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Applications with igus® components in the railway industry

igus products are used in many different areas in rail and traffic engineering. As they are put to the acid test in the industry's largest test lab, their service life can be calculated with the free online tools by igus. A further special feature is that they can be configured individually with these tools.

Exterior applications

Reliable and lubrication-free coupling

Railway couplers profit from the high reliability of iglidur® plain bearings and thrust washers. In Scharfenberg couplers, for example, they are used at the main pin so that the hooked plate can turn during coupling. The plain bearings do not need any additional lubrication and are therefore maintenance-free.

Heat-resistant, corrosion-free plain bearings for brakes

iglidur® plain bearings are built into train and tram brakes as they enable trouble-free operation where impacts and dirt occur and do not corrode. Use within wide temperature ranges between -100°C and 250°C are made possible by special materials that have been developed for extreme temperatures.

Insulating high-performance polymers in pantographs

As iglidur plain bearings are made of non-conductive high-performance polymers, they can be used as insulating components in bearings on collectors. Due to their incorporated solid lubrication, the plain bearings do not require additional lubrication and are therefore maintenance-free. In collectors, the iglidur materials G, H370, J, W300, X and Z are installed.  Each of these materials has certain advantages, such as  low moisture absorption or resistance to particularly low or high temperatures.  

Interior applications

Wear-resistant controls in the driver's cab

The properties of motion plastics are also advantageous in the controls used to operate trains and trams. Bearing points in control panels, for example, are fitted out with iglidur G plain bearings for a high level of wear resistance. Adjustable floor pedestals have been fitted with dryspin lead screws and enable easy adjustment.

Maintenance-free and clean in the passenger area

iglidur plain bearings and drylin linear technology ensure clean adjustment, low coefficient of friction and low-noise movements without the need for any additional lubrication. This is due to the incorporated dry lubricants, which are contained within the igus materials. If the components have to be in line with DIN 45545, iglidur RW370 can be used.  


Switch roller in turnouts

A constant functionality of the switch device must be guaranteed despite weather and vibrations. igus plain bearings are perfectly suited for this use. All iglidur materials contain incorporated solid lubricants, which make additional lubrication and maintenance redundant.

Circuit breakers and earthing switches

Along the railway line and in the train itself there are circuit breakers and earthing switches. Whether with medium or high voltage - a safe mechanical separation and connection must be guaranteed in the switches at all times. To make this possible even under demanding weather conditions, drylin drive systems and lead screw are used.  

Corrosion-free plain bearing for wheel tensioners

A smooth maintenance process is important to get the vehicle fleet back on track again quickly.  Pre-assembled energy chain systems, the so-called readychains, only have to be mobilised and connected.  

Wagons and railcars

Ventilation and pressure protection flaps

Both fresh air from the air conditioning and cooling of important electronics - in express trains and trams, constant air supply must be guaranteed and regulated. Pressure protection systems and ventilation flaps can be easily moved by means of different igus products.

Battery and control cabinet extensions

Under the carriage body a strong protection from falling rocks is necessary. In addition, the cables have to be guided safely so that the batteries can be pulled out without problems for maintenance. Therefore, robust energy chains and cables are often used for train battery boxes. Both components are also available as so-called  readychain.  

Fail-safe entry systems with a long service life

chainflex cables,dryspin lead screw technology and energy supply systems are used to make entry systems maintenance-free and, above all, durable. Defective doors can constitute a hazard to passengers in emergency situations and, in everyday life, are hindrance to speedy passenger boarding and alighting.

Transitions and rotating joints

With heavy and light rails, the passenger is faced with the first igus parts at entry.  chainflex cables, dryspin lead screw technology and energy supply systems are used to make entry systems maintenance-free and, above all, reliable. Defective doors can constitute a hazard to passengers in emergency situations and, in everyday life, are hindrance to speedy passenger boarding and alighting. 


Lifting platform

The vehicle fleet requires regular maintenance. The lifting platforms and the cables and energy supply systems connected to them are therefore subjected to continuous stress. If the cables are not guided securely, wear is accelerated and failures can occur.  

Traversers with readymade energy supply

Traversers connect tracks in workshops and in the open with each other to move wagons and control cars and locomotives. While the traverser is in motion, a safe energy supply must be guaranteed at all times, e.g. by means of signal lamps or a control panel. To guarantee the permanent functionality of the traverser despite frequent use, chainflex cables are used.  

Corrosion-free bearings and energy supply systems for washing systems

At washing systems for regional and express trains, igus components must show what they are capable of. Permanent use is combined with contact with water and cleaning agents. No problem for the igus components.  iglidur plain bearings are available in 50 different high-performance polymers.

Special rail vehicles

Shunting vehicles

igus offers a variety of solutions for shunting locomotives. From the drylin drive technology and PRT slewing ring bearings to bar stock plates and tribotape. All these components contain high-performance polymers and are optimised for low wear and friction to guarantee a long service life.

Durable polymer solutions for track-laying machines

In order to build new tracks for trains or trams, complex machinery is needed. Bearing points in track construction machines are exposed to considerable mechanical forces, vibrations, dirt and weather influences. All these factors are no longer a problem if iglidur plain bearings are used. For high mechanical forces such as edge loads or shocks, there are specially developed iglidur materials that withstand static loads up to 200MPa and dynamic loads up to 140MPa.  

Calculate service life of e-chains and cables for road-rail vehicles

igus products are not just used in trains and trams. They are also used in road-rail vehicles, such as snowploughs and maintenance vehicles. By means of hydraulic cylinders the bogie of these vehicles can be lowered. In the cylinders, materials and piston rings made of iglidur  materials are used. They are characterised by their vast service life and in addition are maintenance-free.  


Distance meter for rails

drylin linear guides are used in distance meters for rising height and gauge measurements. The preferred tool is the smallest series 4 drylin N and drylin T linear guide These are particularly space-saving and weight-saving. drylin linear guides withstand dirt and rain, as they do not require additional lubrication. Therefore, they are perfect for outdoor use.

Measuring instrument for track space

Measuring machine for rail profiles

In measuring machines for rail profiles, self-adjusting igubal bearings are used. Due to their angular compensation, they are ideal for manual adjustments. Furthermore, drylin SLW linear guides are installed for the adjustment of width and height, as they are cost-effective and weight-saving. drylin R carbon fibre shafts with drylin R polymer housing bearings are applied in machines to save weight.

Measuring machine for rail profiles

Grinding machine

To adjust the height of a grinding machine, dryspin lead screws are used. The lead screw nut consists of proven iglidur materials, which contain dry lubricants. Therefore, they require no additional lubrication and are also maintenance-free. As the lead screws are made of stainless steel, dryspin lead screws do not rust. To save a particularly high amount of weight, anodised aluminium lead screws can be used.

Grinding machine for rails


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