PTFE and UHMW Choice for Non-stick Bearings and Bushings in Food & Dairy Industry

Food & Dairy Bearings and Bushings:

Bearings and bushings can be found in almost every step in food or dairy processing industries.  Polymers are a popular choice for bearings and bushings in the food and dairy industry, both at the design stage and when retrofitting.  Because they are greaseless, the can provide a more sanitary environment for food processing.  They don’t require the maintenance that metal bearings and bushings require, thus reducing downtime for maintenance.  Their durability results in longer mean times to failure.  They are usually much more resistant to corrosion and much less chemically reactive than metal bearings and bushings.  They also weight much less than equivalent metal bearings and bushings.

Non-stick Applications

These are all good reasons to use polymer bearings in the food and dairy industries, but what about situations where one of the design requirements is non-stick bearings?  That is not a problem at all. There are, in fact, two specific plastics that are commonly used in these situations:  PTFE and UHMW PE.


PTFE, or Teflon, is well known for its anti-stick properties due to its use as a coating for cooking utensils.  In fact, even Geckos can’t hang on to PTFE.  PTFE is also hydrophobic.  It is usually known among engineers for having the lowest coefficient of friction any polymer or metal in existence.  It is also the least chemically reactive polymer, and has excellent wear properties.  It absorbs a minimal amount of moisture.  PTFE, in its virgin form, is odorless and tasteless.  It has FDA approval.


UMHW (ultra-high molecular weight) PE (polyethylene) is known for its toughness, including the highest impact strength of any polymer currently available.  It has no moisture absorption. Its coefficient is low enough to be comparable to PTFE. More importantly, like Teflon, it provides a non-stick surface. It is often chosen because of its ability to resist material hang-up. Among its other properties is an abrasion resistance that is 10x that of carbon steel.  UMHW PE is tasteless, odorless, and nontoxic.  It has been approved by the FDA, USDA, Canada AG and 3A dairy.


If you are designing equipment for the food and dairy industry, or looking to retrofit existing equipment, and require non-stick bearings or bushings, look no further than PTFE and UHMW PE.


Tags:teflon ptfe,UHMW,food industry