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ZYS Lubricant-free Bearings Will Protect Environment
Jul 22, 2017

The Iglidur plain bearings from Igus are tribologically optimised to ensure that no lubrication is ever required. Over 40% of all lubricants are ultimately released into the environment, seeping into water or soil, or evaporating into the atmosphere. A study by a research team of chemists, mechanical engineers and environmentalists at the RWTH University in Aachen, Germany, found that Germany alone consumes 250,000 tonnes of lubricants each year. To put this into perspective, this would fill 8000 standard tanker lorries. Most countries have a threshold level permissible in waste streams and hundreds of millions of pounds are spent annually treating aste water to get to acceptable levels. The Iglidur plain bearings from Igus are tribologically optimised to ensure that no lubrication is ever required. These bearings run without any oil or grease, so no contaminants escape into the environment. More and more applications which traditionally use lubricated metal plain bushes can now benefit from environmentally friendly plastic Iglidur bearings. 

While 15 litres of oil are required to produce 1 litre of aluminium and 11 litres of oil to make 1 litre of steel, only 1.8 litres of oil are necessary to produce 1 litre of plastic. In fact, only 4% of the world's oil production is used in the manufacture of plastics and this value is likely to decrease with the progress that is being made in the organic production of polymers. The first steps are being made in extracting carbon dioxide from power station emissions and using this to produce polymers such as polycarbonate and polyurethane. As well as the "no lubrication" environmental benefit of Iglidur bearings, there is also the issue of weight reduction. The light weight bearings help to reduce the fuel consumption and carbon dioxide output of vehicles, aircraft and plant machinery. The reduced weight leads to a lower required drive force and subsequently lower energy consumption. 

Iglidur polymer plain bearings have, as standard, high chemical resistance, whereas metal plain bearings often have to be coated to achieve this. The coating methods used include zinc plating, treatment and galvanising, consuming more energy. Iglidur plain polymer bearings are designed to be dimensionally interchangeable with lubricated plain metal bearings.