backing, PTFE layer or metal layer inside a PTFE layer) or three layers (metal backing, PTFE layer and metal interlayer) is known as a composite bearing and the combination of materials chosen to create the composite bearing will all influence the bearing’s overall deliverables. This can be discussed in more detail with our engineers and using their knowledge the right mix of materials for your system can be determined.
One of the advantages of working directly with customers to design component solutions is a deeper knowledge and understanding of their challenges. This facilitates research into new material options or component designs supported by a global team of R&D experts and subject matter specialists mixed with our extensive testing capabilities. On-going research and testing widens our knowledge of how NORGLIDE® Bearings perform and the factors impacting performance, such as environmental differences, surface materials, the use of lubricants, force and friction (tribology).
The shape and geometry of every NORGLIDE® Bearing is designed to fit its specific application. We pay careful attention to the desired outcome, including crucial factors such as the clearance or interference fit with the mating components. The shape of bearings can vary greatly, with characteristics such as flanges, spherical shapes and holes being customized to enhance the overall performance of the application.
|Cylindrical Bearing||Flanged/Sleeve Bearing||Thrust Washer||L-Bearing|
|Sliding Plate||Half-shell||Conical||Ball Joint Bearing
The story of NORGLIDE® Bearings starts with a company named Pampus, formed in 1919. It was the Pampus company that began studying the materials bearings were made from and started using PTFE as a bearing material in the 1940’s after recognising the benefits that it could offer, including the removal of lubricants.
Through their research new material innovations were developed and industrialised and they became the biggest manufacturer of fluoro plastic in Europe. From Pampus to NORGLIDE®, the history of the bearing and the development of materials such as METALOPLAST can be found in our blog The History of NORGLIDE®.
Interested in finding out more? Contact us to speak to an engineer about how you could use NORGLIDE®.