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2 min read

Waterproof Bearings: Why Replace Stainless with Plastic?

October 31, 2017

Rulon W2 waterproof bearings excel in water meters without leaking or absorption

“You want to replace tough bronze bearings with plastic?” This was the comment one of our OEMs heard when attempting to retrofit their metal waterproof bearings with a plastic material on a water meter assembly. We were up to the challenge of answering this critical question, with this reply:

Customer questions posed to our Ask the Experts portal are always answered, as this engineer discovered when he described his situation:

The background

This manufacturer produces fresh-water industrial meters, and needed to replace a porous Oilite bronze bearing that was slowly leaching oil into the water. The oil not only contaminated the water supply but the bronze contained lead. The engineer also noted that the meter’s bronze hardware was incompatible with the stainless shaft which could lead to a cathodic reaction. The incompatibility caused the meter to give unreliable data readings on the water flowing through the pipes.

The recommendation

Our recommendation was to replace the bronze bearings with Rulon W2. While most filled-PTFEs are reserved for dry applications, Rulon W2 fluoropolymer contains an additive to enable waterproof service with minimal (to no) moisture absorption.

The result

After some initial hesitation about the durability of Rulon W2 vs. traditional bronze water meter bearings, our client agreed to testing. Results were overwhelmingly positive, as W2 eliminated oil leakage, and the material’s self-lubricating properties also eliminated abrasive wear on the stainless hardware. Rulon W2 provides one of the best wear and friction rates, plus good thermal dissipation for a longer service life – without replacement for years at a time. Explore more Rulon technical case studies.

Rulon W2 waterproof bearings excel by:

  • Eliminating stick/slip
  • Reducing abrasion in mating hardware
  • Providing dimensional stability in fresh and chemical environments
  • Ending moisture absorption
  • Ensuring compatibility with drinking water (DWGV certified in Europe)

While our client had excellent results with their Rulon W2 waterproof bearings, we also cautioned them about the prevalence of counterfeit bearing materials posing as genuine Rulon. Unfortunately, counterfeiting remains a challenge in industrial bearings, according to the World Bearing Association.

As the exclusive North American distributor of Rulon, only TriStar can guarantee the authenticity and proper processing controls are used in manufacturing. Read more in our paper, Rulon: How to Recognize Genuine and Avoid Counterfeit.

Rulon Bearings - How to Recognize Genuine and Avoid Counterfeit

Dave Biering

Written by Dave Biering