Wear-resistant plain bearings from igus are key parts in The Curfboard, a new type of sports equipment that combines a surfboard and skateboard and requires strength under extreme loads.
Developers at curfboard, a company in Munich, Germany, chose resilient, maintenance-free and reliable bearings from igus that are made with the company’s iglide Z and iglide J350 high-performance polymers. The Germany-based company runs its North American operations out of Providence, R.I.
The Curfboard combines skating and surfing into a new piece of sports and leisure equipment. The manufacturer claims the Curfboard is “the ultimate surf-ride feeling on wheels.”
The Curfboard is designed with axes that do not have rubber dampers or springs. They employ a 4-joint kinematic, which makes them self-regulating. Gravity assists the automatic adjustment to the weight of the rider.
In addition, the board has better response behavior, making it easier to control. The rider does not need to push off to move. Instead, similar to surfing, speed is built by shifting body weight, even uphill. The demands on the components are therefore particularly high.
While the skateboard stresses axles and bearings, particularly when cornering, the Curfboard is exposed to continuous stress. Stephan Augustin, the inventor the Curfboard, chose wear-resistant plain bearings from igus.
Passing the hardness test
In search of the proper plain bearings, Augustin carried out a four-month outdoor test under the harshest conditions with bearings from various manufacturers. “After evaluating the test results, it became apparent that only the igus plain bearings made of iglide Z and iglide J350 met the requirements,” Augustin said.
Whereas metal/PTFE composite plain bearings wore out after a short time and completely failed, the iglide plain bearings demonstrated extreme durability.
The bearings also had to be abrasion-resistant and corrosion- and maintenance-free, despite the permanent high loads. The iglide material is characterized by its wear resistance and insensitivity to edge pressure.
Plain bearings made of iglide J350 are used at less stressed points. The material offers a low coefficient of friction on steel and aluminium and is insensitive to shocks and impacts.
In addition, both materials – like all iglide plain bearing materials – do not require any lubrication. Thanks to the solid lubricants embedded in the plastic, the bearing remains completely dry. Dirt and dust cannot easily adhere and wash off easily.