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Thrust Washer Handles Wear, Protects Bearings In Universal Joint Assembly
  Engineering News Home

03/07/2005, 12:48:23

Minneapolis, Minnesota: Minnesota Rubber and QMR Plastics injection mold a glass-filled Nylon/Silicone formulation to produce highly rugged Thrust Washers used in automotive universal joint assemblies. These Thrust Washers protect the universal joint from excessive wear and abrasion of the rotating action of the bearings. This protection is especially important at the outside ends of the bearings and on the bearing caps in order to prevent metal-to-metal contact of the moving parts.This application was challenging, as it required designing a one-piece Thrust Washer that would absorb the needle bearing length tolerance and function trouble-free in the universal joint housing.

Responding to the requirements of the automotive industry for improved component performance while lowering cost, Minnesota Rubber/QMR Plastics brought to bear its six decades of experience designing and manufacturing components used in harsh operating environments. A glass filled Nylon/Silicone formulation, orange in color, was developed for the Thrust Washer design giving it a useful temperature range of -40 to +300F. Since the component tolerances are critical to this application, the Thrust Washer is injection molded with a variance of .001 inch. This provides just enough clearance in the housing for ease of assembly and a precise fit.

Each universal joint consists of four sets of needle bearings assembled in a circle and packed with grease. The bearings are sandwiched between a metal cap around the OD and a shaft in the ID. The drive shaft fastens to the universal joint with a yoke on the end of the drive shaft. The Thrust Washers are placed into the caps first. Then the needle bearings are assembled. The ends of the needle bearings rest on the Thrust Washer.This successful Thrust Washer design proved the soundness of both the material selection and design configuration. Choosing the right material was crucial for the Thrust Washer's dynamic operating environment. It provided both high and low temperature resistance, excellent flex fatigue resistance, and most important, low cost.For information on this and similar applications, call 952-927-1400.
Or write to Minnesota Rubber QMR Plastics, 1100 Xenium Lane North, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55441.

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