Iglide T500 plastic bearings are a problem solver for the advanced marine vehicle industry


Igus® Inc., the leading developer of iglide® plastic bearings, Energy Chain Systems® and Chainflex® continuous-flex cables, today announced that Island Engineering, a company that provides motion control equipment and a wide array of engineering services to the advanced marine vehicles industry, has been using iglide T500 bearings for years, culminating in its specially engineered T-foils, ActiveSkegs™ and interceptors.

The T-foil system uses titanium flaps that pivot in order to stabilize motion on boats such as high-speed catamarans and on vessels capable of speeds up to 50 knots. The T-foil essentially is an inverted ‘T’ – similar to the T-tails on jets – with flaps commanded by a central fly-by-wire computer system. The unit sends real-time commands to the T-foil flap and interceptor actuators telling them exactly how to position themselves, enabling the vessel to reduce motion caused by waves, drastically decreasing the incidence of seasickness. An ActiveSkeg™ is a stabilizing fin that keeps the craft on course. The boat will only stray up to +/- 2 degrees off course, compared to up to +/- 20 degrees without the Island Engineering technology.

The T-foil flaps, interceptors and ActiveSkeg™ all pivot on T500 bearings. Island Engineering chose these bearings for their high compressive strength and ability to withstand the adverse effects of saltwater. T500 bearings last twice as long as coated or metallic bearings in applications involving high radial pressures – in excess of 8,700 pounds per square inch (PSI) – and low bearing surface speeds such as the T-foil, which subject the bearings to 5,000 PSI and one cycle every three to six seconds. Island Engineering also benefits from the plastic construction and low moisture absorption of the T500 bearings, which enable them to be continually immersed in saltwater without corroding or failing.

Island Engineering saves money by using these bearings because they are an off-the-shelf solution, eliminating any need for an expensive, custom-made component. While failure in the field is minimal, T500 bearings are available to Island Engineering and its customers with overnight delivery, which greatly reduces time spent on maintenance.

“T500 is what I would call a problem-solving bearing,” said Rick Loheed, director of engineering for Island Engineering. “In the 6 years that we have been employing it and in the previous year’s service on the T-foil, we have been impressed with its performance and with the service provided by igus and its sales force.”

Island Engineering uses 46 T500 bearings on each T-foil it manufactures.

About igus

Igus Inc., founded in 1985 and based in East Providence, R.I., develops and manufactures industry-leading plastic cable carriers, continuous-flex cables, plastic bearings and linear guide systems. With more than 28,000 products available from stock, the company meets the motion control and machinery component needs of customers worldwide. Product lines include Energy Chain Systems to protect and house moving cables, Chainflex continuous-flex cables, iglide self-lubricating, oil-free, plastic bearings, DryLin® linear guide systems and igubal® spherical bearings.


Temperature resistant from -148- 452°F in continuous operation
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