Plain Bearings Gain in Global Aerospace & Wind Turbine Manufacturing Sectors

A new Freedonia Group analysis projects global demand growth for plain bearings to improve considerably from the weakness that characterized much of the 2015-2020 period, even before the steep losses seen of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 – rising 5.4% annually to $13.8 billion in 2025:

  • During the post-pandemic period, sales gains will be fueled by a rebound in durable goods manufacturing output.
  • The motor vehicles and machinery markets for bearings – by far the largest – are expected to account for much of the worldwide gains through 2025, with the motor vehicles segment registering particularly rapid growth. However, a semiconductor chip shortage will dampen the motor vehicle markets growth prospects in the near term.
  • Nevertheless, the fastest advances will be in the sizable aerospace equipment market, where the need for high quality bearings, coupled with significant investment in aerospace manufacturing capacity in developing nations, will boost growth in both unit and value terms, despite the maturity of the aerospace industry in many developed markets.

Global aerospace demand for plain bearings to rise nearly 9% annually through 2025.

Although plain bearings will remain a relatively niche product compared to other bearing types, they are expected to gain share from bearings with rolling elements in the manufacture of such equipment as aerospace and wind turbines because of their advantages, which include:

  • relatively low cost
  • space and weight savings
  • high load-carrying capacity
  • quiet operation

Further improvements in product designs will also contribute to sales advances. The use of self-lubricating polymers, for example, helps reduce plain bearing maintenance requirements, and the use of materials such as ToughMet copper-nickel-tin alloys enables plain bearings to handle higher loads, operate at greater speeds, and have better corrosion resistance.

Want to Learn More?

Global Plain Bearings is now available from the Freedonia Group. This study analyzes the global market for plain bearings by region and type (journal, spherical, thrust and other bearings). Historical data (2010, 2015, and 2020) and forecasts for 2025 and 2030 are presented for plain bearing demand, production, and net exports in current US dollars (including inflation).

Demand is also discussed by market:

  • machinery
  • motor vehicles (e.g., automobiles; light, medium, and heavy trucks; recreational vehicles; mini-buses and shuttles; all-terrain vehicles; motor coaches and transit buses; vans)
  • aerospace (e.g., airplanes, drones, helicopters, rockets, satellites, space vehicles)
  • motorcycles, including internal combustion engine and electric moped, motorcycles, and scooters
  • other markets (e.g., appliances; bicycles; boats, ships, and other marine equipment; electronics and electrical equipment; instruments; medical products; military hardware; railway equipment; sports equipment; wind turbines)