Move over lead bearings, there’s a new sheriff in town. MAHLE Engine Components, a German automotive supplier, has developed a new lead-free bearing system out of polymer for heavy-duty truck engines. This new system combines the newly developed engineered polymeric coatings with a state of the art lead-free bearing linings which promises several advantages over existing bearings. With the new heavy-duty diesel engines slated to start using the new lead-free bearings this year, the product development programs have already been in the works for additional applications. Two major engine manufacturers have begun production of the lead-free bearing systems this summer at the MAHLE’s facility in Atlantic, Iowa.
The first advantage of the polymer technology is the improving the wear resistance to wear and fatigue that plague the other lead-free bearings which utilizes electroplated coatings. This is especially important seeing as how improved wear resistance improves fuel economy by helping manufacturers accommodate low-viscosity engine oils. Another advantage of the polymeric coating bearings is the improved corrosion resistance and extended oil-drain intervals. Lead-free bearings are also safer and easier to dispose of which makes them more environmentally than past iterations. MAHLE boasts that the new bearing systems’ cast-bronze bearing technology combined with the polymer overlay will allow for high load capabilities, seizure and wear resistance.
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