Bearing Materials

TriStar offers a wide range of bearing materials that are ideal for non-lubricated, high-load applications.

Saint Gobain Materials

TriStar is the exclusive partner of Saint Gobain for Rulon materials in North America. 

Materials and Fabrication

Our capabilities include component design, material selection, prototype, production, and manufacturing.

Materials Database

Use our interactive database to search for and compare over 450 materials.


Surface Modification

Learn how our Enhanced Materials Divison (EMD) modifies existing materials to meet specific needs.



Since 1982 we have been combining the skills of TriStar’s engineering team, our extensive product line, and our deep understanding of a broad range of industries to bring you solutions to your most challenging engineering needs.

Problems / Solutions

Explore the common causes of bearing failure and learn how advanced polymer and composite bearings can address them.

Application Case Studies

Enhanced Materials Division (EMD)

EMD  positions TriStar Plastics as the leading resource to solve your demanding engineering material challenges.

Enhanced Materials Division (EMD)


View our library of engineering worksheets — the quickest way to communicate your project specs — or reach out to our engineering team.


Here are a few of our most popular online engineering tools - including our PV calc and material database (450+ materials).


Learn about our quality program and view our current ISO cert.


Technical Library

Our collection of case studies, product specs, brochures and other key technical documents.

Free White Papers

Our library of free-to-download white papers focus on industry-based solutions, specific materials, bearing design, and more...

All White Papers

Deep Dives

These pillar pages provide in-depth information on bearings and problem/solutions for specific industires.

All Pillar Pages

More Resources

Our popular resources, including our monthly newsletters, blog, and our video library.

Education Overview


TriStar Plastics Corp. Webstore

Customer Portal

TriStar Plastics Corp. Customer Portal
Portal Features
Request Portal Authorization Code

About Us

TriStar Plastics Corp. provides engineering, custom fabrication and manufacturing of high-performance plastics and self-lubricating bearing materials. 


We're dedicated to building a company where opportunities exist for talented people to achieve their maximum potential.

Let's Go Paperless...

To save time, paper & postage please sign up for paperless invoicing and payments.

Contact Us

Go here to request a quote or for general questions (document requests, billing inquiries, etc.).


Ask the Expert

Have a material or application question for our engineering team? Want to send us a file for review? Go here.


Let's Go Paperless

In an effort to save time, paper and postage please sign up for our paperless invoicing and payments.


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!

New Call-to-action


Topics: Bearing Selection
2 min read

How Will the Food Safety Modernization Act Impact 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!

New Call-to-action


Topics: Bearing Selection
2 min read

Engineering Plastics Against Steel – Coefficient of Friction

By Jim Hebel on April 28, 2016


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

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 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!

Bearings 101: What They Are, How They Fail, and Why They Matter

Topics: Bearing Selection
Content not found