How to Select Materials for Plastic Bearings?

While plastic as a material created a revolution in the 20th century due to its several applications, it was considered environmentally unfriendly and not as robust as metals due to its low impact strength over the last few years. Also, most types of plastics that could be recycled became a concern as landfills started piling up with plastic as garbage. However, with technological advancement and developments in the polymerization process, plastic has become a new-age material used in several applications in terms of strength, self-lubrication, sturdiness, light weight, flexibility, and most importantly reusability. Various types of plastics are widely preferred for machining different parts and components owing to their beneficial features. Plastic bearings and bushings are the most popular examples. Would you like to know what are the commonly used materials for plastic bearings? This post highlights the same. So, stay tuned.

Types of Materials Used for Plastic Bearing

The following list describes different materials used for CNC machined plastic bearings. Let’s have a look at them.

  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE): This is perhaps one of the most popular materials used for creating plastic bearings. It is resistant to chemicals in the form of ketones, oils, minerals, diesel, acetones, and several acetates. It is an excellent choice for several applications subjected to harsh weather, chemicals or vapors, lubricants, and much more. This material possesses a significantly low coefficient of friction (COF) and can operate over an extremely wide temperature range from -330 to 360°F continuous, and can extend to 550°F for a short term.
  • Phenolics: It is one of the most popular thermoplastics that is known for exceptional tensile strength, shock resistance, great fire retardance, low toxicity and smoke emissions, non-friction properties, and much more. Phenolics are produced by the reaction of phenols with aldehydes. Phenolics provide sufficient clearance and cooling for heavily loaded systems.
  • Acetal: Popularly called Delrin, acetal finds uses across several industries owing to its stability, stiffness, resistance, sturdiness, and other beneficial properties. Although stiff, it is flexible enough to ensure that the machined parts meet the required shape, size, and dimensions. It can combine with any other material to enhance its mechanical strength.   
  • Ultrahigh-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE): This resin is an ideal replacement for parts made from nylon or PTFE and acetal materials. Being an extremely tough material with high abrasion and wear resistance, it has become popular across applications that demand low friction, durability, and chemical resistance.
  • Nylon This is a great replacement for several CNC machining metals such as copper, steel, iron, and so on. It can withstand extreme temperatures and possesses immense durability and strength. This material offers fatigue resistance, making it the preferred choice for several challenging applications. Bearings made from this material exhibit excellent machinability and wear resistance.

Why Are Plastic Beatings So Popular?

Plastic machined bearings have gained immense traction as it provides several benefits. Contrary to the metals that generate electric shock in certain applications, plastic polymers are insulators. They possess high resistivity, and also exhibit anti-static properties. This enables plastic bearings to diminish the electrostatic charge. The following are some important advantages of plastic bearings that have contributed to their popularity.

  • Plastic bearings are more resistant to corrosion and chemically non-reactive. This makes them ideal for use in several wash-down applications, harsh chemicals, and salt waters without compromising on their performance.
  • They are extremely durable and cost-efficient solutions available today. They feature a high wear resistance and COF over the lifetime of the bearing. Plastic bearings are cost-effective as well.
  • Plastic bearings are greaseless. This helps maintain a clean and contamination-free operational environment.
  • They require zero or minimal maintenance, which reduces the downtime possibilities.

Owing to the undeniable benefits of plastic bearings, they are widely preferred in the following industrial applications:

  • Machining tools
  • High-speed spindles
  • Rotary tables
  • Pool cleaners
  • Dishwashers
  • Business machining, like ATMs
  • Food and poultry systems

An appropriate thermoplastic when machined can make sturdy and durable bearings for a variety of applications. Although the material selection is crucial, employing an adequate machining technique is equally important. Plastic bearings with varied specifications are produced using different machining techniques, and CNC machining is popular among them. CNC machining can produce precise plastic bearings in custom specifications to fulfill the application needs. If you want to utilize CNC machined plastic bearings for your forthcoming industrial project, you should approach a reliable industry player in machining and fabrication, such as Brogan & Patrick Manufacturing Corp. With years of market presence and skilled employees, the company has been providing efficient CNC machining services across the USA.