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Rob Day’s Progression Story

Where did my professional journey begin?

Before joining igus® I worked at Applied Sweepers on the production line making road sweepers. After this, I joined Alexander Dennis again, working on the production line building coaches. Unfortunately, I got made redundant from Alexander Dennis and decided to set-up my own car wash business.

I really enjoyed running my own business but missed the engineering side of my work life. So, I decided to sell up and look for a role that could combine both my business and engineering passion. This led me to igus®. I had seen a position advertised on Indeed and applied straight away.


My igus® career

Shortly after applying for the position of Scotland’s Sales Engineer, I got an interview and was offered the job. Adapting to life at igus® was good as everyone was very supportive, especially in my second week of employment when my twins arrived 2 months early.

Through my 6 years at igus®, I have grown as a person and in my career. igus® has allowed me to further my education in engineering as well as looking after my area in Scotland. I have recently progressed into a Product Specialist role, so I am able to share my knowledge on moulded gears with customers and help support other sales engineers around the country.

Rob Day

What Rob Day likes about igus?

“I like the fact that the range of projects and applications that we are involved in are so diverse, from subsea applications to medical device applications. This keeps the working day very interesting.”

You can contact Rob Day directly via our contact page today. Click here

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Rob Dumayne’s Progression Story

Where did my career begin?

I started my career way back in 1992 at a well-known Tapered roller bearing manufacturer as a Manufacturing Engineering Apprentice.  

After 4 years gaining solid engineering knowledge, both practical and theoretical I moved into a position within the same company as an Equipment Engineer. Here I furthered my engineering education outside of work time.  

This involved managing a department of production machines and a very small team of Maintenance Engineers focusing on continuous improvement, condition monitoring and scheduling machine improvements without compromising production.  


The start of my igus® journey

3 years later (1999) the call from igus® came, this was an opportunity which sounded exciting, intriguing, and completely new.  

The world of Technical Sales was on the table within the dry-tech team, which is not something I would’ve ever considered. However, igus® seemed like the sort of place I could thrive, getting involved in customer engineering problems and solving them using these crazy technical polymers called iglidur®. I jumped at the chance and never looked back.  

Rob Dumayne
2000/2001 at igus® UK

Joining in 1999 was just about the perfect time as I found myself growing with the company, its products, and the people.  

A few years later we had out grown the offices in Daventry and moved to a larger premises in Northampton. When I moved in I started my position of Office Manager, this was in addition to the role of Technical sales which had seemed to evolve into a design function too. Of course, all of this suited me as I do need to be challenged otherwise (as my teachers always used to say) ‘Robert is easily distracted’.


What happened in 2013?

It had been a few years as office manager passed and another move to an even bigger premises, when the next milestone hit. In 2013 our Managing Director retired which meant the dry-tech Director Matthew Aldridge took his place, which left a large void in the dry-tech team.  

I pushed to be considered for this and managed to persuade Matthew that I could potentially fill his shoes. After some heavy discussion (luckily Matthew trained me in the art of negotiation) I became the Director of our UK dry-tech operation. Unfortunately, I don’t quite get the same opportunities to be involved in as many engineering problems but I do have the amazing opportunity to manage and develop a great team of people that make up the entire dry-tech department.  

Rob Dumayne, drytech Director

22 years at igus® has flown by, luckily for me igus® is so dynamic there is never a dull moment and always the opportunity to develop something new and exciting which makes me very lucky and incredibly grateful. 

What Rob Dumayne likes about igus®?

“I like the fact that we are a progressive, dynamic company with an ever increasing unique product range with enthusiastic, talented and friendly people.”

You can contact Rob Dumayne directly via our contact page today. Click here

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Issue 07/2020

Editor Matthew Aldridge writes:

Time seems to have accelerated in this strange year, it is unbelievable that I am now writing the summer newsletter editorial.

We do not have any summer shutdowns at igus®, we are open 8-8 every working day for you, shipping all stock parts within 24 hours. If you need support or further information, then we can arrange a “virtual visit” using Microsoft Teams, Facetime, WhatsApp etc, or we can come to your premises, taking all suitable safety precautions. Remember, if you have moving parts on your machine, then it is likely that we can save you time and money.

Throughout 2020 my offer of samples still stands, so email me with the details of your requirements and, I promise I will give it my urgent attention. This applies to bearings, linear guides, cable chains and flexible cables, the samples are free and you could save a lot of money.

Stay safe and enjoy the summer, best regards,

Matthew Aldridge
maldridge@igus.co.uk

Tech up, Cost down. Now it is important.

Take part in our concise online seminars to quickly find out how this is done.

With the new “Tech up, Cost down” online seminars lasting 20 to 30 minutes, you learn exactly how this can be done for your particular application.

How we can do this? For more than 50 years, we have been developing and testing technical plastics and, every day, our experts improve thousands of applications.

We bundle all this knowledge together in these online seminars. You are quickly given an overview of what can be done: the elimination of wear and lubrication, for example, results in technical improvement or extending service intervals, amongst other things, leads to a reduction of costs. Or even both.

We have listed the topics for you here. We look forward to your participation.

Informative
Trends & new solutions for your applications.

Easy
Take part from anywhere with just the click of a mouse.

Free of charge
No participation fee and without any travel costs.

Interactive
Live discussion and questions via our chat function.

Individual
On request, specifically for your needs.

Concise
Usually lasts only 20 to 30 minutes.

Tech up, Cost down. These new solutions can help.

UL verified: 36-month chainflex® guarantee*

▲ Tech up
Qualified cables as well as reliability and safety due to neutral institution.

▼ Cost down
Fail-safe design for the tested cables.

Find out more about chainflex® UL verified

Linear guide: functional check at the press of a button

▲ Tech up
Linear carriages with functional check at the press of a button. Wear sensor directly integrated in the liner.

▼ Cost down
Immediate use without integration into local IT environment. Bearing change without removal of the linear unit.

drylin® W isense linear carriages

50% less installation time

▲ Tech up
Can be easily filled from above. Intuitive design.
Flexible modular kit.

▼ Cost down
50% less installation time than in the case of conventional chainfix clamps.

CFQ and CFPQ strain relief components

Programme, simulate and control robots

▲ Tech up
Programming and integration of robots for anyone. Simple connection between robot and control system

▼ Cost down
Free software enables risk-free testing

Find out more about igus® robot control

Tech up, Cost down. These new solutions can help.

Tech up, Cost down:
Large exhibition in Cologne.

You are in the office or safe at home while we do all the work: go to the products that interest you, we show you details, answer questions or clarify technical issues. Almost like a real visit to a trade show. Only much more convenient.

I would like to make an appointment

I only want to take a look around

Tech up, Cost down. It´s our job.

Justin Leonard

for e-chain systems® and chainflex® cables

01604 677240

07974 230343

jleonard@igus.co.uk

Rob Dumayne

for dry-tech® bearing technology

01604 677240

07801 694753

rdumayne@igus.co.uk


6 reasons to use the igus® module connect

The igus® module connect has been developed as the next level of plug-and-play solutions. It features highly flexible housing that offers multiple inserts covering power, signal, data and pneumatic connections in one module.

Tell me more!

Module connector
  1. Flexible assembly – with over 100 inserts available, the combination of your module connect assembly is limitless.
  2. Fully configurable – every aspect of the module connect is configurable to your individual requirements from seals and cable inserts to connecting multiple modules together.
  3. Integral strain relief – with the built-in single piece strain relief, the module connect gives a strong, robust, and easy-to-handle system.
  4. Lightweight and space-saving in design the module connect is designed with fibre-reinforced high-performance polymers. This reduces the number of separate connectors and allows for a significant reduction in weight compared to conventional rectangular connectors.
  5. Quick and easy to connect – once module connect has been designed into your system, it allows for very fast production, installation, and service changeover.
  6. Tried and tested – at igus®, all products are thoroughly tested and the module connect is no exception!

Start to configure your application easily by selecting your chosen chainflex® cables and igus® energy chains on our website now.

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What is selective laser sintering, or SLS?

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is one of the powder-based additive manufacturing technologies. Physical plastic components are manufactured on the basis of CAD data by means of the energy input of a laser beam. The plastic in powder form is used as the starting material. The laser can be either a CO² laser or an infrared laser.

The laser sintering process is divided into 3 recurring steps:

  • Application of the powder layer
  • Adjustment of the temperature
  • Exposure of the current layer

The powder is applied in a thin layer (typically 0.1mm) above a fabrication platform in the build chamber of the printer and then heated to just below the melting temperature.

Selective Laser Sintering process

The powder needs to have very good particle size distribution, if possible in the range of 10 to 100 µm. The powder must have sufficient flowability to ensure that the loose powder particles are packed together very tightly.

The laser beam melts the current cross sections (of the respective components) that are positioned in this layer. When the thin powder layer is exposed to the laser beam, it fuses with the layer underneath. Once a layer has been exposed, the fabrication platform is lowered, and the next layer of powder is applied.

In the next step, the fabrication platform in the build chamber is lowered further and the powder bed, consisting of the already exposed parts and loose powder that functions as a support, descends so that further layers can gradually be added on top. In this way, the entire build chamber is filled additively from top to bottom at a speed of approximately 10mm/h and several hundred to a thousand small- to medium-sized parts of the component being built are fabricated.

After completion of the fabrication job, it has to be allowed to cool. Cooling lasts approximately as long as the fabrication time. The build chamber container is then removed and carefully emptied in an unpacking station. The excess powder that has not been melted by the laser is removed and can be used again for the next printing process (recycling rates of approximately 10% to 50% are usual for laser sintering and can vary depending on the material used).

Excess powder is removed from the cooled components and, depending on the requirements for the surface, are exposed to further treatment such as dyeing or smoothing. Glass bead blasting is a standard cleaning method used in SLS printing.

Visit the website to find out more about igus® 3D Print.

Alternatively, contact our Product Manager Dean Aylott: daylott@igus.co.uk for any 3D Print enquiries.

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Where are chainflex® cables used?

igus® chainflex® cables can be found in an endless number of industries and applications thanks to the number of environments that igus® caters for. While often used as single components, igus® cables are primarily used within energy chains and can be found in several e-chain® industries.

How can chainflex® work for you? Below are some examples of how and where chainflex® cables are used around the world.

chainflex® at great heights

cables in cranes

You can spot igus® chainflex® cables in across 10,000 port installations from ship-to-shore cranes, Goliath cranes, bulk handling cranes and many more. Alongside our energy chains, chainflex® cables work reliably and effectively in severe conditions. We have tried and tested this alternative to festoons and cable drums to provide a cost-effective and low-maintenance system.

For more than 10 years in a RTG crane, igus® energy systems have been working efficiently without a single component being replaced. Travelling at a speed of 70m/min the system has continuously done its job, maintenance free.

chainflex® at the panto

cables in the theatre

Every stage is unique and no matter what happens the show must go on. In stage construction there are many challenges, such as: high loads, noise, discretion and many more. igus® chainflex® offers dependable energy supply systems, including our highly flexible cables that can accommodate the unique specifications of every stage.

To save space, we used a zig-zag energy chain to efficiently carry our chainflex® cables in vertically suspended applications. This allows the energy system to not only be cost-effective but space-saving and inconspicuous.

chainflex® in sewage plants

Sewage plants can create some of the harshest conditions for energy systems and that is why we rigorously test all of our cables. While flexibly transmitting energy, our cables can withstand stress from sun, wind, snow and ice whilst avoiding downtime and surplus costs, and still remaining maintenance-free. Whether in a longitudinal scrapper, sand, or fat trap, igus® chainflex® offers everything you need from a cable and offers customised solutions for small to large sewage plants.

cables in sewage plants

Where we previously used a cable drum to supply energy, igus® has now replaced it with the flizz system to avoid wear to the cables. Since the chainflex® cables and the flizz system have been in use, the plant operates without downtime or maintenance fees in spite of the continuing harsh environments.

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How are chainflex® cables tested?

All of our chainflex® cables undergo rigorous testing to ensure the maximum service life of igus® cables, because of this we can supply our unique 36-month-guarantee. Here we will go through 8 of our cable tests.

cable flexibility testing

First, we test the tensile strength of the outer jacket, the jacket is cut using a tool that measures the same sized piece shaped like a bone. After, markers are glued on to indicate a specific distance that will be measured to determine the strength. It is then placed into a pull machine on which cameras are mounted on moving blocks to determine the exact distance the markers move during the test. This informs us of the quality and purity of the material being used. If something was wrong during the production of this jacket, this test alerts us and it is then corrected. This test is performed three times in each cable batch to ensure that the test and material match up with the required standards.

The next test is for concentricity, this ensures that during the extrusion process the material being extruded covers the cable properly. This is very important when considering harnessing cables because automated machines and will cut through a conductor’s insulation if the jacketing is not concentric and properly proportioned. After this, they are also able to measure wall thickness, this is done by measuring six different points whilst under the microscope. After concentricity a visual inspection is conducted where we can measure the core and the overall diameter as the insulation thickness needs to meet certain criteria.

cable temperature testing

The fourth test is ageing the outer jacket, the jacket is hung with other samples from the same batch in a chamber that has a hotter temperature than optimum room temperature. This increased temperature helps predict how a cable is expected to age, depending on the material different results are expected. These results are tracked and compared against the standard results their given materials. The next test is an oil test, in this test, cable jacket pieces are submerged in oil for a specific length of time at a specific temperature. The time and temperature are standard criteria that have been created and depending on the results this will determine the specific oil marking certifications that the cable will hold. Although this is a great test it is not ideal for igus® cables as it does not consider the flexing aspect. Therefore, we test our cables harnessed and in e-chains® in our own in-house test facility, which is the largest of its kind in the world.

The next test is the conductivity and resistance test, this ensures that cables meet special electrical requirements that are presented in the technical data sheets. This test is very important as cables are chosen based on their electrical properties to fulfil application needs. For this reason, entire drums are tested not just a small sample. After that, it is on to the high voltage test, this is to ensure there are no insulation or jacket issues with the cable, here the entire spool is also tested. The results of these tests are included in our catalogue pages under test voltage.

The final test is the flame test. The cable is placed under direct flame for fifteen second periods and alternates fifteen seconds on and off. This occurs over 5 cycles and after the fifth cycle the cable passes the FT1 test if the following applies: the cable does not continue to burn after 60 seconds, no melting of the outer jacket occurs where it causes the material to drip, the flag mark on the cable does not burn to show that the fire did not travel upwards of where the flame was applied.

For many cable companies the factory is where the cable testing stops, but not at igus®. We test cables every day, in batch tests where 20% of each batch is documented and checked to ensure no cables have any defects. This includes, overall outer diameter, cross-section sizes, correct jacketing service and specific colour coding of the outer jacket material. Then the cables are harnessed into an e-chain® at a lower bend radius than our catalogue typically permits and are run for hundreds of thousands of cycles. Noted during this testing is the temperature, speed, bend radius and total number of cycles. After one whole week of testing the cables are replaced with the new weeks batch and the cables that have been running are then brought to the examination laboratory. A sample is taken from the middle of the cable to ensure it had the most flexing, this is then stripped and dissected into each individual part. Any issues with any part of the cable are then noted and documented to ensure all igus® cables perform flawlessly.

To find out more about igus® testing click here.

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How are chainflex® cables made?

chainflex cable material

How are chainflex® cables made? Our journey with a cable begins with the most basic component, copper. Copper starts out as raw material and is pulled into smaller strands called litz wires. The number of litz wires required for a cross section depends on the size of the litz wire, a thinner wire will require more strands than a thicker wire to make the same cross section size. The spools of separated wire are then stranded together by machines. During stranding there are two different ways to group the copper strands, one is concentric and the other is bunched. Concentric is one layer of litz wire twisted together around a central wire, ending in a very rounded, stranded conductor. Bunching is used when more than one layer of litz wire is required, this creates a less rounded shape as there is no central wire. Cable generally runs at a speed of 5km per hour, however igus® conductors are stranded at a very high pitch so that the conductor can stand continuous flexing without failing. This increase in quality will extend the production time of igus® cables.

making chainflex cable with extruder

The next step is the insulation. The reel of stranded copper litz wire is placed on the insulation machine and is then run through a series of tests. First, the copper is heated up, once heated it is ready to enter the extruder, where it comes out with the insulation material covering it.

Next, is the cooling line, this is done after the pressure extrusion as the insulation material becomes very hot. In some cases, two different cooling areas are to cool a material, if the temperatures vary. After the cable is cooled, it undergoes three different quality checks where a visual inspection is done. This is to ensure no lumps, bumps or air pockets are on the cable. The next quality check is high voltage spark testing, this box contains charged metal beads. The cable runs through these beads and sparks if there is an issue such as, an opening in the insulation where the bare copper is exposed. The final quality check is a laser outer diameter test, using two different axis lasers to measure the approximate OD. Due to the intricacies involved and to ensure that igus® produces the highest quality chainflex®, large amounts of cable can be rejected when testing.

bundling chainflex cable cores

Once we have all the single conductors with insulation the next step is to bundle them into cores, this is done using a machine called a neutraliser.  This bundle design is unique to igus® as it allows each conductor to have similar bend radius strains. In a standard layer, cable conductor, are in the inner radius, the centre radius and the outer radius causing more or less stress on different parts of the conductors, reducing the lifetime of the cable.

The next step is the inner jacket. It works similarly to the insulation process and is inside many different chainflex® cables. Inner jackets need to be stripped before application of a cable so igus® includes the CFRIP feature, an orange cord is added within the inner jacket to allow stripping to be made easy. After the CFRIP is added the next step is the addition of talcum powder, which is added to all the conductors prior to the inner jacket being extruded. Talcum powder is used to decrease the friction between the conductors and avoids abrasion, the cable then undergoes the same three quality checks.

cable inner jacket with CFRIP

After the inner jacket comes the shielding. All chainflex® cables use tinned copper for the braided shield material. Rotating carriages weave around the inner jacket to create the braid that you see on the finished product. igus® uses a short pitch or a tight angle on our shields as tighter braiding has a greater protection against EMI. igus® tests this in order to be able to assign a value of 90% optical coverage another reason is because it is the best design for a continuous flex cable.

After shielding, is the last step of the cable making process, the outer jacket. The cable is brought through the extruder head so that the pressure extruder material can cover it completely. It is again headed into the cooling line and once cooled it also goes through the same three quality checks: the lump check, the spark test and the outer diameter test. Once the cable is finished it is tested in our igus® test lab.

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Rotary Energy Supply Systems – Slip ring alternatives

Q & A with Justin Leonard: e-chain® Director of igus®

Question:

Traditionally slip rings have been used in applications needing 360° rotating energy supplies. Why do the igus® RBR rotary energy supply systems offer an advantage over these types of products?

Answer:

Slip rings come with a lot of issues. For example, they are very susceptible to corrosion and being unreliable due the ingress of dirt. Above all, they are very limited in what they can transmit which is normally just power or basic data.  You can’t use a slip ring for fluid, air, water or fibre optic cables. Rotary energy chain systems work well because you can put any service down them. You can have a mixture of air, water, power, servo, encoder and fibre optic cables together side by side. The energy chain itself guides the cables and hoses and keeps them secure within an enforced bend radius and with physical protection. These concepts are not possible for slip rings. Also, rotary energy supply systems not only offer a very universal system but can easily be upgraded later. This means that you can remove individual cables and replace them as and when you need to.

Question:

How easy are rotary energy supply systems to install?

Answer:

We supply the rotating energy supply as a complete system. This includes the energy chain complete with the cables and hoses pre-fitted inside them, with or without connectors as per the customer’s order. This also comes complete with the required guiding system. The guiding system is a critical because this keeps the chain operating smoothly and correctly whilst being fully protected. If you do not have a guiding system, the complete system will not work properly. We match it to the customer’s machine interfaces, and therefore installation is very simple and is a matter of just bolting on the whole system complete with the pre-fitted chain then plugging in the connectorised cables.

Question:

Are there any examples of existing applications using rotary energy supply systems in industry?

Answer:

Rotating energy supplies can be used from the smallest to the largest machines across a range of industries. Currently we have them on tiny systems such as turnover tables, assembly jigs and medical scanning units, right through to giant systems for cranes that might be 30m across. We have also completed projects for TV studios where you have multiple television screens rotating around a presenter, and retrofitted systems into Victorian railway swing bridges to offer reliable hydraulic supply. There are so many variations and environments where they can be used.

Question:

What are the main technical benefits of the rotating energy supply systems?

Answer:

The main technical benefits are that you can mix lots of different services in the same system, you can retrofit, add things and swap things out without having to upgrade the system. Also, they have a physical protection around them.  Additionally, they are very quiet. The system is passive because it doesn’t need any power to move it, it just follows the system that the customer implements. It’s very simple, straightforward and universal.

Question:

Are there any other benefits to using these systems vs traditional slip rings?

Answer:

They can be used in any application, it’s just a case of making sure the materials used in the guiding system are correct, for instance, using stainless steel for the maritime environments.  Also, the environmental benefits of using energy chain systems is that there is no lubrication required so there are no repercussions of oil going into the environment. Also, there is no maintenance required, which is a good cost saving benefit for customers. The fact that our energy chain systems are plastic-based is an advantage because although single-use plastics get a bad rap, engineering plastics have a very long life and are actually far less environmentally intensive than their metal alternatives.

Question:

Can a customer use their own cable in an igus® rotating energy supply system?

Answer:

The rule is that the cable must be a good dynamic cable to work well in one of these. igus® chainflex® cables are our niche product range; we make cables that are guaranteed for 36 months or 10 million movements, therefore we would ideally like to specify cables that we know can perform well. We can then guarantee the whole system. However, if the cable is a proper cable it will work, if it’s not it simply will not last in an environment like this because of the continuous twisting motion.

Question:

Is there a minimum bend radius?

Answer:

The minimum bend radius of the cable is defined by the cable manufacturer. We have all that data for our chainflex® cables, and we design around that. If there is another cable or hose that must go in, the manufacturer has to define what that is. This must be a dynamic minimum, which is for long life and not just a static minimum.

Question:

I’d like to specify a rotary energy supply system; how do I find the online calculator?

Answer:

Go to igus.co.uk and follow the links for the online tools. There is also a simple 3D CAD configurator, where you can put in some data and get some indications of packager space requirements for the whole system. We would however recommend discussing your requirements with us early in the project, because when we begin integrating the whole system into the premade “cartridge” it needs to interface correctly with your system. Talk to us early and we can help you get basic dimensions from the configurator, right through to the detailed system design and planning.

Question:

Can rotating energy supply systems be used on large heavy-duty applications?

Answer:

With very large heavy-duty systems, where the rotation angle is over 360 degrees, or if the system is running in a non-horizontal orientation, for example on a large diameter system up to 30m across, then we have various design features that we can implement such as floating islands, ramps and/or guiding plates to ensure that the energy chain performs correctly during operation’. This might be vital on systems used on vessels because the vessel might be pitching and rolling in the waves. We have lots of different tools available to us such as, floating islands, tubular guide systems, cable strain relief etc. that allow us to completely fulfil the customers’ requirements.

Question:

Are there any environments that the rotary energy supplies cannot withstand?

Answer:

For our standard energy chains, very high temperatures can be an issue. For example, ambient temperatures over 120° or -40°, or exposure to extremely strong acids however, those types of applications are rare. That said, we do have a range of materials (temperature/chemical resistance, electrically conductive etc.) available to us so we can mould the energy chain parts with these if required.

Question:

What are the available options?

Answer:

It’s great if we can get involved early in the project, so we can help get basic dimensions from the online configurator tools, right through to the detailed system design and planning.  Installation should be straightforward if you have a whole design drawn up and delivered in a single piece. In fact, we offer a range of onsite services, they range from commissioning just the system once it’s completed or, supervision to help the customer install themselves or we can offer full turn-key installation. We can work with whatever suits the customer’s resources in terms of their available staff, their experience and their budget.

Question:

What is the average lead time for one of these systems?

Answer:

For a fully customised rotary energy chain system, it should take a matter of weeks to manufacture after we get the design signed off by the customer; we can minimize that according to their deadline. However, the type of projects that require these systems usually have a long lead time so there is normally plenty of time to prepare.  The key thing is to talk to us early and we will work to meet your deadline.

RBR system

If you’d like to find out more about specifying RBR rotatory energy supply from igus® download your free copy of 10 tips for RBR design guide here.

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Will 3D printing replace traditional manufacturing?

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a printing process that builds three-dimensional objects. The process consists of adding material layer by layer abiding by a computer-based design. One of igus’® many projects is the development into the 3D printing industry with an alternative idea, using high-performance tribo-polymer filaments. 3D printing has revolutionised the way we produce, with NASA trialling the creation of food to limit waste for astronauts. Many other industries have also invested in this such as fashion designers trialling the creation of new clothing and shoes.

Contrastingly, traditional manufacturing is the production of products using labour and machines, typically for mass production. The term ‘traditional’ is appropriate here due to manufacturing dating back to the late 18th century. Traditional manufacturing is used for everything we buy, from food to our office pens. All manufactured products undergo specific processes; strategy, development, design, testing, production and many more.

Additive manufacturing vs traditional manufacturing

  • Time and costs.

Whilst 3D printing involves a large start-up cost, overall it reduces the amount of time it takes to get from the original consultation to the end product.  By reducing time, we are of course reducing costs, if you are prepared to pay the initial fee. Moreover, this is for one singular product, cost and time is up-scaled for large products and mass production. In the case of traditional manufacturing, it enables you to start small and grow slowly with no great investment, even if it is at a slower pace.

  • Errors and demand

Due to the design process being online, 3D printing can reduce the number of errors by changing the design on demand. The customisation aspect of 3D printing outdoes traditional manufacturing, which relies on the production of duplicate products. If there is any error within traditional manufacturing once the product is in production this can cause great costs, time and specifically waste.

  • Waste prevention

3D printing is extremely sustainable due to its prevention of waste. The only materials used for 3D printing are those that are extruded through the printer. Regardless of this, there are now 3D printers in the industry that are using recycled materials that convert into products. However, as previously mentioned, traditional manufacturing can accumulate an enormous amount of waste from start to finish due to aspects such as; transport and labour.

  • Mass production

The 3D printing industry currently has one main weakness of mass production. Whilst the limits are endless with 3D printing, it is restricted to creating prototypes and products that only require a short run time. Therefore, manufacturers continue to turn to traditional manufacturing when investing in large scale productions.

What does the future hold for 3D printing?

3D printing takes a lot of time to produce just one prototype, consequently, traditional manufacturers needn’t quiver in their boots, YET. However, without knowing what the future holds, it appears that the pace and fascination in 3D printing shows no sign of slowing down.

igus® combines the best of both industries and provides great insight with professionals on hand that have both the knowledge and skills to tackle any question.

Dean Aylott, Product Manager for Additive manufacturing at igus® writes:

“Times and opinions have changed and are continuing to do so. The days of just using 3D printing to prototype a design and then discard it are gone. We are now able to make mechanically suitable and optimised designs with predictable life. igus® was built on a fundamental statement that we presented to our customers – you give us a problem and we will solve it with plastic. Not only is this still true for our moulding and machining methods but with 3D print and our print2mould service we can make these parts quicker than ever in the biggest range of bearing optimised polymers in the world.

As the quality and accuracy is so much better than in times gone by, we’re also finding that our customers who were originally using print for prototypes and small projects are now using it in OEM products and some are using in the region of 20,000 pieces per year.

I’m not convinced that 3D printing will ever replace traditional manufacturing methods like machining and injection moulding altogether, but it will certainly be taking some of the market away from those methods and also finding its way in to new markets on its own merit.”

Visit the website to find out more about igus® 3D Print.

Alternatively, contact our Product Manager Dean Aylott: daylott@igus.co.uk for any 3D Print enquiries.

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