Sixty years ago, GGB Bearing Technology’s predecessor company, U.K.-based Glacier Metal Company, introduced the DU, the world’s first self-lubricating metal-polymer plain bearing material.
DU bearings combine the high load capacity and dimensional rigidity of lubricated metallic bearings with the performance self-lubrication. The structure of the bearings consists of a rigid steel or corrosion-resistant bronze backing (DU-B), which provides mechanical strength, while a porous sintered bronze interlayer impregnated with a homogeneous mixture of PTFE and lead provides low friction and high wear resistance.
The low friction of the bearings reduces power losses for improved energy efficiency, while the wear-resistant bronze layer provides extended service life. Being self-lubricating, the bearings require little to no maintenance. However they can also be used with lubricant to prevent potential shaft/bearing seizure under boundary conditions.
The bearings provide space and weight savings, and because there are no moving parts or metal-to-metal contact, the bearings are quieter. In addition, assembly can be done quickly and easily without costly mounting tools.
Today, GGB produces millions of DU bearings for use in numerous applications in a wide range of industries. These include agricultural and other off-highway equipment; automotive including trucks; aviation; business machines; garden, lawn and outdoor equipment; hydraulics and valves; homes appliances and consumer goods; material handling; medical and dental; marine; packaging; recreational vehicles; railway equipment; textile equipment; and tools.
When they were introduced, DU bearings represented a major technological breakthrough, becoming an industry standard. They also served an important foundational role in the subsequent development of a range of stronger, more durable and environmentally friendly lead-free, metal-polymer bearings.
These include marginally lubricated DX bearings for grease or oil lubricated applications (1965); HI-EX marginally lubricated bearings for high-temperature applications (1986); DP4 bearings for automotive shock absorbers and other hydraulic applications (1995); DP31 bearings for improved performance under lubricated conditions, wear resistance, fatigue strength and low friction (2003); DX10 bearings for Class 7-8 trucks; DP10 and DP11 bearings for superior performance under marginally lubricated and dry running conditions (2010); and DTS10 machinable metal-polymer bearings for the fluid power and compressor markets.