Our specially developed durable D-glide® composite bearing material (often called FRP) allows for technical opportunities that exceed those of all traditional bearings. D-glide® is a non-metallic material, created to be the best possible sliding bearing, applying the latest knowledge of science, physics and chemistry. It comprises modern, man-made fibres that provide both high strength and resilience with a certain amount of elasticity. The resin systems used are resistant against all ‘normal’ external influences, chemically, thermally and otherwise. Friction modifiers such as PTFE are incorporated to minimize friction and maximize wear resistance. D-glide® composite bearings can bear high loads, have ultra low friction values, are extremely wear resistant and can operate maintenance free.
DRIE-D has an experienced and specialized team of engineers, that develops custom bearings for your motion challenges, using the properties our D-glide® composite material in the most optimal way.
DRIE-D is the sole manufacturer of D-glide® composite sliding material, often called Fibre Reinforced Plastic. D-glide® is produced with the latest generation of synthetic fibers, resins and additives. This results in high load capacity bearings, that can operate in most applications without any form of maintenance.
Unlike traditional bearing materials, such as bronze or steel, D-glide® is no metal, but a synthetic composite material. This makes the behavior of D-glide® bearings very different compared to traditional bearings, both mechanically as in terms of sliding properties.
The load capacity of D-glide® is comparable with the better metallic bearings. Since D-glide® is more elastic than metals, forces are spread more equally. As a result the overall capacity of D-glide® in general is better. Being non-metallic is a major technical asset, D-glide® cannot corrode or cause corrosion. It cannot cold-weld on a counter face, not create surface fatigue nor any of the other tribological issues that do plague metal bearings. Probably the biggest advantage of well-designed D-glide® bearings is the possibility of maintenance free, non-lubricated usage. This not only is a huge environmental advantage, it also minimizes operational costs and provides unparalleled gains in reliability. D-glide® bearings can even operate in (sea) water, without any additional requirements.
Even though the load capacity (compressive strength) of D-glide® is very high, the material is still relatively elastic. This makes the use of D-glide® bearings possible in applications where high deformation or misalignment is required, which metal bearings cannot accommodate.
Sliding properties of D-glide® are also very different compared to traditional bearings, which are strongly dependable on the presence of lubrication (grease or oil). D-glide® is filled throughout the entire material with solid lubricant, which means additional lubrication is not required.
On top of that, the fact that D-glide® is not a metal has a number of additional advantages:
- No risk of fretting (metal-to-metal contact)
- Counter-face friendly
- Electrically insulating
- No corrosion
D-glide® material composition
D-glide® is produced using synthetic fibers combined with a thermosetting resin. A common term for materials made from a plastic with fibers for additional strength is FRP. FRP stands for fibre-reinforced plastic, but is sometimes also referred to as fiber-reinforced plastic or fibre-reinforced polymer.
The fibers in the material provide the largest part of the high mechanical strength and high wear resistance of the material. The resin is used to bind the material as a whole and enables the use of additives throughout the material. Depending on the grade of D-glide® these additives are used to lower friction or increase wear resistance for instance.
The fibers of the material are produced in the form of a cloth. This cloth is drenched in resin and wound around a mandrel, creating a tube shape built from multiple layers. During the curing process afterwards the thermosetting resin hardens, creating a solid material.
The shape of the material is determined during this curing process and in basis D-glide® can be produced in two shapes:
- Tube material
- Sheet material
D-glide® product types
The D-glide® base tube or sheet material can be used in many different product types. The most common product types are:
- D-glide® bushings
- D-glide® collar bushings
- D-glide® sliding plates
- D-glide® spherical bearings
Next to this standard product range there are many other products in which the excellent mechanical and sliding properties of D-glide® can be used.
Applications for D-glide®
The (ultra-) low friction values, high mechanical strength and elasticity and excellent wear and chemical resistance of D-glide® make the material suitable for many different applications and sectors.
The sectors where D-glide® is used in many applications are:
- Civil structures
- Port equipment
- Machine industry
Benefits of D-glide®
In every sector where D-glide® is or can be used two factors are very important. First of all total cost of ownership, which means the cost of a system including maintenance over its total lifetime. In the initial cost of a system can often be reduced drastically by the use of D-glide®. Not due to the low cost of the material itself, but by simplifying and decreased in size the whole system by utilizing the properties of D-glide® fully.
Secondly all over the world more and more “going green” initiatives emerge, to limit our impact on the environment. An important factor in these initiatives is minimizing or omitting lubrication in the form of grease or oil.
By using D-glide® the need for lubrication can be minimized drastically and if used in combination with stainless steel counter material, lubrication can often be omitted altogether.
Contact us for more information about D-glide®
History of D-glide®
Plain bearing or sliding bearings were already used in the ancient chariots. The main principle is that one material, rotates or slides inside a softer material. That same principle is still used today. A lubricant is added to reduce friction and wear.
Since those days the materials have evolved. Wooden bearings became metal alloys, pig larder became oil-based lubricants. Performance increased, but mayor changes did not occur. Until the 20th century, when the first modern ‘engineering plastics’ began to occur. Materials such as nylon and polyethylene demonstrated that reasonable tribological properties could be achieved without an additional lubricant. A further, big step, forward was the discovery of PTFE, commonly known as Teflon. This material is so slick, that almost nothing sticks to it. Sliding on PTFE almost is like sliding on ice. To a more or lesser extent, the downside of all these plastics is that the load capacity is only a fraction of the load capacity of the lubricated metal-alloy bearings.
Around the middle of the previous century a new group of materials began to propagate: composites. They possessed relatively high strengths, did not suffer from corrosion, were durable and lightweight. The first modest attempts were made to use them as sliding bearings, often with materials containing asbestos fibres and phenolic resin, materials that righteously are obsolete today.
Imagine what you get when you combine the sliding properties of PTFE with the mechanical properties of the best, modern composite materials? The answer is: D-glide®. D-glide® is the family name of a series of state of the art composite bearings. As plain bearings they provide a combination of properties that previously simply did not exist.
Future of D-glide®
In the future the use of D-glide® will continue to expand. Most construction now using lubricated bearings can profit from a switch to D-glide® bearings. This tends to result in lower production costs and clearly minimizes operational expenses. As a result of the high load capacity, many bearings can be reduced in dimension, restricting the use of natural recourses. Smaller generally also means more cost-efficient, making D-glide® bearings also in that respect a more economical choice.
An important industrial trend is ‘going green’, to move away from activities that harm the environment. Lubricating most certainly qualifies as such a harmful activity, the majority of the lubricants used end up in the soil or surface waters. Non-lubricated, non-polluting D-glide® bearings are a sound and proven alternative.
D-glide® bearings are fully scalable. No shape or size is beyond limits, fitting in with the general trend in many industries (wind turbines, container shipping, heavy lifting) that “bigger is the way to go”. The lessons learned in demanding industries such as offshore oil, gas and wind, dredging, civil engineering and others can be universally applied, making DRIE-D a better and better partner for creating smart, efficient and reliable bearings designs for the most demanding challenges.
At DRIE-D we like setting new standards for heavy loads or harsh operation, environmental safe and maintenance friendly. Highly specialized in mechanical motion, we provide a smooth solution for your rough challenge! Our engineers are experienced to design solutions in these fields.