igus – the German manufacturer of polymers, has introduced new swivel bearings to the market that can be used to build lightweight support systems that facilitate the movement of parts in various industrial equipment. The bearing, named “PRT-04”, is 60% lighter than its predecessor PRT-01 and is half the size, but at the same time is still extremely strong and able to withstand axial and radial forces as well as tilting moments while the machine is moving. By default, the bearings are manufactured using injection molding, however igus also offers the option of 3D printing them to suit individual customer needs.
Annular slewing bearings enable a component to rotate in any application or system. The bearing consists of two concentric rings, the outer element being flat on a stationary surface and the inner element being attached to the rotating object allowing it to rotate. igus points out that installing the drives and systems needed to enable movement in confined spaces is a very big challenge that companies face in many industries, especially as the requirements for machine components are becoming more and more stringent.
In an attempt to meet these requirements, heavy-duty bearings that take up little space in a given system are very much in demand on the market. PRT-04 – Like all igus bearings, they are self-lubricating and insensitive to dirt, dust and moisture. With an outer diameter of 60 mm, they are also the smallest installation size of any of the company’s PRT series products.
The bearing consists of three aluminum rings and a newly developed sliding element made of the proprietary polymer iglidur J. This material works exceptionally well with aluminum, ensuring good wear rates, while increasing its resistance to moisture and chemicals.
“Aluminum with plastic has two decisive design advantages: it is light but stable,” explains Fabian Wieking, product manager for PRT ring bearings at igus, “The PRT-04 can therefore compete with comparable products on the market despite its small size. and to carry heavy loads (up to 3500 N) in the axial direction, even though it is much more compact”.
The PRT-04 is designed to enable smooth rotational movements even in tight spaces, in automotive applications, on trains or airplanes. As for the ability to customize the bearings via 3D printing, it is possible on request.