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+52 728 2843185

iglidur® plain bearings in ice melting probe withstand glacier conditions


  • What was needed: a reliable storing of the ice screw in inhospitable surroundings
  • Manufacturing process: Machined from bar stock
  • Requirements: Resistant to water and dirt, thermally insulating
  • Material: iglidur® A180
  • Industry: Research and Development
  • Success for the customer: Reliable and resilient bearing for use in extreme conditions

Melting probe  

igus® components meet all requirements

The "IceMole" is a melting probe, with which the polar regions, glaciers and as a long-term objective, extraterrestrial regions are to be explored. The probe essentially consists of a heating head with an ice screw and an aluminium housing, in which measuring instruments can be accommodated. The bearing of the ice screw must be insensitive to water and dirt, and should also be thermally insulating. Here, a component machined from an iglidur® A180 bar stock has been used.
Due to the partial control system of the heaters on the melting head and on the walls of the IceMole, this can melt a path through the ice. Even cornering is possible. During melting, an ice core passes through the hollow ice screw into the interior of the probe, where it can be analysed. With the aid of the ice screw, the probe's melt head is pressed firmly onto the ice, ensuring optimum heat transfer between heating head and ice. In addition, the IceMole can make its way through "dirty" ice and sediment layers with the ice screw.


Ice melting probe with ice core  

A media-resistant bearing for small installation spaces was searched for.

The ice screw is located in the middle of the melting head and rotates during the melting process. As a result, it generates tensile force that serves as propulsion for the IceMole.
A large moment is generated perpendicular to the axial direction during cornering. To support this, the ice screw bearing is located at the front of the melting head. The bearing should therefore be insensitive to water and dirt.
To effectively melt ice, the gap between the ice screw and the melt head must be small. This limits the installation space for the bearing.
It is important that the ice screw is thermally insulated from the melt head, so that the ice core inside the probe does not melt during the melting process.

iglidur® plain bearing on the ice melting probe  

igus® provides a customised solution

Above all, the combination of small installation space and high thermal insulation requirements led the team to decide on a plastic plain bearing for the IceMole. igus® recommends the "iglidur® A180 bar stock" plain bearing. The minimal moisture absorption makes the bearing very suitable for applications in the wet area and is extremely dirt-resistant. iglidur® A180 plain bearings can also be used in a wide range of environmental conditions and in contact with numerous chemicals.  

Further application reports

Individually manufactured bearings made of iglidur® bar stock

This prosthesis is an electrically powered finger. All axes involved in this movement are mounted through plastic sockets made of iglidur® J. Altogether, 8 bearings are integrated in one finger. The hand prosthesis must be able to cope in partially very harsh environments and remain fully functional in dirty or wet areas of application.
The bearings machined from iglidur® J bar stock are corrosion-resistant and have a low wear rate.

High load bearing made of iglidur® bar stock

For the "Dual Tube Night Vision Goggles", one of ACTinBlack's highest quality night vision goggles, a custom plain bearing was needed to  enable pivoting pods. These bearings should withstand the same environmental conditions as the night vision systems. Temperatures between -50 and 50 degrees Celsius are no rarity. Stability in case of improper treatment and a good stick-slip behaviour were also relevant for this vision aid. The bearing was made of iglidur® bar stock, as these are adapted to the conditions of use.  

No machine downtime thanks to custom plain bearings made of iglidur® bar stock

At the so-called tyre "soaping" station of MCSS MC-Syncro Supply GmbH, among other things, the inner bead of the tyre is moistened with soap by means of brushes. As a result, the grease gets washed out over time from encapsulated metal bearings. The result was that the metal bearings jammed and the shaft continued to rotate. Since iglidur® bar stock bearings have been in use, not only is the lubrication of the bearings dispensed with, but also costs associated with regular failure and replacement of bearings are also avoided.

More applications from different sectors can be found here.