German motion plastics specialist igus has developed a tough and wear-resistant pillow block bearing for use in solar trackers. The igubal bearing (ESQM-110) uses the company’s proprietary plastic that allows the panels to move without lubrication, eliminating maintenance.
The igus-designed bearings include square tubes of 110 millimetres, which do not require lubrication. The housing is robust and the inner spherical ball is wear-resistant, consisting of lower and upper parts for easy assembly and disassembly. Despite its light weight, this bearing is able to support very high loads.
igus performs extensive in-house testing on all of its products. “In order to simulate the service life of the pillow block bearing reliably, we conducted a continuous pivot test with a load of 1.5 tons placed on the bearing,” said Thomas Preißner, igubal product manager at igus. “Normally, the solar systems pivot only once a day. With one pivoting per minute in our test, we simulated an operating time of 72 years. Afterwards, there were no noticeable wear marks on the bearings. Due to the spherical ball, it is possible to compensate for alignment errors on the profiles in very large solar parks.”
Test results far exceed the expected life of the solar array (usually around 20 to 30 years).
In addition to the solar industry, igubal pillow block bearings can be used in applications such as x-ray machines or washing systems. To provide a high degree of freedom in design for a wide range of customers, igus also offers the possibility to obtain custom-made versions for further square dimensions on request.
igus has its 157,500 square-foot U.S. corporate headquarters and distribution facility in Rhode Island.
News item from igus