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Small parts from Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics – Rencol tolerance rings and Norglide self-lubricating plain bearings – are said to be improving the performance of automotive powertrain components.

Both can be used in dual-mass flywheels, while the use of Norglide bearings in decoupled pulleys in the belt-driven accessory system of modern vehicles has contributed to a change of design.

Originally, pulley decoupling forces were generated by an elastomeric connection between the two components, but recent industry demands for higher torque and temperature operation have stretched the durability of such systems.

In the latest designs, energised springs initiate mechanical decoupling and a Norglide plain bearing is included in the system to cope with higher temperatures and ageing issues of the elastomeric connection.

Norglide bearings have a fluoropolymer-based functional layer reinforced by a metal backing.

The pulley application uses Norglide’s full potential, including the ability to specify components with specifically tailored geometries and sliding surface compositions.

A dual-mass flywheel (DMF) smoothes engine pulses by transmitting torque to the transmission through two flywheels connected by springs.

According to Saint-Gobain, the oscillating motion between the flywheels is much better suited to the properties of Norglide bearings, which are virtually maintenance free, rather than roller or ball bearings that can suffer from a lack of grease take-up due to the frequent small movements of system.

In addition, Norglide bearings are less expensive, require less space, compensate for minor misalignments and reduce NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), added the company.

Rencol tolerance rings are also used in DMFs.

These precision fasteners, manufactured from stainless or hardened carbon steel, have a special geometry that allows them to behave like radial springs.

They are press fitted between mating components – in the case of the DMF, a flange and fixation ring.

Rencol tolerance rings compensate for manufacturing variations or the different thermal expansion properties of materials and offers advantages in NVH.

However, in the case of the DMF, the component also provides overload or shock protection by allowing joined parts to move relative to each other above a predetermined torque.

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Rencol

With 15 sites and six R&D centres globally, we at the Bearings and Tolerance Rings Group, a division of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, provide ‘engineer-to-engineer solutions-in-motion’ to high-volume international OEMs in the automotive, leisure, energy, industrial, and other markets. Backed by a heritage of product innovation, technology, advanced materials and market leadership, we are dedicated to working with customers using their extensive engineering expertise to deliver standard and custom solutions in NORGLIDE® bearings, RENCOL® tolerance rings, SOLGLIDE® bearings, JOINSHIM® rings, and NORSLIDE® cable liners that meet the most demanding applications.

The Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, Bearings and Tolerance Rings Group provides product expertise to six key markets:

  • Automotive (steering systems, powertrain, electric motors, seats and hinges)
  • Bicycles 
  • Solar 
  • Appliances 
  • Industrial valves 
  • Hard disk drives 

Saint-Gobain is a global leader in the design, production and distribution of innovative, high-performance materials for industry and employs more than 195,000 people. With operations in more than 64 countries, Saint-Gobain is the 60th largest employer and among the top 50 global industrial companies worldwide. Saint-Gobain is listed on the stock exchanges of Paris, London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Brussels and Amsterdam. Saint-Gobain’s global strategy is focused around three core markets: 

  • Construction products
  • Innovative materials
  • Building distribution

The company is committed to playing a leading role in developing energy efficient innovations for the housing and construction sectors, protecting the environment, and managing growth in a sustainable fashion.

Saint-Gobain maintains 12 research centres and 101 development units and invests more than €400m in R&D. Saint-Gobain has been at the forefront of innovation for more than 300 years. Last year, Saint-Gobain achieved global sales of almost €42.1bn.

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