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What are plain bearings?
The plain bearing is the most common type of bearing in equipment construction and mechanical engineering. The friction between the moving parts is reduced by lubrication, by creating a lubricating film or by using low-friction material pairs. Of course the wear is correspondingly high. In addition, the creation of the lubricating film represents an additional expense. The sliding resistance generates the conversion of a part of the kinetic energy into thermal energy. This causes the bearing parts to heat up. There are signs of wear and tear. One of the best solutions to this problem is ceramic plain bearings. These are of course produced in both small and large series.
Ceramic plain bearings the solution to all problems?
Silicon carbide is used as a ceramic material in pumps. For large pumps, this is even used in fibre-reinforced applications. The plain bearings are located in the pump housing. They are lubricated with the pumped liquid. Ceramic plain bearings offer the great advantage that they are highly corrosion-resistant. These products can also withstand higher temperatures. This type of plain bearing is also used as a ball bearing. The very high degree of hardness results in extremely low wear. What causes the high degree of hardness? This is created by the crystalline structure similar to that of diamonds. The material silicon carbide is used for plain bearings without pressure and densely sintered.
Technical specification of the material "silicon carbide
This type of ceramic plain bearing is mainly used in thermal applications. These plain bearings are also used in the private sector (hand mixer). In the industrial sector, this type of technical ceramic is used in plant, equipment and mechanical engineering. The life cycle costs are very low, especially for this variant of plain bearings.
All-ceramic plain bearings made of zirconium oxide ceramics are also used as ball bearings. They have comparable mechanical properties and a similar thermal expansion behaviour to steel. Zirconia is harder than steel. It also has a very good tribology. These materials are characterized by high quality and durability. These plain bearings are excellently suited as composite components to steel.
Silicon nitride ceramic plain bearings are characterized by extreme hardness and fracture toughness. They are also very light and have extremely high mechanical strength. A special property is the thermal shock resistance. This variant is mainly used as a plain bearing for wire guides.
Alternative, efficient and successful use in fixture construction
Fixture construction is a special form of tool construction. The main focus here is on exact and high-quality reproduction in large quantities. These processes are usually very cost-intensive. But sometimes it is also about single pieces or small series. Due to the properties of high-performance ceramics, e.g. high thermal, mechanical and chemical resistance, this material is particularly suitable for use in fixture construction, e.g. for plain bearings, etc.
Ceramic plain bearings are characterised above all by high hardness, dimensional stability, thermal resistance, chemical and mechanical stability, fracture resistance, long service life and versatile application possibilities. Silicon carbide ceramic in particular is a material which, due to its crystalline structure, comes very close to the hardness of diamonds and withstands correspondingly high stress. Ceramic plain bearings are regarded as high-performance ceramics that have to withstand the strongest continuous stress.
They are used extremely successfully in the chemical and food industries as well as in plant, conveyor and machine construction. Small and large series are possible at any time. Special designs according to customer drawings are successfully implemented. Due to its special properties, this type of plain bearing represents a cost-effective alternative for fixture construction. But ball bearings can also be manufactured from this high-quality material. There are almost no limits to creativity with this product. The price-performance ratio is excellent and represents one of the quality features of ceramic plain bearings.