New Smart Bearing Provides Information in Good Time

igus added an intelligent plain bearing to its smart plastics product range. The new bearing indicates its degree of wear in good time and prevents machine and equipment failure.

by Elena Magistretti

A packaging equipment that comes to a standstill, a wind turbine that no longer turns or an agricultural machine that stops working: all of these situations cause a lot of trouble and should be avoided at all costs.
igus has therefore added the world’s first intelligent plain bearing to its range of smart plastics products. The bearing, made of high-performance polymer “iglidur” detects wear in extremely stressful applications in advance and sends a signal to the user in good time if the bearing threatens to fail. Maintenance work can therefore be planned and operators of agricultural machines, for example, are not surprised during the harvest season. This smart iglidur bearing has been designed primarily for difficult-to-access bearing points and for applications where no regular maintenance intervals have been planned.

Smart plain bearings are individually designed
The body of the new smart iglidur plain bearing consists of two components: the internal, lubrication-free iglidur material and an outer hard polymer shell that protects the bearing. Customers can choose the material that is most suitable for their applications, from the complete range of iglidur materials. In order to measure the amount of wear, an intelligent sensor is used between the two components. The measured data of the sensor can be integrated by the machine and equipment operators in their systems in different ways. For example, it is possible to inform the operator about the plain bearing’s wear by means of a warning light, where an automatic cut-off is also a possibility for integrated use of the sensor data. For high-end applications, the data can be sent directly to a control system, which, after their analysis, passes the data on to a customised web interface via the icom communication module for the purposes of maintenance and repair. In this way, the user can plan maintenance and replacement by means of a terminal device of his choice.