Assembly in Action / Automated Assembly

Lid-Lift Bushings Earn Kiss of Approval From Lipstick Manufacturer

October 1, 2012

Kingston, Ontario-based Pure Ingenuity Design & Fabrication Group is a custom stainless steel equipment fabricator that manufactures all sorts of processing equipment for global companies in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. Their customers include Kraft, Nestle, Parmalab, Pfizer, L’Oreal and Clairol.

A few years ago a representative for a Canadian cosmetics manufacturer asked Pure Ingenuity if it could design and build a jacketed and insulated kettle for making lipstick. Several materials must be dropped into the kettle, which simultaneously agitates and melts the materials. The kettle must then be tilted to pour the liquid lipstick into molds.

During the mixing and melting process, machine operators must be able to raise the lid 20 inches to add ingredients or mix the lipstick with paddles. However, the lid weighs about 60 pounds, as it is made of stainless steel and measures 24 inches in diameter. The representative and Pure Ingenuity knew the lid had to be lifted mechanically to maximize worker productivity and lipstick production.

Pure Ingenuity decided not to use bearings to lift the lid because bearings require extensive time and effort to mount. Rather, the fabricator decided to use two SWF 20 GWUU linear flange ball bushings from NB Corp. of America.

The SWF 20 GWUU bushing is about 4 inches long and can travel 30 inches for clamping. It is a double-wide bushing with resin retainer that has seals on both sides.

Pure Ingenuity likes that the bushing installs quickly and easily. After workers bore a rough hole and tap it, they bolt the bushing to the top of the kettle base. Because the bushing is supported by a linear flange, the bore-through hole doesn’t need to be accurate or tight against the bushing. This lessens machining time.

“Compared to mounting a non-linear flange bearing, these bushings are effortless,” says Steven Dean, project manager with Pure Ingenuity.

Dean likes that the bushings easily handle the weight of the heavy lids. He also says the bushings provide uniform movement, which prevents shaking and rattling as the lid goes up and down.

Thus far, no bushings have had to be replaced.

NB makes more than 1,200 linear flange ball bushings, which are categorized according to shaft inner diameter, length and mount configuration. The smallest shaft inner diameter is 6 millimeters. The company precisely controls the inner diameter to 5 microns to eliminate unwanted clearance between shaft and bushing.

NB linear flange ball bushings are 0.75 to 12.2 inches long, but also come in metric dimensions. The bushings are available in single, doublewide, triplewide or center-mount configurations.

For more information on ball bushings, call 800-521-2045 or visit

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