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igus® Ltd.

Caswell Road

Northampton, NN4 7PW

01604 677240

Durable and wear-resistant bar stock for finger prosthesis


  • What was needed: Reliable plastic bearings in the smallest possible installation space, resilient and aesthetically pleasing
  • Manufacturing process: Made from bar stock
  • Requirements: Load capacity, reliability in the smallest space, lubrication-free and precision
  • Material: iglidur® J
  • Industry: Prosthetics
  • Success for the customer: A maintenance-free prosthesis solution for everyday use

Vincent hand prosthesis with customised bearings made of iglidur® bar stock  

Plain bearing made of iglidur® bar stock enables delicate motion

Hand prostheses are becoming more flexible, delicate and functional and have become more and more similar to their human model. For people who have to live with the loss of individual fingers or a part of the hand, there has been no satisfactory prosthesis solution. The VINCENT finger now closes this supply gap and opens up new opportunities for those affected. The company VINCENT Systems GmbH manufactures fingers for everyday movement and offers prosthesis users an opportunity for a better existence in everyday life.
This prosthesis is an electrically powered finger.
The joint at the base of the finger is moved directly via a gear motor, which carries along the
middle joint via a flexible connection. All axes involved in this movement are mounted through plastic sockets made of the material iglidur® J
. Altogether, 8 bearings are integrated in one finger.
The control system of the prosthesis works via muscle signals, which are forwarded to a microcontroller. The energy supply is provided by 2 lithium-ion batteries.

Vincent hand prosthesis with customised bearings made of iglidur® bar stock  

Material with high requirements wanted

A clearance-free and wear-free transmission of forces is of great importance especially in the field of this very precise and sometimes heavily stressed application. The special requirements are mainly caused by punctual loads, which are triggered by rapid and impulsive or oscillating movements.
Also, a hand prosthesis must cope in partially very harsh environments and remain fully functional in dirty or wet areas of application.
The bearings machined from iglidur® J bar stock are corrosion-resistant and have a low wear rate. Lubrication-free and maintenance-free properties are two important criteria for use on the body. Just as the transmission of the sound of the motor to adjacent joints should be reduced to avoid complications.
The big challenge was to find a solution that works in the smallest possible installation space and can be implemented with an aesthetically sophisticated design.

Hand prosthesis with Vincent fingers and bearings made of iglidur® bar stock  

Further application reports

Bearing made of bar stock for melting probe

The "IceMole" is a melting probe, with which the polar regions, glaciers and as a long-term objective, extraterrestrial regions are to be explored. The bearing of the ice screw must be insensitive to water and dirt, and thermally insulating. In this demanding environment, a part machined from iglidur® A180 bar stock is used.

High load bearing made of iglidur® bar stock

For the "Dual Tube Night Vision Goggles", one of ACTinBlack's highest quality night vision goggles, a custom plain bearing was needed to  enable pivoting pods. These bearings should withstand the same environmental conditions as the night vision systems. Temperatures between -50 and 50 degrees Celsius are no rarity. Stability in case of improper treatment and a good stick-slip behaviour were also relevant for this vision aid. The bearing was made of iglidur® bar stock, as these are adapted to the conditions of use.  

No machine downtime thanks to custom plain bearings made of iglidur® bar stock

At the so-called tyre "soaping" station of MCSS MC-Syncro Supply GmbH, among other things, the inner bead of the tyre is moistened with soap by means of brushes. As a result, the grease gets washed out over time from encapsulated metal bearings. The result was that the metal bearings jammed and the shaft continued to rotate. Since iglidur® bar stock bearings have been in use, not only is the lubrication of the bearings dispensed with, but also costs associated with regular failure and replacement of bearings are also avoided.

Here you can find further interesting applications from very different areas of use