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igus® Ltd.

Caswell Road

Northampton, NN4 7PW

01604 677240

xiros® plastic ball bearings do not find magnets attractive

Technical data

  • What was needed? Non-magnetic ball bearings for a planetary gear
  • Requirements: Enhance the technical performance of the planetary gear
  • Material: xirodu B180
  • Industry: Wind energy
  • Success for the customer: The non-magnetic plastic ball bearings from igus were impressive due to better quality and high cost savings, for example in production.  

About the application:The non-magnetic plastic ball bearings are used in the wheels of a planetary gear in a magnetic environment. The planetary wheels operate with the ball bearings installed at a very close distance to the magnets. When the Savonius rotor rotates through the action of the wind, it forces the planetary wheels to rotate both around themselves and around the central shaft. Here, increased revolutions are transmitted via the sun wheel to the generator magnets, as the crown wheel remains fixed to the base. When the fast rotating magnets move closer to the copper coils, electricity is generated.

xiros® plastic ball bearings in a planetary gearbox


spirowind saw the problem in the use of a planetary gear that should work smoothly in a very compact generator. To use very strong neodymium magnets that spin near rotating planetary wheels, non-magnetic ball bearings had to be used. Metal ball bearings could have blocked the gearbox due to the magnetic influences.


The use of xiros plastic ball bearings with glass balls was the solution because the copper coils installed in the turbine to generate electricity generated a magnetic field. The use of non-magnetic plastic ball bearings allows the free rotation of all elements around the central shaft at various speeds, both the planet wheels and the magnets; and all this despite very tight installation space.