No Lube, No Problem

Self-lubricating bearings are a good choice when relubrication is not possible or when liquid lubricants cannot be used in the operating environment. Self-lubricating nonmetallic bearings use a filament-wound fiberglass epoxy resin matrix with a woven bearing element of Teflon and polyester. These bearings can be made inexpensively and in a variety of shapes. The article cites some specific applications of these bearings such as food processing equipment where special lubrication is usually required, and on sea-going vessels where any lubrication is quickly washed away. On self-unloading barges, nonmetallic bearings support cylinders that position the booms that unload the cargo. The booms and cargo have a combined weight that can reach 200 tons. Since nonmetallic bearings can better handle water washing away lubrication, have a better resistance to corrosion from salt-water, and can handle large loads, they are clearly a choice worth considering for machinery near the ocean. The article also discusses some other interesting applications of nonmetallic self-lubricating bearings.