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Extreme bearings for extreme conditions with Bowman International

Extreme bearings for extreme conditions with Bowman International

Demand for bearings that can cope with increasingly severe operating conditions is on the rise. Bearing companies are increasingly being asked to develop bearings for applications that require a solution that can handle higher loads, speeds and higher temperatures with increased standards of reliability and lower levels of maintenance. One company that is at the forefront of bearing innovation for such extreme applications is Bowman International.

A solution for every application

Oxfordshire based bearings company Bowman International is one of the UK’s leading designers, manufacturers and suppliers of plain bearings. They have been supplying the industry with quality products and services since 1975 and they are known to have one of the largest stock profiles of plain bearings in the world.

Bowman’s core philosophy that has seen them thrive for over four decades is “a solution for every application”. This is something that Bowman take extremely seriously. Years of product research, development and innovation allow Bowman to say, with some confidence, that they are able to offer not just the right solution for every application, but the best solution. This means that they have had to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to bearings for heavy duty, industrial applications as well as standard applications. Here we will take a look at Bowman’s impressive arsenal of products for extreme conditions.

Heavy duty spinodal bronze bearings

Bowman’s BowMet® range of spinodal bronze bearings has been billed by the industry press as “the biggest advance in plain bearings in more than 70 years”. They were developed in partnership with Materion in the USA using the same ToughMet® material that was used on the Mars Rover. Noticing a gap in the market, BowMet® bearings were specifically developed for heavy duty applications that other plain or rolling element bearings could not handle.

Their high temperature, low coefficient of friction and corrosion capabilities combine to offer a solution that can stand up to the very harshest conditions and offer a higher load capacity than any other proprietary bearing. Its static load of 820 N/mm2 is positively gargantuan compared to any other like-for-like bearing on the market.

BowMet has revolutionised the bearing industry and is the first plain bearing that can outperform a rolling element bearing due to its myriad of durable properties.

Durable and anti-corrosive bearings

Another range of innovative heavy duty bearings that Bowman is able to offer are the high temperature, self-lubricated PEEK® lined steel or bronze backed wrapped bearings, named the WMP® range. These bearings are designed to combine the durability and anti-corrosive properties of Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK) with the production and cost reduction benefits of conventional wrapped steel bearings and deliver optimised performance in applications operating at up to 250°C, alongside low torque properties and impressive corrosion resistance. As a high-performance polymer, the cost of producing and machining PEEK from solid bars or tubes often prohibits its use in the manufacturing of many component parts. By using it to line steel or bronze components, rather than making solid PEEK products, Bowman can now offer a cost-effective range of bearing solutions suitable for particularly harsh environments.

Maintenance-free, self-lubricating heavy duty bearings

The latest addition to Bowman’s arsenal of heavy duty bearings is the WMD range of high temperature sintered bearings. These bearings are able to withstand extremely high temperatures, up to 650°C to be precise. Along with its sliding speed, high load capabilities, low water absorption and low levels of maintenance, the WMD range offers engineers working with high temperature applications a huge advantage.

What sets these bearings apart from other sintered bearings is that they are not oil-lubricated. Lubricants like graphite and MoS2 are added at the start of the powder metallurgy process which eliminates the need for lubrication. These high temperature sintered bearings are being described as the “big brother” of the original Oilite® sintered bronze bearings. They are very similar in their material make-up but the load and temperature that the WMD range can operate at are far higher than that of Oilite®.

Extremely high temperatures AND cryogenic temperatures

Bowman’s range of oilless bearings are an excellent solution for projects where lubrication cannot easily be provided or where conventional lubricants may carbonise. This oilless range, designated WMO®, was developed for high load, low speed applications and are made of rotational cast high-strength bronze using a specially formed graphite plug as lubricant and can withstand temperatures of up to 400°C as well as cryogenic temperatures down to -200°C depending on which grade of material is selected. These bearings benefit from outstanding chemical and corrosion resistance. The lubricant used in these bearings is formed from abrasion resistant materials (such as graphite, PTFE etc) and has a stabilised molecular structure.

Meeting a new demand

Extreme conditions require extreme solutions. In days gone by engineers might have had to “make do” with solutions that they knew were likely to fail after a certain amount of time and chalked it up as a tax on efficiency and just replaced them. This no longer needs to be the case, and indeed engineers working on projects with harsh conditions are rightly demanding that suppliers give them specifically designed solutions that are efficient, durable and cost-effective.

Bowman International have the bases covered when it comes to solutions for extreme conditions. Whether applications demand extremely high (or low) temperature tolerances, increased load capabilities, significantly reduced coefficients of friction, enhanced anti corrosive properties and sheer durability under the harshest of conditions, Bowman’s customers have the peace of mind that comes from decades of research and innovation that has produced the very best bearings for the most extreme conditions.

Contact Bowman International for more information on our products and services or to order a catalogue.

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