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Bronze vs. Plastic Bushings: What’s the Difference?

Bearings and bushings come in a range of sizes and can be made out of metal, plastic composites, or a combination of the two. This variety means you can find exactly what you need for a specific project; however, with so many choices, how do you decide the best option for you? Plastic and metal both have unique characteristics and advantages, and your choice will depend on the project, your budget, and more.

Plastic Bushings

Affordable and versatile, plastic bushings are used for many different industries, such as agricultural, medical, and machines, including fitness equipment, lawn mowers, food processing machinery, pumps, and valves. Because production of these bushings is fast and cost-effective, choosing plastic over metal could save you money depending on the type of plastic you choose.

Engineered plastic bushings have a predictable wear rate, meaning you can accurately calculate the service life for an application based on a tribological test database. You can accurately determine their service life span and replace them before they malfunction, knowing you used them exactly as long as you could. That means less guesswork, fewer errors, and more time and money saved.

Plastic bushings are corrosion and chemical resistant as well as self-lubricating—no grease required! If you think plastic is unable to stand up to heat, you might be surprised to learn these bushings can withstand temperatures up to 900°F for short periods. Over longer periods, they can perform in temperatures up to 482°F.

Bronze Bushings

With all the benefits of plastic, where does that leave metal? Bronze remains a popular choice for bushings because it’s available in so many alloys and compositions, expanding its reach into even more applications. A bronze bushing is harder and less likely to break or deform than those made of other materials.

Like plastic, bronze bushings are long-lasting and corrosion resistant. As noted above, their strength allows them to hold up under impact. One potential disadvantage is that metal requires a lubricant to reduce friction and prolong the bearing’s service life. Oil or grease must be applied at installation and during operation.

Still, the benefits may outweigh that small inconvenience. Bronze bushings are common in low-speed, high-load as well as high speed, low load industrial applications, including:

  • Iron and steel manufacturing
  • Food processing
  • Valves
  • Automobiles

Let’s take a closer look at two common bronze bushing materials:

  • SAE841 Sintered Bronze:These oil-impregnated bronze bushings can be used with both high and low speeds, as well as high and low temperatures, depending upon the type of oil. SAE841 is also used for applications requiring food-grade quality.
  • Cast Bronze:The extra corrosion resistance with these alloys (typically bronze with tin, aluminum, or silicon) makes it especially useful in wet environments.

Bunting Bushing Solutions

Whether you need bronze or plastic bushings, Bunting Bearings can fill your needs. We have engineered parts available in nylon, PTFE, various bronze alloys and more:

  • Vespel®: This brings the best of plastic, metal, and ceramic together for a bearing that can manage high speeds, heavy loads, and high temperatures.
  • Nylatron: Cost-effective and self-lubricating, this is a nylon modified with molybdenum disulfide lubricant powder.
  • PTFE: Four different PTFE material bushings are held in stock including a non-toxic FDA compliant range.
  • BU: This unique composite features a steel backing and a bronze layer impregnated with PTFE for a strong mechanical bond.
  • Cast Bronze: A full range of leaded tin bronze bearings are in stock plus a full range of sleeve and flanged bushing made from ECO BRONZE which in independent tests proved to be superior to other cast lead-free materials.

If you’re not sure which bearings are right for you, contact us. We’ll answer your questions about the advantages of each option and help you figure out which one will work best for your application.

Bunting Bearings Introduces Siemens Dematic Automated Warehouse Handling System

At Bunting Bearings, we are always looking for ways to streamline our operations and improve our customers’ experience. When our team is fully equipped with everything they need to do a great job, we can better serve our customers.

With that in mind, we have invested in a Siemens Dematic automated warehouse handling system to improve workflow and efficiency in our warehouse. These in-house improvements translate to better products and customer service for you.

The new building that will host this new system is nearing completion. We expect it to be fully operational by December 2019. The entire team at Bunting Bearings is looking forward to its implementation and its contribution to satisfying customer needs.

Benefits of Our New Handling System

Some of the specific benefits of integrating this new robotic product handling system into our existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system include:

  • Increased productivity. The system eliminates walking and elevated picking. The operators remain stationary and the system travels to the bin locations to retrieve the parts and then returns to the operator for product packing.
  • The system can be used for a wide variety of products, including cast bronze, powdered metal, and plastic bearings.
  • Improved product accuracy. The system reduces the risk of human error in regard to product shipment.
  • Maximized space utilization. By maximizing our warehouse space with the automated system, we will have the opportunity to continue to optimize the layout of the bronze bar inventory, for increased efficiency and shorter “order to ship” intervals. This is good timing because we recently added a full Lead-Free EcoBronze range to meet demand.
  • Enhanced employee safety. The automated system eliminates the need for manual lifting and reduces the risk of employee accidents or injury.

What This Means For Our Customers

For our customers, this new system means:

  • Faster fulfillment. Due to decreases in overall operational time, customers will notice that we will be able to fulfill orders more quickly.
  • Greater satisfaction. While we are proud of our pick accuracy, this system will reduce the margin of error further when it comes to ensuring that the customer gets exactly what they ordered

Bearing Solutions at Bunting Bearings

At Bunting Bearings, we continually look for ways to improve our range of products, and in recent times, our emphasis has been to enhance our offering of lead-free, environmentally friendly products. The integration of our new Siemens Dematic automated warehouse handling system is part of our commitment to premier quality, environmental sustainability, and superior customer service.

We are thrilled about our new system and what it means for both our warehouse team and our customers. It will enhance our ability to manufacture and deliver our complete range of high-performance bearing solutions for industrial and commercial markets such as marine, pumps, forestry, construction, medicine, utilities and oil and gas.

To learn more about our new warehouse handling system or any of our services and capabilities, reach out to us today.

All About Bronze Flanged Bearings

Flanges feature a projecting rim over the edge of another part, a collar to secure connecting pieces together, or a ring to provide pressure to holds components in place. They enable part fabricators to customize the function of end products for customers.

Ultimately, flanges provide strength and stiffness at more vulnerable areas of a part and facilitate the connection of diverse components. They are also useful in mounting and positioning static items. When paired with bearings on the external housing of a device, flanges increase the ability of the end product to effectively handle radial and thrust loads.

Flanges are one of the most popular types of bearings requested by our clients at Bunting Bearings. This introduction to bronze flanged bearings will help readers understand what they are and what they can do for industrial manufacturing and assembly projects.

The Benefits of Bronze

Bronze alloys predominantly consist of copper and tin. Additional metals are added to the mix – i.e. aluminum, manganese, nickel, or zinc – to achieve the desired metallurgy. This results in a bronze material with ideal physical properties to suit the needs of the end application. For example, bronze can be tailored to have a specific physical appearance and offer better protection for end components against corrosion and surrounding conditions like moisture.

Bronze bearings and bushings are made to be rigid and tough. In comparison to those made of brass, bronze parts last longer and hold their shape better under repeated use. Bronze greatly improves resistance to:

  • Impact
  • Shock
  • Corrosion
  • Mechanical wear-and-tear

This means that bronze bearings last longer than their softer and more malleable brass counterparts. Bronze also causes less friction when brought in contact with other metal parts, which helps to extend the life of the bearing.

Applications and Advantages of Bronze Flanged Bearings

The versatility of bronze flanged bearings makes them an ideal fit for a number of industrial applications. Bronze flanged bearings are known for their low-maintenance durability. Heavy-duty industrial operations that rely on low-speed, high-load processes are particularly good candidates for bronze flange bearings, which hold up well under immense and repeated pressure.

Bronze flanged bearings are often found in equipment used in:

  • Iron and steel manufacturing
  • Food processing
  • Injection molding
  • Automotive equipment
  • Earth movers
  • Industrial pumps

The additional metal alloys that make up the bronze impart beneficial characteristics to the resulting material. Some of the common alloys used for bronze flanges include:

  • Oil is infused into the alloy via powder metallurgy. Depending on its composition, SAE841 can accommodate for a wide range of speeds and temperature ranges. It is often used in food-grade applications.
  • Aluminum, tin, and silicone. Marine manufacturers value the high corrosion-resistance of copper, but must alloy the copper with other materials to improve its strength. Copper alloyed with aluminum, tin, or silicone creates a bronze that enables manufacturers to create water-tight vessels without excessive weight.

Speak to your bearing provider for personalized bronze flanged bearing guidance based on your specifications.

Bronze Flange Bearings at Bunting Bearings

Bunting Bearings stocks a comprehensive line of cast bronze bearings, flange bearings, and much more. All of our parts are produced with P/M bronze for superior performance and durability. We are proud to serve our clients with high-quality stock parts.

Our Bronze Flanged Bearings SAE 841 conform to ASTM chemical and physical standards. They are the first of their kind to include all ASTM standard sizes, recommended dimensions, and tolerances. Operations and processes with large variations in temperature benefit from our oil-based bronze bearings. With the ability to function in temperatures that range from 10° F to 220°F, these parts are a convenient and cost-effective way to meet your application and equipment needs.

For more information on bronze flanged bearing products and services from Bunting Bearings, please contact us today.

Bunting Bearings Acquires 6 Samsung CNC Turning Lathes with Live Tooling

With our recent purchase of six new Samsung CNC turning lathes with live tooling, Bunting Bearings is better equipped than ever to meet our customers’ needs. Two of these new additions were installed into a manual cell, while three were installed into a fully robotized cell, so they can be applied towards both low- and high-volume projects.

The sixth and largest machine of the group is the Samsung SL65/3200. It was installed to be used in conjunction with a VTL machine. We are excited about our new machining capabilities and what it means for our customers. Here is an overview of what CNC turning lathes do and the opportunities that our new equipment has created for our customers.

What Is a Live Tooling CNC Lathe?

A Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) turning lathe is an automated tool that produces high-quality parts on a reliable, consistent basis. In a CNC lathe, the part itself spins while single-point cutters move across the part to create the desired shape, smoothness, and design; appropriate positioning of the part is provided by the main spindle’s ability to index precisely.

A programmer can design the part manually, or the part can be designed via computer-aided design (CAD) programs. From there, the computer directs the tool to make the appropriate cuts. After the design is perfected—which may require testing and adjustments to solidify the design—and production has begun, there is little need for constant supervision. The CNC lathe is highly precise and will continue making identical parts until all are complete. It can then be reprogrammed for a new part’s production. CAD parts can be saved and easily reapplied if a customer places another order for the same part in the future.

Our new live tooling CNC turning lathes give us a variety of options and functions with one simple set-up. When the part is stopped from spinning, driven tools (axial or radial) are able to create grooves and holes around the entire part as required. Without live tooling, we would have to remove the piece and go through additional steps to create grooves or holes, which adds on time, labor, and risks of error. Those live tooling capabilities within the CNC lathe are a major boost to productivity and accuracy.

What This Means for Our Customers

These new live tooling lathes are a worthwhile investment for Bunting Bearings, and a logical step in our growth process. We are now able to offer competitive pricing while producing parts with even greater precision. With fewer set-ups and less manual supervision, we can accomplish more in less time; our increased productivity means faster turnaround times and cost savings for you. With the two machines in the manual cell, we can maintain those quick turnarounds even on low volume runs.

As for the SL65, here are some of its specs, for insights to what it is capable of:

  • 24” chuck
  • 6” maximum swing
  • 126” maximum turning length
  • 5” diameter bar feed capacity
  • 12-station heavy duty turret

It also allows us to produce parts with live tooling ranging from diameters of 3/8” to 10.” We are glad to speak with you about any special needs or custom orders you have in mind.

Since our humble beginnings as Bunting Brass & Bronze in 1907, Bunting Bearings has grown to become one of the largest producers of bronze bearings in the country. From the start, our innovations have been driven by our desire to produce the best bearings possible to serve our customers. We are always looking for new ways to increase the value we offer you, our productivity, and to further improve the quality of our products, and our six new CNC turning lathes are part of this commitment.

We proudly produce a diverse range of bearings, including custom products, to suit your needs. To learn more about our new CNC turning lathes or our capabilities and services, contact us today.

Bunting Bearings Completes Casting Plant Expansion

Bunting Bearings recently completed a large expansion to our Delta, OH, centrifugal casting plant. Centrifugal casting is one of our main specialties, and our customers value our ability to create high-value, cost-effective centrifugal castings that can be machined to a finished product. With this new expansion, we’re excited to further expand on our abilities to provide the highest quality casting services to our clients.

Here’s an overview of our casting plant expansion and how it will benefit our capabilities moving forward:

Our Casting Plant Expansion

We invested in an extension to our plant to bring new value to our customers. With our new plant, we can now produce longer and larger centrifugal castings with lead times of 2–4 weeks and expedited delivery times of 48–72 hours.

We also dedicated new resources to our machine shop in Holland, OH. We installed five new live tooling machining centers as well as a vertical turret lathe to handle larger longer centrifugal castings.

New Casting Specifications

Our new equipment has enabled us to produce larger casting volumes at optimal efficiency. With our expanded capabilities, we can:

  • Pour vertical castings with a size range of 3” up to 36” outside diameter as well as horizontal castings of 27” diameter and 60” length
  • Achieve tighter grain structures, leading to improved physical properties
  • Fill low-, medium-, and high-volume orders
  • Perform QC testing at our in-house laboratory to ASTM B271– and ASTM B22.

Full Casting Solutions at Bunting Bearings

We at Bunting Bearings continuously seek new ways to best satisfy our customers’ needs. Investing more in our facilities and equipment is one such way for us to achieve this goal, and we’re pleased to expand our casting offerings to cover an even greater span of casting size requirements.

Bunting Bearings is a leading manufacturer of high-performance, environmentally friendly bearings and cast materials. Our products include a wide variety of lead-free products made from top-quality polymers and bronze. To learn more about centrifugal castings or our other capabilities and services, contact us today.

Our Lead-Free ECO BRONZE Bearings

Bunting Bearings is the premiere name in the niche of environmentally-friendly bearing and cast bar solutions and supplies leading producers of sustainable energy, marine, medical and other commercial products with high quality bronze bushings and cast bars. Our eco-friendly alloy C87850 ECO Bronze is RoHS compliant and meets the lead-free safe drinking water act. The main difference between our ECO BRONZE and other lead-free alternatives is that ECO BRONZE is a great bearing material.

Other materials compromise their bearing properties to become lead-free, but ECO BRONZE has proved to be as good as, and in some cases superior to, the leaded material it has replaced.

ECO BRONZE is probably the most tested lead-free bronze material to-date; Bunting Bearings and Chase Brass had this material arduously tested by various independent laboratories in the USA, and all came to the same conclusion: “it’s tough,” “non-galling,” “does not get brittle at high temperatures,” “superior impact and compressive strength,” and “a great bearing material. Eco Bronze has gained acceptability in the potable water pump industry as it is S3874 & AB1953 compliant, it’s also gained acceptance in other industries such as construction equipment, Wind tower, food processing, medical devices and many others due to its great bearing properties.

By incorporating ECO BRONZE into your manufacturing supply chain, your business can easily reach its sustainability goals. Being environmentally responsible is a goal that Bunting, Chase Brass and most of our customers share. By specifying a green product such as ECO BRONZE in lieu of a traditional leaded material you have taken a significant step forward.  Furthermore, by leading your company with the procurement change your employees can take note and find additional ways for your business to decrease its environmental footprint.  Selecting eco-friendly bronze products is just the start – how else does your facility plan to increase sustainability this year?

Bunting Bearings Rolls Out App for iPhone and Android

With almost 80% of people in the US now shopping online, it’s no wonder that so many companies are investing in eCommerce strategies. Having a dynamic website is a non-negotiable in today’s economy. But it’s just one small piece of the puzzle for business owners who want to capitalize on digital traffic.

Bunting Bearings App

Bunting Bearings App Preview

Now that smartphones have become such an important part of daily living, companies have to incorporate that into their marketing plans. Even though fewer people complete mobile transactions on their phones, they are constantly doing research on products and pricing. For this reason, companies must meet their audiences where they are – on their phones.

For this reason, we’ve launched the Bunting Bearings LLC app. The app is available for free on the App Store for iOS and for Android. Customers can view parts, read detailed product information, find local distributers, and more. The app has the full functionality of our website in an easy-to-use mobile format.

While the industrial sector may not have the same buying trends as the retail sector, the ability to do research easily from anywhere is necessary in the digital age. By launching this app, we aim to make it easier for our customers to find what they need and learn more about each product, whether they’re ready to buy or not.

By providing a positive user experience, we hope to make the buying cycle as easy as possible. To learn more about the app’s functionality or to download it for use, head over to the App Store. For more information about our products, service, or other news, feel free to contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Plan Driving Heavy Equipment Demand

Surveys from renowned sources like the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation show that a large percentage of executives believe the economy will improve over the next few months. And about 48.4% of respondents are looking forward to a tangible increase in profits in their respective niches.

The North American market is responding to expectations for a more business-friendly climate. Coupled with a significant slowdown of some prominent Asian engines that have been monopolizing the global landscape and putting pressure on businesses in the United States, the “fair” economy is inching towards a “strong” rating.

The Trillion Dollar Trump Plan

The President has budgeted $1 trillion for highways, waterways, airports, waterlines and bridges. He is also expected to allocate funds for affordable housing and construction of public health provision centers. In short, the infrastructure of the nation is set for positive growth thanks to a surge in planned infrastructure investment.

According to the U.S Treasury department, infrastructure and public work projects valued at 330 billion dollars can provide up to a trillion in economic benefits. It goes without saying that the proposed trillion dollar plan should likewise provide a substantial return.

What Happens When You Invest in Infrastructure?

The construction and development projects can create more opportunities for STEM graduates and workers in heavy equipment. Companies that work with steel, cement production, and construction also stand to benefit from increased infrastructure investment.

Bunting Bearings LLC is excited about the prospects 2017 holds. We have been supplying superior quality machined parts, bearings and metal structural products that assist the heavy equipment and construction sectors.

If you are gearing up for a spate of new orders and are on the lookout for reliable vendors and distributors, you can connect with Bunting Bearings at 888.286.8464.

How the Weather Influences Natural Gas Prices

Across all industries, there are seasons that are good for business, and others that tend to see a slump.  For natural gas, pricing depends greatly on demand – and the demand varies depending on the weather. But unlike most industries that benefit from either warm or cold temperatures, natural gas actually benefits from both.

As we look back on this past summer, it was pretty hot overall. Air conditioners have been running full-blast for the past three months, and in many households are still running even as we round the corner into fall. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 33% of U.S. electricity was produced thanks to natural gas this year. And since this was such a hot season with heat waves around the nation, the strong demand for air conditioning was a boon for natural gas prices.

Similarly, this coming winter will likely see the same strong demand, if not stronger in some locations. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac’s winter predictions, the Northeastern U.S., Southern British Columbia, and Upper Midwest will be colder than normal with the potential for more snowfall than average. This means that people will likely be huddled up in their homes with the heat turned up. And if emergency situations require more supply than expected, the price of natural gas will climb higher as suppliers struggle to meet demand under harsh conditions.

And in addition to regular seasonal price fluctuations, severe weather such as hurricanes and tropical storms can impact production, which in turn impacts prices. But weather patterns such as El Nino can have an even greater impact by altering the weather itself. During El Nino years, the U.S. can expect milder winters and summers, which means less demand for natural gas, and therefore lower prices.

Obviously there are a number of factors that influence the prices of commodities, but with natural gas, the weather is indisputably a driving force.

New Technology and Trends Reshaping Agriculture

When thinking about life on a farm, many people might automatically think of a big red barn full of cows and horses. Today, however, the picture is quickly changing. The modern, successful farmer is highly-connected, utilizing the latest in crop, animal, and equipment management technology to create efficient, effective operations. So what are some of these new trends and technologies being used?

  • Smartphones – Not just a way to make or take a phone call, they can help farmers keep track of their nutrients, manage tasks, and monitor equipment. Best of all, they allow the farmer to access these features from anywhere on their farm, or even out on the road. They are becoming as invaluable to agriculture as a shovel.
  • Big Data – It’s a great catchphrase, but it is also very important to agriculture in that it can bring together data from around the world, or just on the local level, for analysis and action. This helps to eliminate trial and error, and provide better, more predictable results for operations of all sizes.
  • Precision – From drones that can survey crops, to sensors, to robotics, precision agriculture is becoming more and more prevalent. Utilizing these tools to decide the application of inputs as well as the amount and location of inputs helps create sustainable, successful agriculture.
  • Agriculture as Everyday Life – In what has been a surprising turn, agriculture has rebounded to become an increasing part of everyday life, and something that is at the forefront of the minds of the consumer. Consumers care about where and how their food is produced, desire local products, require transparency and information, and are aware of the need for environmental responsibility and conservation in agriculture. This trend towards the consumer caring more than before will continue to snowball.
  • Agritourism – Not only do consumers care, they want to get involved. This means homestays at farms, bed and breakfasts, farm breweries, hands-on attractions, and so much more. It is a sector that continues to increase as time passes, and offers potential for increased revenues.

Bronze bearingsClearly, the agricultural sector is undergoing a major shift in perception and processes. As new technologies continue to be launched, it will be interesting to see how farmers will incorporate new emerging trends.