Wear-resistant and quiet: igus develops a new two-component ball bearing

The combination of design and material creates a quiet, durable tribo ball bearing for high speeds

20 June 2022 – As a result of continuous research and development, igus is now introducing an innovative two-component (2K) ball bearing. The xiros® bearing, which requires no lubrication or maintenance, combines a wide range of properties. It is not only wear-resistant but also remains quiet and dimensionally stable even at high speeds. This means that the new 2K plastic ball bearing can be used in such applications as fans and blowers.

At high speeds, ball bearings require resistant materials to withstand the balls’ high centrifugal forces. However, hard materials combined with stainless steel balls can cause vibrations and become noisier. In order to achieve these precise properties, igus combines different designs and materials in an innovative way. The new xiros two-component plastic ball bearing requires no lubrication or maintenance and guarantees quiet operation even at continuously high speeds.

Hard shell, soft core

In the new 2K ball bearing, the blue layer made of xiros® D180 dampens noise. It is also combined with a hard shell, giving the soft, wear-resistant inner material high dimensional stability. Because the soft components are cast into the hard shell of both races, the balls always run on the soft, high-performance plastic during rotary movement and are supported by the shell. The design with undercuts ensures high adhesion for both materials and provides additional stability. Ball spacing is maintained with a wear-resistant cage made of the igus iglide® J3 plain bearing material.

The 2K ball bearing operates more smoothly and quietly at high speeds (in blowers or fans, for example) than standard ball bearings. In igus’s own test laboratory, tests showed three times less noise at high speeds than standard xiros ball bearings.

“During testing, the new xiros 2K bearing proved 9dB quieter, roughly half the volume of a B180 ball bearing,” says Lena Woelke-Glomb, a developer at igus.

Unlike metallic solutions, the tribologically optimized igus bearings require no additional lubrication to maintain this smooth operation. Even though no lubrication is needed, the tribo-optimized bearing achieves a long service life with low operating costs. The 2K ball bearing is available with an inner diameter of 10 millimeters, followed by the expansion to the standard range with inner diameters of 5 to 12 millimeters. Customized solutions and sizes can also be produced. An online configuration will be available in the next few months.

Award-winning design

Based in Hannover since 1954, the iF Product Design Award is one of the world’s most prestigious design competitions sponsored by the iF International Forum Design GmbH. The 132-member panel of expert judges evaluated over 11,000 submissions from 57 countries this year. The combination of material and design impressed the iF Product Design Awards judges, selecting the igus two-component ball bearing as a winner.

To learn more, see a 3D model and watch a video of the xiros two-component ball bearings, click here.

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