Food & Beverage Asia Apr/May 2018

APRIL / MAY 2018 FOOD & BEVERAGE ASIA igus Maintenance-Free 3D Printed Grippers Make Packaging Machines Effective M any companies have already used the tribologically optimised 3D print filaments from igus for 3D printing. Among the customers was Carecos Kosmetik GmbH, which faced the following problem: if a product had to be changed, it had to have new grippers made for the packaging machines, which would grip the lids and screw onto cans. Here, the customer previously selected the elaborate machining of a gripper made from aluminium which cost up to 10,000 euros per part, and also took six weeks. The company also tried using standard plastics such as ABS and PLA as an alternative. However, the printing processes did not provide satisfactory results. The solution: With the tribologically-optimised iglidur I150 filament, the packer has found an extremely stable and at the same time very impact- resistant material for 3D printing, with which a gripper can be printed within 10 to 12 hours. As almost every element of a gripper is flexible and glides in this movement on surfaces and shafts and pins, so that the individual parts are exposed to constant wear. Thus, metallic parts must often be provided with separate bearings or lubricated in the application. The use of iglidur I150 in 3D printing has enabled the company to save up to 85% of the cost and 70% of the manufacturing time compared to the previously selected aluminium formats. Compared to standard materials such as polylactide (PLA), the high-performance plastics from igus are up to 50 times more wear-resistant and can be processed on all standard 3D printers. ■