Built-in Intelligence: Slewing ring bearings facilitate equipment monitoring

Slewing ring supported by bearings supplements the isense family of products for predictive maintenance

"isense", sensors and monitoring modules
  • Client

    igus GmbH

  • Services

    Plastic bearings and energy chains

  • Technologies

    Polymer bearings and energy chains

  • Dates



The lubrication-free and maintenance-free polymer slewing ring bearings from igus are suitable for installations where reliability is required. In order to avoid failure of the bearings and an unscheduled shutdown of equipment, igus has now developed the intelligent isense slewing ring bearing. It uses a sensor to measure the wear of the bearing and informs the user when replacement is required. With the smart slewing ring bearing, igus is now expanding its isense family of products. With the aim of reducing machine downtime by means of predictive maintenance.

In control desks, welding equipment, indexing tables or chain saws: igus slewing rings resting on plain bearings are primarily used in applications requiring a high level of reliability – often in conjunction with high cycle speeds and high loads. The iglidur polymer slewing ring bearings from igus have sliding elements between the inner and outer bearing rings, which are made of aluminium or stainless steel. The maintenance-free sliding elements made of high-performance iglidur J plastic ensure that friction and wear are minimised without the use of lubrication. igus has now developed an intelligent slewing ring bearing (SRB) in the form of the isense PRT.W. "A wear sensor mounted in a slot under the sliding elements measures the axial lowering of the SRB head ring caused by abrasion and passes the information on to the icom communication module", explains René Achnitz, Head of Business Unit iglidur bearings. "After the information has been compared with a previously determined application-relevant wear rate, the necessity for replacement can be indicated in good time via the icom module." The communication module receives the data of the sensor and sends the information to the desired end devices of the user via WLAN. Replacement in good time without any unscheduled machine shutdowns is thus guaranteed and makes for greater safety and reliability in production.

Under the product family name "isense", igus has developed diverse sensors and monitoring modules in the last few years, which make plastic solutions intelligent and production processes simpler and more reliable. In addition to the isense PRT.W, the motion plastics specialist also supplies measuring systems for its drylin linear guides, energy chains and cables that send their data to the icom communication module. This module collects all the values of the respective isense systems, for example the speed and acceleration of e-chains, the electrical properties of highly flexible chainflex cables or the abrasion values of linear guides and slewing ring bearings and sends the bundled values to the user. The data can be retrieved via the web browser. As only one wireless icom module is needed for several systems, it is even easier to integrate it into production. In addition, customers can connect status-monitoring, data-generating units of other manufacturers to the icom module.

igus GmbH is a globally leading manufacturer of energy chain systems and polymer plain bearings. The Cologne-based family business has offices in 35 countries and employs around 3,180 people around the world. In 2016, igus generated a turnover of 592 million euros with motion plastics, plastic components for moving applications. igus operates the largest test laboratories and factories in its sector to offer customers quick turnaround times on innovative products and solutions tailored to their needs.