A breakthrough in tradition: Polymer bearings improve service life and hygiene in wine production

Martin Liu | March 29, 2020

Lubrication-free iglidur J plain bearings replace metallic solutions in grape destemming machines

This year, the grape harvest in Baden, Germany, makes an early start at the beginning of August. Experts expect it to be one of the best years ever in the southern region the country. After harvesting, gentle processing of the grape plays a critical role in the quality of the wine. Destemming machines carefully pluck the grapes from the stems. Lubrication and maintenance-free iglidur J plain bearings are used here, which mount the inner drum and thus increase the service life of the machines.

Even the ancient Egyptians appreciated wine. At that time, the grapes were harvested from the vines by hand and then crushed by feet in a large vat. To avoid bitter tannins in the wine, the stems and stalks were already removed during harvesting. The principle of wine production has not changed much to this day. However, the machines used for this process have made great advances. During the harvest, the grapes are machine picked with the stems and stalks still attached. They are then transported into a destemming machine. Using a drum-like sieve, the fruit is separated from the bitter stems and stalks in a rotating movement (similar to a washing machine). The environment of dirt, wood and must is a real challenge for the bearings. Therefore, iglidur J bearings are used in the destemming machines from Siprem International.

iglidur J for higher machine availability

In California alone, 130,000 litres are channelled through the facilities of Siprem International in just two months. iglidur J bearings are lubrication-free, chemical resistant and have a low moisture absorption rate – features that enable a reliable, continuous rotation of the drum. The previously installed metallic bearings had to be serviced and replaced again and again in this difficult environment due to the wood residue. They were ultimately replaced by polymer plain bearings from igus. iglidur bearings have been designed to increase the service life of the machine and reduce its downtime.


Grapes and woody stems and stalks are separated from each other in the destemming machine. Lubrication and maintenance-free iglidur J plain bearings are used to ensure reliable operation of the machine. (Source: igus GmbH)

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