Although composite materials have been used for many years (the most primitive composite materials were straw and mud combined to form bricks for building construction), composites as we know them today are a direct result of the space and aviation industries. For example, the Mark III space suit incorporates a mix of hard and soft suit components, including hard upper torso, hard lower torso and hip elements made of graphite/epoxy composite bearings at the shoulder, upper arm, hip, waist, and ankle, and soft fabric joints at the elbow, knee, and ankle. Composite bearings are widely used in industrial applications today, particularly in situations to overcome the limitations of metal bearings in hard to lubricate or contaminated environments.
Composite bearings are also widely used in heavy earth moving equipment such as scraper tractors, soil stabilizers, and seismic vibrators, as well as in mining, forestry, and geophysical-exploration equipment. They have been shown to be far superior to steel backed bearings and bushings, which are unable to handle large loads. Vertical loads can reach 25,000 lb per module on some construction vehicles, excluding additional shock loads caused by running over rocks or debris, and composite bearings are ideal in this type of situation. Our Glacier DU is a proprietary composite material that is made up of polytetrafluoroethylene impregnated into a metallic structure. Composite bearings are available in small and large quantities to support a broad range of manufacturing needs. If you would like any further information on any type of bearings please call us at +27 11 605 2434