New self-lubricating and maintenance-free igus plain bearings for the automotive industry of the future

Alternative to metal: iglide H5 series bearings are particularly robust, chemical-resistant, and lightweight

10 October 2022 – Robust, corrosion-resistant, chemical-resistant, and lightweight – the automotive industry places high demands on plain bearings for everything from engine compartments to windshield wipers. Since many bearing materials reach their limits here, igus®, the Cologne-based plastics specialist, is launching an alternative: Plain bearings made from iglide® H5, the new high-performance plastic.

Plain bearings in the chassis, gearbox, convertible top systems or pedals should be robust, durable, and corrosion-free. When used in windshield wipers, for instance, they should also be resistant to a wide range of chemicals. Lightweight is also important to increase range and reduce power consumption.

“This is comparable to a lightweight boxer who has to survive in the heavyweight division,” says Stefan Loockmann-Rittich, Head of Business Unit iglide plain bearings at igus. But throwing in the towel is not an option. “In order to meet the increasing demands of the automotive industry, we have developed iglide H5, a new high-performance plastic for plain bearings.”

A high bar: iglide H5 is 30 percent more wear-resistant than its predecessor

iglide H5 is the fifth member of the iglide H family. All previous materials in the family are often more durable and fail-safe in automotive engineering than most plain bearings made from metal composites and conventional plastics.

“With iglide H5, we have raised the bar even higher,” says Loockmann-Rittich. “Long-term tests in our in-house test laboratory have shown that iglide H5 is up to 30 percent more wear-resistant than its predecessor, H4.”

This improvement was achieved by further optimizing the formulation. The new iglide H5 material’s significantly improved impact resistance and flexibility complement H-family materials, which are also fiber-reinforced, primarily for higher loads, while remaining relatively hard and, therefore, brittle. iglide H5 is also resistant to high loads and force application but more durable than iglide H3 and H4, for example.

iglide H5: Robust with as little as one-fifth the weight of alternative materials and resistant to temperatures of up to 392° F (200° C)

Automotive engineering has many possible applications for the new plain bearings. iglide H5 can be used in windshield wipers, which must work reliably under heavy loads such as snow and ice.

“We have therefore added fibers and filling materials to the base polymer. They enable the plain bearings to withstand high forces, edge loads, and impacts and shocks, even under continuous load,” says Loockmann-Rittich.

The new material is also resistant to road salt, chemicals, fuels, oils, and high temperatures. It is, therefore, also suitable for components in the engine compartment, such as water pumps and coolant pumps.

The iglide H5 is a refined material that ideally prepares us for current and future requirements in the automotive industry. But the new polymer plain bearings can also be used in pumps in chemical plants and other industrial applications. To learn more about media-resistant and robust iglide H5 bearings, click here.

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