New bearing technology cuts friction

Louise Davis

Following last year´s debut of Irox 2 for light vehicle engine bearings, Federal-Mogul Powertrain is now launching its new high performance polymeric coating for heavy-duty applications. Irox 2 provides enhanced seizure and fatigue performance, especially with steel crankshafts. It is part of Federal-Mogul’s family of Irox technologies which reduce friction,  enabling the use of lower viscosity oils. Irox 2 is already in series production in light vehicle engines. The first heavy-duty projects have been nominated after successful tests.

“Irox 2 extends the working range to fatigue load levels in the region of 100MPa, that traditionally required expensive PVD coated bearings,” explained Gian Maria Olivetti, Chief Technology Officer, Federal-Mogul Powertrain. “By reducing friction, the Irox bearing coatings also help to lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Evaluation using specific in-house developed test rigs showed that the reduction in friction when using Irox-coated bearings is bigger than that obtained by changing from 5W30 to 0W20 oil.”

While Irox was developed for crankshafts with a standard surface finish, Irox 2 is intended for crankshafts with extra smooth finish running with thinner oils. Due to its high adaptability, the polymeric coating material provides superior engine running-in characteristics. Compared to aluminium-based materials, which are also starting to establish themselves in the heavy-duty sector, both polymer coatings give reduced friction and greater wear resistance. In comparison to Irox, Irox 2 features further enhanced seizure and fatigue performance. 

“Both coatings, Irox and Irox 2, are available for aluminium and bronze bearing materials for light and heavy-duty engines,“ said Stefan Rittmann, Director of Technology, Bearings, Federal-Mogul Powertrain. “They are particularly effective in hybrid and start/stop applications that place additional demands on bearings through frequent re-starting. The overlay is a PAI (Polyamide-imide) polymer resin binder containing a number of additives dispersed throughout the matrix. Developing Irox 2 involved modification of the binder system on a molecular level, coupled with subtle changes to the composition. For example, compared to Irox, Irox 2 contains no silicon carbide particles and has a higher content of a synergistic mixture of solid lubricants.”

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