Igus has developed a new ecological plastic bushing made of 54 percent raw, renewable materials. Iglide N54 plastic bushings use vegetable oil rather than the more traditionally used crude oil. They are suitable for low-load applications in a variety of different industries such as consumer products, general mechanical engineering and furniture. "The new, self-lubricating Iglide N54 material is the first step towards developing an environmentally friendly, or "green", plastic bushing," explains Tom Miller, bearings unit manager for igus.
Iglide N54 fits seamlessly with Igus' commitment to developing environmentally friendly plastic bushings to replace metal or bronze bearings that require messy lubrication. In comparison, every Iglide plastic bushing uses solid lubricants embedded inside millions of tiny chambers that cannot be pressed out. This means the bushings do not require any oil or grease and so no contaminants are released into the environment. In addition, an Iglide plastic bushing is lighter than its metal counterpart, which leads to reduced energy consumption.
Furthermore, less energy is required for the production of plastics compared to metals. For example, the energy from four gallons of crude oil is necessary to produce four cups of aluminum, and the energy from three gallons of crude oil is necessary to produce four cups of steel. In comparison, it only takes 0.48 gallons of crude oil to create four cups of plastic and igus expects this value to fall even further based on continued breakthroughs in the field of vegetable-oil-based plastics. According to the European Bioplastics Association, which serves as both a contact platform and catalyst for advancing the aims of this growing industry, the global production capacity for bioplastics will more than double from 2010 to 2015.