Lubrication-free, plastic-metal rod ends: for better hygiene and higher loads in the food sector

Member News

igubal stainless
steel rod ends with iglidur
A160 enable lubrication-free dry running with no risk of contamination

Constant relubrication of metal
bearing points in the food industry costs time, money and increases the risk of
contamination. Maintenance-free igubal spherical plain bearings from igus are
an economical and safe alternative. Now igus has introduced a new variant for
higher loads, equipped with a stainless steel housing, a self-lubricating
polymer inner ring and a stainless steel ball. This makes it possible to
convert applications with higher loads to future proof tribo (lubrication-free)

Rod ends are an integral part of
mechanical and plant engineering for the food industry. They are used
everywhere from the filling line to the butcher’s machinery to the packaging
system, and they transmit dynamic forces in pivoting, tilting and turning
movements. Rod end heads must be relubricated to guarantee low-friction
movement between the sliding ring and the ball. This is a job that is not only
time-consuming but increases the risk of contamination, because dirt and dust
form unwanted deposits.

“To assist food processing
company operations and at the same time improve hygiene in their moving
applications, we have expanded our range of igubal rod ends,” says igus UK
Product Manager Dean Aylott. “The new plastic-metal hybrid part consists of a
steel housing and ball, as well as an inner ring made of the FDA and EU
10/2011-compliant high-performance plastic iglidur A160.”

Hygienic dry running thanks
to microscopic solid lubricants

As with all iglidur plastics, the high-performance plastic iglidur A160
contains a solid lubricant that is released in minute quantities over time. It
ensures low-friction dry running between the inner ring and the stainless steel
ball. The absence of lubrication also significantly accelerates cleaning of the
rod ends, because with no grease, dirt and dust have little chance of being

To increase food safety further,
iglidur A160 is blue, a colour against which food residues and mould spores can
be quickly detected during cleaning. In addition, the colour is easily seen in
a food environment. “This high level of hygiene is also confirmed by the
approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which follows one of
the strictest hygiene guidelines in the world,” says Aylott. “The
same applies to compliance with EU directive 10/2011.”

Clean, and very robust 

The new igubal rod ends are both
hygienic and robust, even in outdoor applications, providing a higher breaking
force and stiffness compared to plastic. In addition, they are resistant to
moisture, acids, alkalis and UV rays and are suitable for temperatures between
-40°C and +90°C.

According to results in the igus
test laboratory, the abrasion resistance of iglidur A160 is also 10 times
better than that of polyamide, even with fast rotation of the shaft. “Users can
therefore significantly increase the reliability of their systems with a small
investment,” says Dean Aylott. The new rod ends are available in sizes M6, M8,
M10, M12, M16 and M20.