March 25, 2020
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For good reason, needle bearings have earned their place as one of the preferred choices in industrial and automotive power transmission applications. They can handle relatively high load and speed capacity in a compact design.
However, as engineering and material design has evolved, the limitations of needle bearings have become more and more apparent, leading many product developers to recognize the durability and performance advantages of plain bearing technology.
A manufacturer of rocker arms for top-performing drag racing, circle track and off-road vehicles was using needle bearings as pivot points for seamless engine valve lifting. Over time, the manufacturer observed that the high friction of the needle bearings reduced rocker arm performance and caused shaft damage at high RPMs. Seeking a high performance, low-friction replacement, the manufacturer approached GGB for a plain bearing solution.
DU® self-lubricating bearings consist of a strong steel backing, a porous bronze sinter layer and a low-friction polymer resin lining. This composite metal-polymer bearing structure features a thin, lightweight design that can withstand dynamic loads up to 140 MPa (20,000 PSI) and temperatures up to 280oC (536oF).
In addition to their high load capacity, DU® plain bearings are able to operate at high speeds up to 1000 fpm (5 m/s) unlubricated and 2000 fpm (10 m/s) lubricated. Further, the thin wall design of DU® metal-polymer bearings allowed the manufacturer to use a larger diameter shaft, helping decrease valve train flexure and deflection.
DP4® low-friction plain bearings offer similar properties to DU® with the added benefit of being lead-free.
The following performance benefits were also obtained after replacing needle bearings by GGB DU® self-lubricating bearings :
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