Polymer Bearings Market: Overview
Plain bearings are an extremely simple form of bearing that are devoid of rolling elements. Hence, the part of the shaft that connects with the bearing (known as the journal) can slide over its surface. Typically, a device that allows linear or rotational movement while simultaneously handling stress and reducing friction is known as a bearing.
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Producing plain bearings requires a material that is durable, can withstand wear, does not cause friction, and is resistant to elevated temperatures and corrosion. Generally, this bearing comprises of two parts – the hard element which supports the load and the soft element which supports the hard element.
One of the materials used to produce plain bearings is polymer. Consumption of polymer bearings is now rapidly increasing because of their dry-running lubrication-free properties. They are resistant to corrosion, lightweight, and maintenance-free. Their only limitation is their production process of injection molding, which does not guarantee all kinds of shapes. The ones that are feasible are restricted by a pre-determined standard design practice. Polymer bearings are bound by the same design restraints as all other plastic parts: high thermal expansion, creep, swelling due to moisture absorption, reduced life/ increased wear/ softening at high temperatures, and brittle fractures at cold temperatures.
Polymer bearings are rather common at present with applications in farm equipment, photocopy machines, textile machinery, tills, medical devices, marine equipment, car seating, and food & packaging machines. Common polymers used to form bearings include polyacetal, nylon, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), phenolics, ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), urethane, PEEK, vespel (a high-performance polyimide), and rulon.
Polymer Bearings Market Trends
Major applications of polymer bearings are observed in the automotive and industrial machinery sectors. The expansion of this market is directly proportional to the global industrial production. Other sectors in which polymer bearings are employed include aerospace, railway, off and on highway, construction equipment, agricultural equipment, and wind turbines.
The polymer bearings market is driven by a surge in industrial machinery and automobiles. Another propellant is the investment made in the aerospace sector. Their application in wind turbines is also increasing as a result of the mounting concerns about global warming. The market shares of railway equipment and electronics in developing regions are also likely to rise in the near future.
Polymer Bearings Market Segmentation
Based on material, the polymer bearings market can be segmented into polyacetal, nylon, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), phenolics, ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), urethane, PEEK, vespel, and rulon.
Based on application, the market can be divided into following categories: agriculture, graphics, textile, medical devices, marine, automotive, and food & packaging. Based on lubrication system types, the divisions are class I, class II, and class III.
Polymer Bearing Market: Region-wise Outlook
Asia Pacific dominates the polymer bearings market by holding a major share in the global market. The market in Asia Pacific is dominated by China in terms of volume. Countries such as India, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Korea are projected to exhibit a relatively higher growth rate and are touted to be key markets in the near future. Asia Pacific is closely trailed by Europe due to the presence of market leaders such as Germany, France, Italy, and Belgium which together constitute a prominent share in the regional polymer bearings market. In Latin America, Brazil is estimated to expand substantially.
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Polymer Bearing Market: Key Players
Key players operating in the polymer bearings market include Enpro Industries Inc., Federal Mogul Corporation, Igus, JTEKT Corporation, LM-Tarbell Inc., Mineba Co. Ltd, Misumi USA Inc., NKE Austria GmbH NSK ltd, NTN Corporation, RBC France SAS, Rexford Industries LLC, Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG, SKF Group, and Timken Company.
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