SPRINGLIDE™ is a unique spring energised bearing material constructed by bonding a soft polymer material to a spring steel. SPRINGLIDE™ uses spring elements like waves, ribs or fingers and the low friction properties of a polymer layer, mainly PTFE-Compound.
Using a spring preload combined with PTFE to address issues such as damping, misalignment and tolerance compensation, SPRINGLIDE™ Spring Energised Bearings solve a number of manufacturing headaches at the same time.
Engineers face a challenge when selecting the right component for systems that require smooth, consistent (linear or rotational) sliding force in an environment with unpredictable misalignment.
The solution to this dilemma requires the radial spring characteristics of a tolerance ring combined with the low friction of a sliding bearing.
Our Saint-Gobain engineers decided to combine the RENCOL® Tolerance Ring with the NORGLIDE® Bearing, the result: SPRINGLIDE™. The spring properties of the RENCOL® Tolerance Ring takes up the clearance between mating components while the PTFE layer from NORGLIDE® Bearings provides the smooth, consistent sliding performance required.
With these qualities, SPRINGLIDE™ solves the major issues of conventional bearings and provides the performance expectations that a high-quality bearing needs to deliver:
For the manufacturer, criteria such as total solution cost, size, weight and ease of assembly are important. SPRINGLIDE™ can help reduce or improve these outcomes as each bearing is custom-made to fit the use case.
Traditionally, for plain bearings, manufacturing tolerance ranges can cause high friction variation. To keep the friction low and constant, a clearance fit is required which can cause rattle noise.
Spring energised bearings maintain low friction levels without requiring strict tolerances. That’s because SPRINGLIDE™ Spring Energised Bearings can be preloaded with a slight press-fit to eliminate clearance. This tight fit eliminates any clearance rattle noise.
The polymer layer enhances the dampening effect and reduces amplification of any resonance. While the shape and the spring steel control natural resonance frequency.
Misalignment in an assembly needs to be addressed to deliver high-performance and meet quality expectations. Neglecting this issue can result in stick-slip and high torque. This can be felt as a resistance when a mechanism is moved and should be kept to a minimum.
SPRINGLIDE™ is designed to account for misalignment or tolerance discrepancies during manufacturing or the system assembly. The layer of spring steel provides the elastic properties necessary to handle tolerance ranges even under varying loads and tolerances – a unique feature of the SPRINGLIDE™ technology.
Every SPRINGLIDE™ Spring Energised Bearing is custom designed to your specific torque or friction level and designed to deliver a consistent slide force over tolerances and misalignments. This coupled with vigorous testing gives you the confidence that it will perform well, time and time again.
SPRINGLIDE™ Spring Energised Bearing technology is a high-performance solution offering unique design combinations. The various designs deliver flexibility to guarantee a smooth consistent feel and NVH reduction.
This versatile material can be formed into any shape that is tailored to the specific requirements of a customer application. The following designs are currently available and have undergone extensive testing:
The SPRINGLIDE™ finger design creates low friction bearings with zero clearance for axial sliding movements. It eliminates rattle and minimizes variation in moving force coming from tolerances or misalignments over a wide range.
Slotted Rib design
The SPRINGLIDE™ slotted rib design. This is used for bearings with a desired sliding force and torque level. It provides defined stiffness for radial load cases and guarantees zero clearance to avoid rattle as well as constant sliding forces over a wide tolerance range and under variable loads.
The SPRINGLIDE™ wave design produces bearings with defined torque for rotational movements. It guarantees zero clearance to avoid rattle and constant sliding forces over lifetime.
By utilizing unique shapes and geometries, SPRINGLIDE™ can be formed into infinite design possibilities. The stamped design can be used as a push nut with bearing properties to reduce the number of required parts in your system.
Unique design possibilities
The spring steel backing allows SPRINGLIDE™ to be formed into unique designs that can be used to simplify systems and save space, weight as well as cost. So how does your next design look like?
In order to choose the right SPRINGLIDE™ solution for the right application, it is important to understand the benefits and limitations of the different styles. Each energised bearing is designed with a different stiffness value to accommodate a range of potential applications.
For applications that are designed to slide or rotate with consistently low effort the load determines the design. The slotted rib design accommodates high load applications while the spring finger solution was developed for low load applications. For cases where high forces are required to hold a system in place, the higher stiffness wave design was created. The graph below illustrates the required friction forces to achieve the desired performances.
The desired forces were confirmed through detailed testing techniques. The sliding force and torque were tested as two fundamental criteria. Both were tested through a range of interference conditions. The results confirm the expected trend.
Both the slotted rib and spring finger solutions have outstanding tolerance compensation ability. This is because the spring steel finger and bridges found on the two styles have a low stiffness so can flex to fit within different size housings while maintaining a constant radial force. The spring finger has the greatest level of tolerance compensation and the slotted rib can be used with higher forces.
The higher stiffness of the wave style ring has resulted in an energised bearing that is better suited for high force applications and for pose-ability. This is defined as the ability to move the system and release without it moving on its own. As an automotive example, this is a useful property for a high quality interior arm rest.
An optimal bearing assembly needs to be tailored to the specific performance requirements of the application. Often, there is no single component that can stand up to that challenge.
The features and infinite design possibilities of SPRINGLIDE™ present the opportunity to save space and reduce weight. By combining multiple technologies into one unique component that offers spring fastening with a plain bearing, SPRINGLIDE™ can be used to reduce the number of parts in your system, simplifying the system packaging, saving space and weight and, as a result, reduce cost. A good example of this is the SPRINGLIDE™ push nut.
The SPRINGLIDE™ stamped solution can be used to reduce cost in systems where a non-coated push nut or flaring is currently used in conjunction with a sliding element.
As an example, this combination can be found as a seat cross-tube fixation. SPRINGLIDE™ stamped solution can be formed into the shape of a push nut but with the simple addition of PTFE onto one side of the part, it can also act as a bearing. The result is a reduction in the overall number of parts, a reduction in the space required to accommodate the solution and a reduction in weight.
Through collaboration and testing we create solutions for engineers. With SPRINGLIDE™ you no longer need to choose between consistently low adjustment forces and low rattle noise. The combined benefits of spring steel and a polymer layer creates clearance free sliding systems with smooth and easy adjustment, every time.