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3 minute read • published in partnership with igus

Feature: Field-tested reliability – igus composite bearings in agriculture

The switch to igutex® polymer bearings for long standing customer and agricultural equipment manufacturer Sumo UK, has allowed them to produce longer lasting, durable machinery and save on the cost of standard metal bearings that require lubrication.

Finding bearings that are cost-effective, tough enough to take on the most heavy-duty loads, and that minimise the impact on the environment is no mean feat. igus has managed to do this and more with the igutex® bearing range, designed to withstand the pressure of demanding industries such as agriculture and construction.

Renowned manufacturer of cultivation equipment, Sumo UK, know that engineering is fundamental to success and there is no room for error. Producing equipment that often weighs upwards of ten tonnes requires technical solutions that can take high loads frequently and with ease.

igus has helped Sumo UK to produce longer lasting and more durable agricultural machinery / Picture: igus

This is where igus® was able to provide the perfect solution. A long-standing customer, Sumo UK were first introduced to plain bearings in 2017 and they have been installed in some of the heaviest equipment with no complaints. However, Sumo UK wanted to go a step further and assess how igutex compares to other options in high load applications where greased metal bearings are usually fitted. No stone was left unturned as factors such as load, wear resistance, serviceability and cost were all incorporated into the final decision: increase the number of igutex products used on Sumo UK products.

Providing lasting solutions with heavy-duty igus bearings

As a leading motion plastics company, igus has a constant focus on adding value for machine builders through improving all types of motion. One of the underlying strategic drivers is to be able to deliver sustainable solutions that have minimal impact on the environment, which has been happening for years, long before it became fashionable to do so. These core principles are present in all igus products, including the range of igutex bearings. igutex bearings are a composite material engineered with fibres and resins which are treated with high temperatures and pressures to create an exceptionally hard-wearing material. Not only can this range accommodate exceptional loads, but it also has a very wide window of operating temperatures ranging from -60 degrees up to +120 degrees. Combined, these qualities allow igutex® bearings to be used in a variety of industrial environments at reasonable prices, reducing cost for customers as well as saving maintenance and lubrication requirements.

As a result of the assessments carried out by Sumo UK, conclusions were made that for a majority of applications, igutex TX1 and TX3 would be the best components. The bearings are primarily used in the articulation geometry on folding hinge points, running on mild steel connection pins. The igutex TX1 and TX3 materials both have excellent running characteristics in oscillating motion, exactly what is needed in their applications.

Tried and tested quality solutions

A strong relationship has formed between igus and Sumo UK over the years as both companies prioritise quality and reliability. The testing carried out on all igus products is thorough. With around fifteen thousand tests carried out a year, all products undergo rigorous testing, with the added transparency of allowing customers to see the products for themselves before they decide to invest. In summary, igus uses plastic technology to solve engineering problems in the toughest environments, something clearly achieved with the tilling equipment at Sumo UK.