Ball bearings for medical technology: quality is in demand

igu-blog-adm | 14. January 2021

In medical technology, the bearing components must meet the highest requirements. Typical applications are, for example, those with high speeds, a high level of hygiene and a certain resistance to aggressive environments. Due to the high hygienic demands placed on ball bearings for medical technology, the lubrication-free factor plays a significant role.
Due to the fact that comparable solutions made of metal cannot do without lubrication and there is a risk of contamination of the application environment, alternatives are necessary to maintain sterility and cleanroom suitability. Lubrication-free and maintenance-free ball bearings made of high-performance polymers from igus impress in medical technology applications with their specifications. Whether devices for the rehabilitation of patients after operations in the form of prostheses or orthoses, X-ray robots, laboratory equipment, hospital beds or peristaltic pumps: you are on the safe side with igus.

Customer applications with polymer ball bearings for medical technology:

Hose pumps

Hose pumps, also called peristaltic pumps, are widely used in medical technology. They are used especially in dialysis to transport blood and to enable the blood to be “forced through” by the mechanical deformation of a pump hose. Ball bearings and hoses are therefore exposed to great material stress and are subject to the highest quality demands. The xiros polymer ball bearings impress with their 100% freedom from lubricants in a sterile application environment.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

For a rehabilitation system to be used during fMRI, components that do not influence the imaging process are necessary during the performance of physiotherapeutic exercises. Only components that are bidirectionally compatible are eligible. Due to the strong magnetic field, ball bearings that are non-magnetic and also have low friction are needed. In addition to the requirements already mentioned, xiros polymer ball bearings ensure absolute freedom from lubrication and a long service life.

Furthermore, in the MRI area, ball bearings and special bearings – in the form of ball bearings with glass balls – are used for table adjustment in order to “move” the patient and position him/her in the best possible way.


Bio-reactors refer to containers that cultivate specially grown micro-organisms in a nutrient medium in order to obtain cells. RNA vaccines, including Covid-19 vaccines, are currently being produced very frequently in bio-reactors. Built-in ball bearings are exposed to strong X-rays, which are used to sterilise the bio-reactors and kill viruses. Metal ball bearings are unsuitable here.

xiros polymer ball bearings made of A500 material with a PEEK cage and glass balls as rolling elements are ideal for use in aggressive application environments.

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