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2 min read

The Dust Stops Here: Which Bearing Types Overcome Dusty Environments?

By Dave Biering on January 30, 2018

Which Bearing Types Overcome Dusty Environments?

Dust and debris are a challenge to all bearings. but impact some bearing types more than others. Food processing lines, paper mills, construction sites and other environments produce airborne contaminants than can clog and impede bearing rotation. And lubrication levels play a key role in bearing success or bearing failure, too. Let’s clear the dust to review bearing attributes for overcoming a dusty environment.

Why is dust a problem in bearing performance?

It boils down to length of service. A contaminated bearing will simply fail sooner, which can impact production rates, as manufacturers are forced to stop their equipment for maintenance and replacement. Dust can be in the form of sand (from paper processing), food debris (generated from peanut processing), metal particulate (kicked-up from machining) are just a few examples. No matter the cause, as dust accumulates, it becomes abrasive, which lowers the effectiveness of seals and bearings alike.

Dusty environments are a big challenge for rolling element bearings, as particulate pits the rollers. racers and bearing surface. Dust thickens into layers as it accumulates (forming a lapping compound), which interferes with the clearance between the bearing and shaft. And without good clearance, bearings will stop running and equipment will seize.

How can you stop dust accumulation?

We have a few solutions. A good filtration system is essential to capture larger contaminants. Good compatibility between bearing and seal should be considered. Regular cleaning of your metal bearings and housings will also make a difference; it’s critical to remove excess grease by following a regular maintenance schedule. Because the more grease build-up, the thicker the lapping compound.

Beyond these preventative measures, you can also eliminate the problem of lubrication buildup entirely by considering a non-metal, composite bearing design. Although all bearing types require a level of lubrication to block contaminants from entering the bearing surface, self-lubricating bearings operate in a way that does not produce excess grease. They can reduce overall bearing maintenance costs, and promote a cleaner manufacturing environment. An extended service lifetime is another benefit; you can learn more about avoiding bearing failure here.

Connect with an Expert with any questions about the right bearing type for your environment!

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Topics: Bearing Selection
2 min read

How Will the Food Safety Modernization Act Impact Your Bearing Selection?

By Dave Biering on June 27, 2017

How Will the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Impact Your Bearing Selection?

Are you ready for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)? The clock is ticking — and most manufacturers need to be in full compliance with the regulations by the end of 2017. Bearing selection can play a key role in helping you achieve compliance of your food processing and packaging equipment. We’ve got some insights to make the selection process easier.

The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law back in 2011, and represents the most-sweeping overhaul of food safety legislation in over 70 years. The goal of FSMA, of course, is to increase consumer safety by preventing food contamination through better processing and preparation of food products. Although implementation dates have been staggered over several years, 2017 represents the year most US food manufacturers must be fully compliant.

But the reality is that not all manufacturers are ready.

Recent interviews with food processing OEMs cite that only 50% are prepared to meet the FSMA’s timeline. And of those interviewed, most claim that they are having the most difficulty with getting the right cleaning systems in place. They need clean-running equipment to expedite GMP and FSMA.

Granted, equipment bearings are just one small part of an overall manufacturing compliance plan, but these small devices can pay big dividends.

With the right bearing selection on their processing equipment, food manufacturers can:

Realize easier industry certification

Some bearings are pre-certified with industry third-parties such as FDA, USDA, and 3A standards. With these bearings on food conveyors and pick and place equipment, food processors are a step ahead in meeting the requirements of FSMA. Pre-certifed bearings can shorten the installation approval timeline.

Reduce cross-contamination

Bearings with high-release properties stay cleaner, longer since they eliminate food residues from accumulating. For example, poultry processing includes a series of drills and hooks to move the meat along the production line. When meat residue clings to the drill housing, bacteria and other contaminants can cross from one bird to the next. Bearings with good release properties (such as Tivar and Ertalyte) do not hold on to this residue, to reduce the chance of cross contamination.

Eliminate impurities from lubricating films

Bearings need lubrication to run, yet excessive lubricating grease promotes a lapping compound to form around the bearing. The compound then acts as a magnet for dust and other impurities. By using grease-free equipment bearings, manufacturers can eliminate this common form of food contamination.

Promote good sterilization

Good cleaning and sterilization of processing equipment is a key way to prevent food contamination per the FDMA. But not all bearings can tolerate the common chemicals used to clean food processing equipment like phosphoric, nitric, and hydrochloric acids. These can all weaken and cause failure in metal bearings, but have no impact on composites and polymers. When selecting your equipment bearings, look for those that are compatible with required sterilization chemicals.

Beyond improving FSMA compliance, your bearing selection can also impact your overall productivity. Because bearings that require little maintenance and have good environmental tolerance also tend to last longer. And longer-lasting bearings can save on your replacement costs. It’s a win-win.

Want more information on FSMA? Check out this FAQ sheet from the FDA, or get a custom consult on bearing selection!

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Topics: Bearing Selection
2 min read

Bearing Material Selection - Thermoset or Thermoplastic? [Tech Tip]

By Dave Biering on February 7, 2017

Bearing Material Selection - Thermoset or Thermoplastic

Similar names, yet completely different bearing materials. Which category should you select? In today’s Tech Tip, we examine the “thermo” categories. Here are some key attributes to know before making your plastic bearing material selection:

The key difference between these composites is that thermoset plastics remain in the same state, while thermoplastics can be heated and melted again and again to form new shapes. Ultimately, your application will dictate your choice of bearing material, but understand:

1) Material type

Thermoset: Synthetic materials that are not able to be reheated or remolded.

Thermoplastic: This is the largest group of plastics (polymers) and the group is also known as “thermosoftening” plastics given their ability to melt at high temperatures.

2) Heat Resistance

Thermoset: As it cures, the material increases in its ability to resist heat and succeed in high-heat applications (approaching 400° or more).

Thermoplastic: Readily liquefies upon reaching melting points. The materials also hardens and strengthens after cooling.

3) Chemical Characteristics

Thermoset: This category often incorporates fillers. When heated, the material’s molecules begin to crosslink, which helps to determine final strength and other characteristics. However, some of these materials also have a tend to shatter under certain circumstances.

Thermoplastic: Provides good chemical resistance (will reform without any chemical changes), but keep in mind that material properties will deteriorate if over processed. Thermoplastics offer good impact-resistance as compared to thermoset plastics, and are also easily recycled.

4) Machining

Thermoset: Some of these are brittle and chip easily, making them hard to machine into custom parts. Other thermosets with fillers and fibers are easier to machine and produce very clean finished parts.

Thermoplastic: Are stronger and well-suited to machining techniques – as long as proper heat controls are followed. Get the Machining Slide Deck to review heating and cooling guidelines.

5) Bearing Nomenclature

Thermoset: Common formulas include Phenolic, Epoxy, PTFE, Ultracomp, CJ, Micartas, Melamine and some grades of imides.

Thermoplastic: This group includes both trade and generic names, representing Acetal, ABS, nylon, polyethelene, PET and PBT.

When it comes to bearing material selection, the category of plastic will depend on the end use of the product. Get some expert advice for your application.

Custom Plastic Fabrication: Get the Guide!

Topics: Bearing Selection
2 min read

Engineering Plastics Against Steel – Coefficient of Friction

By Jim Hebel on April 28, 2016

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Guest Blogger - Quadrant Plastics

The first step to understanding the Coefficient of Friction (COF) of engineering plastics when compared to that of steel is grasping that the COF is not based on a material’s property alone, but is rather a system’s property. One part/piece/component does not make a system and therefore requires the evaluation of the total solution.

The values for the COF of engineering plastics can be used for comparative purposes in helping the design engineer in selecting the appropriate material option for the intended application. The main parameters that affect the COF in the evaluation and selection of engineering plastics are:

  • pressure
  • relative sliding velocity
  • geometry of the parts in contact
  • temperature
  • nature, roughness and hardness of the steel mating surface
  • total operating time
  • nature of any intermediate medium, e.g. water, lubricants, abrasive particles
  • specific properties of the plastics material

This data has been determined on a specific tribological device under a set of standard laboratory conditions, and should not be used to predict the frictional behavior of the materials under real service conditions which may very well be quite different than those used in our laboratory tests.

Please also note that the values for the COF of Quadrant’s engineering plastics provided in our technical literature should not be compared with other brands of engineering plastics as they were likely tested under a completely different set of test conditions which may result in values that are lower or higher than our published values. You can count on Quadrant’s material data to be accurate for the FINISHED material and not pre-manufacturing resin data.

Quadrant always recommends that the user run a practical test under real service conditions in order to determine the actual COF and performance of an engineering plastic and/or to compare different engineering plastics in an application.  

For detailed information on the COF of Quadrant’s engineering plastics, please get in touch with the bearing experts. Visit TriStar's Video Learning Center to learn more about several of the most popular Quadrant materials.

Topics: Bearing Selection Guest Blogger Quadrant
2 min read

ASTM Standards in Bearing Selection: Why are they Important?

By Dave Biering on December 15, 2015

ASTM Standards in Bearing Selection: Why are they Important?

Have you downloaded your free copy of the Bearing Selection Design White Paper? If so, you’re probably familiar with ASTM Testing Standards for plastic materials. Today we’ll provide a review of why these standards are an important consideration in bearing selection. 

ASTM helps to ensure that only quality, raw materials are used to produce bearings and other industrial goods. The standards are highly-regarded throughout the plastic supply chain. Here are a few FAQs about this industry organization:

  • What is ASTM? - ASTM (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials) is the governing body of the plastics industry and the group responsible for classifying the quality of raw materials. 
  • How are the standards used? - ASTM standards help to specify, test, and assess the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties of plastic products and their polymeric derivatives. 
  • Why are ASTM standards important? - ASTM is in many ways the quality-control “clearing house” of plastic raw materials. When you purchase ASTM-compliant plastics (either as a manufacturer or an end-user), you can be certain that your raw materials will perform as specified. The standards also help determine when products are safe for use. 
  • ASTM Standards and Bearing Selection - In terms of bearing selection, ASTM standards simplify the selection process by creating a level-playing field for material guidelines. In the automotive industry, for instance, ASTM offers assurance to both the auto manufacturer (who can specify exacting requirement for building their parts), and to the consumer (who can be assured they are buying a safe vehicle). ASTM standards for auto bearings may include rigidity and flexural properties, heat deflection, impact and stress resistance, among others. ASTM review can help determine auto performance.

Common ASTM Standard Test Methods for classifying plastic bearings:

D149 Dielectric Strength

D150 Dielectric Constant and Dissipation Factor of Plastics

D256 Izod Impact

D638 Tensile Properties of Plastics

D648 Heat Deflection Temperature

D695 Compressive Properties of Rigid Plastics

D570 Water Absorption of Plastics

D7774 Flexural Fatigue Properties of Plastics 

D790 Flexural Properties of Unreinforced and Reinforced Plastics and Electrical Insulating Materials

D792 Specific Density & Gravity

D953 Bearing Strength of Plastics

D1822 Tensile Impact

D2990 Tensile, Compressive and Flexural Creep and Creep-Rupture of Plastics 

D3418 Melting Point

D3702 Coefficient of Friction

D7107 Creep Measurement of Self-lubricating Bushings*

*ASTM International astm.org

Ready to explore ASTM standards for your next bearing selection? Just Ask an Expert for a recommendation!

Topics: Bearing Selection
2 min read

Bearing Selection and Achieving the Right Press Fit

By Adrian Carrera on August 25, 2015

Bearing Selection and Achieving the Right Press Fit

I had a great conversation this week about bearing selection and the intricacies of finding the right press fit. As a quick review, press fit is defined as the value of interference between the shaft and the inside diameter of the bearing, or the housing bore and the outside diameter of the bearing when installed.

Why is press fit important in bearing selection? Check out a recent calculation for our Ultracomp composite material.

In order to generate a proper press fit for our Ultracomp product line, TriStar Plastics requires the housing bore dimension with tolerances, the shaft dimension with tolerances, along with the exposed applications temperature variations. The example below features an example of a press fit utilizing a housing bore of 0.5934/0.5941,” shaft 0.499/0.498 with the temperature varying from 68 deg. F to 200 deg. F.” 

To find the right press fit, you must also consider material creep and the vibration that occurs during rotational operation. Without the right fit, bearings can experience stress through extreme friction and heat due to thermal expansion, or they may be exposed to dust or other abrasive particles that are generated. Obtaining secure press fit also allows for torque transfer and for preserving axial location. Read about plastic custom fabrication in our Machining Plastics White Paper. 

Key considerations for a good press fit: 

  • Interference fit: Also known as a press fit or friction fit, is a fastening between two parts which is achieved by friction after the parts are pushed together, rather than by any other means of fastening.
  • Thermal expansion: The tendency of matter to change in volume in response to a change in temperature, through heat transfer. 
  • Running clearance: Is the calculated free space between either the shaft and the inside of the bearing, or the outside of the bearing and the housing. Running clearances can be affected dramatically by thermal cycling and, when combined with frictional heat, can be the difference between success or failure of the bearing.
  • Close In: For our Ultracomp products is a percentage of the material that will compress in on itself from the given restrictions on either the outside or inside diameter of the bearing. If close in is not properly calculated it could lead to bearing failure. Close in is determined by the bearing wall thickness, and shaft diameter. 

We can do a similar calculation for your application, just fill out a Design Worksheet! Or want to discuss your bearing selection with an Expert? Just Ask! 

Bearing Selection and Achieving the Right Press Fit

Topics: Bearing Selection
1 min read

Bearing Nomenclature 101: When to choose bearings vs. bushings?

By Dave Biering on May 14, 2015

Bearing Nomenclature 101: When to choose bearings vs. bushings?

When should you choose bearings vs. bushings? I’m often asked about bearing nomenclature (see our recent blog entry on plane bearings vs. plain bearings). So today let’s set the record straight on bearings and bushings:

A bearing is designed to “bear” or carry stress or loads in various design applications, but to add a layer of confusion, bushings are often referred to as plain bearings or sleeve bearings. Generally speaking, the difference between bushings and rolling element bearings in that bushings are designed as a single part, while bearings can have multiple parts.

Both bearings and bushings can be composed of metal or plastic composites, or a combination of the two. Plastic bearings provide the advantages of a self-lubricating design (never needs grease), plus corrosion and chemical resistance, and superior longevity and wear.

The automotive industry tends to use the terms bushing and bearings interchangeably, and they often employ bearings with a plastic-lined bearing with a bronze interlayer (such as TriSteel bearings). These bearings excel in heavy-duty sliding, oscillating and rotary applications, such as auto transmissions, shock systems and gear boxes.

Ultimately, your application requirements will dictate the bearing/bushing decision! Want to review bearing nomenclature? Or have a technical question answered? Get in touch with the bearing and bushing experts!

Bearing Selection: Get the Ultimate Plastic Bearing Design

Topics: Bearing Selection