Ball bearing under water: xiros® polymer ball bearing vs. metal bearings

Patrick Czaja | 16. April 2020

igus has the world’s largest test laboratory for plastics in moving applications in Cologne, with around 12,000 tests per year. This includes tests that demand everything from the most diverse materials under the most adverse conditions. At the present test, a xiros fixed flange ball bearing competes against its metallic counterpart in a salt water test. Two ball bearings under water: who wins?

Test set up

The test was as follows: a container was filled with sea salt water and heated to +80°C. Two ball bearings, a conventional fixed flange bearing made of metal and a xiros fixed flange ball bearing made of xirodur B180 were then placed in the salt solution for 120 hours. In the xirodur B180 material, igus has a high-performance polymer that has been subjected to numerous tests and further developed over many years. In order to get the corrosion process going faster, both ball bearings were partially in the salt water bath and were in contact with the air.  

Ball bearings under water: metallic bearing corrodes after only a few hours

In the comparison, the polymer xiros fixed flange ball bearing emerged as the clear winner, because the metallic bearing corroded after only a few hours. Rust settled on all components of the bearing. The polymer ball bearing, on the other hand, remained completely unaffected by the aggressive saltwater environment and the high temperature. Rust or change in colour of the material? Far from it!

Therefore, the xiros polymer ball bearing is especially designed for applications in cleanrooms or in the medical and food industry. In general, ball bearings consist of four components comprising an inner and outer ring, cage and balls as rolling elements made of stainless steel or glass. The most important technical advantage of xiros polymer ball bearings in contrast to their metallic counterparts is the hygienic dry operation, which means that our ball bearings do not require a single drop of lubricating oil. The frequently asked question about the service life of xiros polymer ball bearings can be answered with our online service life calculator.

Ball bearings under water: the test result
The result from the test laboratory

Furthermore xiros are polymer ball bearings:

  • Electrically insulating
  • Temperature-resistant from -40°C to +80°C
  • Maintenance-free
  • Non-magnetic
  • Low friction

For years our polymer ball bearings have been successfully used in numerous customer applications. Do you want to know where exactly they are used? Then just take a lookhere:

How igus products increase the service life of your extrusion line and avoid production downtime can be found here.

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