Plain is not always simple
Plain bearings are an indispensable part of Schaeffler’s extensive portfolio, and there are a great many applications that could not run stably and reliably without them. We work closely with our customers from the early stages of the design process onwards in order to generate added value for every bearing position.
Safe, stable and adapted to Nordic climate
Hydraulic cylinders for moving construction machinery, grinding rolls in cement mills, continuous casting plants in steel mills, rotor blade adjustment drives in wind turbines, pivot joints for optimum steering capability in road rollers, train doors and bogeys, escalators, and airport baggage retrieval belts: all of these applications require plain bearings.
In several Finnish cities trams are running smoothly with the help of Schaeffler's plain bearings. These bearings have been specifically developed for the harsh climate. They are able to run all year around, connecting the modules together and giving superb functionality for the tram movements. For the newly built Raide Jokeri light rail tramway in Helsinki and Espoo, Schaeffler provides bearings in 29 trams. The rail tramway covers a length of 25 kilometers, with an average operational speed of 25 km/h, and for the up-coming Crown Bridges line further 23 trams are ordered. With four joints per vehicle, Schaeffler will be providing a total of 204 plain bearing joints to ensure that the ForCity Smart Artic X54 light rail vehicles work well in the harsh Nordic environment.
Plain bearings from Schaeffler are also used in famous buildings outside of the Nordic countries. To mention a few: the glass roof of Berlin Central Station, Wembley Stadium and the London Eye, both in London, as well as the Turkey’s Osman Gazi Bridge.
The spherical plain bearing manufactured by Schaeffler in 2019 – with an outside diameter of 1,900 mm and weighing 4.7 tonnes – was the largest spherical plain bearing in the company’s history to date. It was installed in a cutter dredger – a working ship that is used to remove solid material from the bottom of a body of water and transfer it onto land. This application presented such special requirements, Schaeffler designed a customised bearing for the application.
Extensive and proven portfolio
With its extensive range of sophisticated products, Schaeffler has been one of the technology leaders in the field of plain bearings for many years under their INA brand: this range includes spherical plain bearings with bore diameters of up to 1,500 mm, plain bushings and rod ends with bore diameters of up to 200 mm, and customer-specific solutions.
During the 1960s, Schaeffler succeeded in making two important developments: the first of these was the creation of the sealed spherical plain bearing design, which brought about the company’s breakthrough in the construction machinery and commercial vehicle industries. The second was the development of the ELGOGLIDE PTFE fabric, which allowed maintenance-free spherical plain bearings to be made. At the same time, ELGOGLIDE also offers specific damping properties that enable it to withstand both high static shock loads and alternating loads.
The continuous further development of Schaeffler’s plain bearings opened up one new application area after another. The option of freedom from maintenance allows users to create eco-friendly designs and to reduce construction and operating costs by minimising size and eliminating maintenance outlay.
2023 is no different, we are expanding our range further with our latest range, the E type. This is a standard performance spherical plain bearing, which is the perfect choice for all pivot points where torque-free movements are necessary.
Schaeffler is always focused on offering customers the greatest possible benefit regarding total cost accounting. For this reason, we have supplemented our well-known series of high-performance INA steel/steel spherical plain bearings requiring maintenance with a new standard performance series. With this new version, we can cover a wide range of customer requirements while offering a good price/performance ratio. The new standard bearings are marked with the suffix E for clear differentiation.