Today all major manufacturers of commercial and military aircraft, both fixed- and rotary-wing, and their Tier-1 suppliers look to us or lightweight, maintenance-free bearings to reduce fuel and labor costs.
Among the aerospace applications in which our bearings are used are aircraft landing gear struts, or shock absorbers, where they eliminate ladder cracking and heat damage on the strut rod surface. One of the world’s leading commercial aircraft manufacturers has specified our DU-B bronze-backed, metal-polymer bearings for all current production. OD-wrapped and sleeve bearings were specified on the basis of their uniform friction and wear properties, high load capabilities, resistance to corrosion and increased component life.
Steel-backed DU® bearings, both custom and standard, are also used in the landing gear and flight control systems of military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, as well as in the wing flap actuators of personal jets. In both applications, the aircraft-proven bearings provide high load capacity, space and weight reduction, and long service life.
Another GGB bronze-backed, metal-polymer bearing, DP4-B, is used in the landing gear struts of large military transport planes. In this application, the bearings provide stiction-free performance, low friction and high wear resistance, while being subjected to numerous small oscillations and extreme operating temperatures, ranging from -54°C to +110°C (-65°F to +230°F). The DP4-B self-lubricating plain bearings perform particularly well under intermittent operation with reciprocating or oscillating movements, and their bronze backings make them corrosion-resistant.
DP4-B self-lubricating bearings are also used in rotary aircraft applications, such as the hydraulic mechanisms that allow the blades of helicopters to fold, where they provide greaseless, maintenance-free performance for up to 5,000 folding cycles. In addition DU-B bearings are used in the pivots that lock and unlock the lifting winches on large commercial and military transport helicopters. Exposed to operational and environmental extremes, the bearings are providing 15 years of heavy usage with no maintenance required.
Our DX® metal-polymer bearings are used in the uplocks for missile launchers on jet fighter aircraft. Here the bearings are subjected to extreme temperatures and the oscillating movements of the connecting rods that join the support shoes on the missile to the support structure on the aircraft. The DX® grease lubricated bearings provide optimum performance under relatively high loads and low speeds.
Airport ground support equipment features our HSG (High-Strength Gar-Max®) fiber reinforced composite bearings in scissor lift type applications, involving significant loads, intermittent operation and often harsh environmental conditions. Offering higher compressive strength and more consistent friction than greased bronze bearings, the HSG composite PTFE bearings are abrasion- and corrosion-resistant for extended service.
Other aerospace applications in which our bearings are used include hydraulic fuel pumps; anti-flail bushings in the U.S. Joint Forces tilt-rotor aircraft; and wing de-icing systems for commercial aircraft.
GGB EP® engineered plastic bearings are also used in a variety of interior applications, including seating, overhead storage compartments and galley fixtures.
GGB DU® self-lubricating aerospace bearings have even traveled to Mars aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover, which explored the surface of the planet to investigate if conditions may have been conducive to life. For more information about GGB aerospace bearings, visit our aerospace market webpage.