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What is the igus® electric cable recycling programme? 

Waste and how to reduce waste is a hot topic and I have recently written quite a few blogs covering issues such as these; which can be read here: https://blog.igus.co.uk/category/company/sustainability/ 

The electric cable recycling programme, more commonly known as the chainflex® recycling programme, follows in the footsteps of the energy chain recycling programme, the chainge programme. It is another sustainable step that igus® is taking to help reduce the waste crisis.  

What is the igus® electric cable recycling programme? 

electric cable recycling programme

Every year, 1.45 million tonnes of electrical waste is sent straight to landfill in the UK! This statistic means millions of essential materials: gold, copper, aluminium and steel are wasted. It is our responsibility to reduce this amount to promote a healthier world for generations to come.

The basis of this programme is to allow cables to be responsibly recycled. It was introduced earlier in the year to help contribute towards the reduction of plastic and copper waste within igus® and to support our customers with this issue together with our proved and tested ISO 14001 recycler. The initiative was pioneered by both John Barker and Daisy Durrant. John was the chainflex® product manager at the time and Daisy was the junior chainflex® product manager, who has since taken over from John.  She continues to push this programme with her customers and it has been a very welcomed addition to the igus® sustainable objective.

How the programme works

Customers who have electric cables that are now redundant can return them to igus®. Once the cables arrive at igus®, we collaborate with our recycling partner, a re-processor with nearly 40 years of recycling experience, and arrange for the cables to be taken every quarter to reduce the amount of shipments made.  

This ensures 100% zero-to-landfill recycling of our electrical cables in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

At the end of the year we calculate the total proceeds that are generated from the copper and donate to tree-planting initiatives across the UK. We are working alongside The Woodland Trust, the largest conservation charity in the UK and we invest in having the correct trees planted, in an area they will thrive. The Woodland Trust also care for the continued protection of the new trees for generations to come.

Tree planting from electric cable recycling 

It was important to us that we were able to combine this electrical cable recycling programme with a sustainable edge as a way of encouraging more customers to become part of the green incentive.  Ensuring we had a partner that we could trust to recycle the copper elements in a positive way was essential for us as a company and as part of this programme. Working with these partners allows the relevant components to be recycled without burning or dissolving in chemicals. The main partner we work with uses a process where they use water separating to split the materials. This process enables the specific materials to be safely and responsibly recycled.  

How can I become part of the electric cable recycling programme? 

This is an easy answer, send your old, used cables back to igus® and we will do the rest for you. We have a dedicated page to the chainflex® recycling programme which can be found here: https://www.igus.co.uk/info/chainflex-cable-recycling,  this  gives you all the details on the programme as well as a form you can complete in order for one of the team to get in touch and help organise sending your cables back for recycling.  There is no minimum or maximum amount of cables you can donate to this cause; any contribution will help the programme.

We are continuously looking for better solutions, better materials and better product properties.  igus® products require no lubrication and no lubricants means less environmental pollution.

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How are igus® products part of the “virtuous circle”?

I have written quite a few sustainable related blogs recently, covering various aspects of the topic, but this one focuses on the “virtuous circle” and how this not only impacts us all but how igus® contributes towards it.

What is the “virtuous circle”?

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of “virtuous circle” is: “a chain of events in which one desirable occurrence leads to another which further promotes the first occurrence and so on resulting in a continuous process of improvement”. This is apparent in everyday life. Every day there are events which can be considered part of a virtuous circle, generosity brings out more generosity, innovation generates income which allows companies to invest in further innovation. It is more common in everyday life than we realise.

How are igus® products part of the virtuous circle?

Even the basis of igus® products fits into the “virtuous circle” idea. Our products are not part of the “throw away” society and are plastics for longer life. The principle behind this is that despite being manufactured in plastic, they are better for the environment than their metal counterparts. You can read more on how sustainable the igus® products are here https://blog.igus.co.uk/category/company/sustainability/

Cradle-chain E2

e2 chain is part of the virtuous circle

One of the most innovative energy chain products to be released this year was the cradle-chain. This is the first energy chain to be released worldwide made from 100% recycled material. The term “cradle” comes from the “cradle-to-cradle” concept. This refers to processes which are “sustainable and considerate of life and future generations—from the birth, or “cradle”, of one generation to the next generation”. This sums up the cradle-chain process perfectly.

The idea for this new method of manufacturing these chains came from the chainge programme that we run, where we recycle old energy chains into other products. Based on this idea, the new E2,1, C.G e-chain® was designed, developed and released. As with all igus® products, this new fully recycled chain has been put through its paces in our in-house test lab and has been vigorously tested.

The new fully recycled energy chain

Taking the old energy chains as part of the chainge programme made us realise that we could regranulate, clean and sort them to give good enough material to produce new chains. The chains themselves offer almost the same technical specifications of the standard energy chains of the same size, with only a very minor reduction in load capacity, temperature range etc.

This innovative method of manufacturing energy chains offers a 28% CO2 saving and is classed as a sustainable raw material. This therefore falls under the term “virtuous circle”.

There are currently 5 available series of this chain available, but I have no doubt that more will follow in  their footsteps.

As part of the igus® promise, this range of chains is tested thoroughly under typical real-life application scenarios, allowing us once again to be able to provide accurate data on aspects like tensile strength and breaking moments, the same technical data available for the standard range of igus® energy chains.

A big step in the fight against plastic waste

Becoming part of the “virtuous circle” has allowed us as a company to have a further positive impact on the environment. If we can create more recycled products from products at the end of their life cycle, then as a company we become even more sustainable.

We have also created a range of “Eco” bearings which are plain bearings that have been manufactured using regranulated iglidur® material. The bearing material range covers high temperatures, high media-resistance, versatility, robustness and cost-effectiveness. This bearing range ensures that the same beneficial iglidur® properties are present in the bearing while contributing towards a more sustainable future.

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How often do bearings in bikes need replacing?

There are obvious advantages for plastic bearings being used in bicycles. One key advantage is how infrequently the bearings need replacing. Another advantage is how durable plastic bearings can be, however, the question still arises as to whether plastic is durable enough to withstand the abuse some bicycles can take. So, how often DO bearings in bikes need replacing? The aim of this blog is to identify the key advantages of bearings in bicycles and how, using igus® bearings, can reduce the frequency of needing to replace them.

How often do bearings in bikes need replacing

In the bicycle industry, innovative solutions are not only required and used at the design stage, but are often considered for material selection. Key elements that are required in aspects like the frame, seat post, suspension, pedals or gearshift all need careful consideration when it comes to choosing the best material. Traditionally, there are many solutions for elements of bicycles that can be manufactured out of aluminium or glass fibre-reinforced material, however, it is becoming more frequent that component manufacturers are turning to alternative materials, such as plastic. In particular, plastic plain bearings. These are gaining popularity because they have many advantages over metal plain bearings.

Weight

Weight is one of the most important points to consider when buying a bike. In everyday use of a bicycle, problems are often encountered when lifting the bicycle up or down the stairs or while loading the bike onto a bike rack. Manufacturers are always looking at ways to make the bikes lighter. Even when considering riding the bike, weight reduction is crucial, every gram counts. A plastic plain bearing from igus® is approximately seven times lighter than a comparable metal plain bearing and as mentioned earlier, plastic bearings in bikes need replacing less often.

Corrosion

An igus® plastic plain bearing is corrosion-resistant and offers a great advantage in outdoor applications, after all, they need to be able to withstand rain, snow and heat. Being corrosion-resistant also helps when mountain biking. The terrain tends to be hard and dirty and the bike can need to absorb some serious shocks if doing the jumps. With igus® plain bearings, we have various ranges that can cater for the wet, shock and heavy loads, all of which are 100% corrosion- resistant. Moisture can also affect metal bearings but using tribologically optimised plastic plain bearings from igus®, there is no destructive corrosion and no need for grease or lubrication. This keeps the bearing and bike clean.

Wear and Service Life

A key criteria area when selecting the material of the plain bearing is wear and the associated service life. With metal plain bearings with a PTFE coating, the coating can quickly wear out when contaminated with dirt or excessive pressure from edge loads. This then reduces the sufficient sliding properties needed to make the bearing work efficiently, therefore, the service life of the metal bearing is massively reduced. Additionally, the worn away coating creates metal-on-metal contact, which generates excessive friction, wear and noise.

With a plastic plain bearing the entire wall thickness is used as the sliding element. This is made possible as the additives required for the lubrication are embedded and distributed homogeneously throughout the material. Therefore, a longer service life is achieved and the need to replace the bearings is less frequent.  

Clear advantage

Plastic plain bearings do not need additional lubrication, maintenance of the bearing points is unnecessary, creating an incredibly reliable and efficient operation.

Conclusion: How often do bearings in bikes need replacing?

If the bearings are metallic they will require replacement a lot more frequently than if they are igus® plain bearings. Reducing the frequency that the bearings need replacing saves not only money but time and effort. Changing bearings in a bike can be a faff so eliminating or at least reducing the need for replacement is a win-win.

For more advantages of igus® bearings in bikes ready https://blog.igus.co.uk/bearings-in-bicycles/

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How to reduce single use plastic? Make a bike!

It is true, you are reading that correctly. One of the most important questions asked of us over the last few years is “how to reduce single use plastic?”. So, with this in mind, we are releasing a bike made from recycled plastic! Using our expertise in plastic engineering, we have been working together with approved partners and have designed a bike which will be assembled and supplied by these partners. This ensured we were using our strengths, our knowledge and tools in areas which we are experienced in, such as the engineering design in lubrication-free plastics. This has allowed us to work closely with bicycle manufacturers to integrate the bike into the market

How to reduce single use plastic and why is this important?

The igus:bike was conceived to address a serious problem: the world is drowning in plastic waste. This is not some sort of revelation. We are all aware of this issue. Plastic in landfill sites is growing fast, faster than we can dispose of it.  Some of this plastic ends up in the ocean and can enter the food chain, becoming a danger to marine, animal and human life. Companies must shift away from the traditional linear economic model and migrate to a fully circular economy.

igus® has invested in ideas for recycling plastics for many years and, as I have mentioned before, being a plastics company comes with its own set of negative connotations. So, by being able to create something that is unique and sustainable is an amazing achievement for us.

The bike is a robust, durable urban bike made entirely of plastic, from the frame to its bearings and the toothed belt. A special feature of the new bike is that the recycled version will be primarily made of reused “single use” plastics, which can go towards helping reduce waste.

We have taken rubbish found in dumps from around the world and turned it into a valuable resource.

Why a bike?

how to reduce single use plastic image of bike

The CEO of igus®, Frank Blasé, first had the idea of creating a bicycle, now known as the “igus:bike“, on a beach while on holiday. In conversations with a bike rental company on the beach, he established they had major problems with beach bikes: continuous exposure to sand, wind and salt water meant some parts only lasted about three months before they needed replacing. Maintenance is a time-consuming and expensive part of the bike rental business.

Thanks to the use of maintenance and lubrication-free plastics, owners of the new bike can leave the single-speed bike outdoors in all weathers and clean it in seconds with a garden hose. As all components are made of plastic, no part of the bike rusts, not even the gears.

How to reduce single use plastic by recycling them into pedals!

Lightweight, lubrication-free, high-performance plastics are used in all parts of the bicycle, from two-component ball bearings in the wheel bearings to plain bearings in the seat post, brake levers and pedals.

All these components have integrated solid lubricants and ensure low-friction dry operation – without a single drop of lubricating oil. This ensures that sand, dust and dirt cannot accumulate and clog-up moving parts.

Platform for bike

The igus:bike platform offers bicycle manufacturers all over the world the opportunity to jointly improve this technology. The online platform continuously shows the status and progress of all components and explicitly invites market players to participate. The platform is intended to become a contact point for manufacturers who want to build a plastic bicycle and for all manufacturers of suitable components, such as plastic frames, wheels, drives and pinions. The platform is already hosting initial corporate collaborations, for example, Helix.eco for recycled plastics. Many more will follow.

Another partner is Dutch start-up MTRL that has successfully put 400 bicycles with plastic frames and wheels onto the Netherlands’ roads.

The bicycle start-up will begin production with a children’s model and an adult bicycle for cities by the end of this year. Other versions, such as an e-bike, have also been planned. In the future, the all-plastic bicycle will be available both in a new plastic variant and in one made entirely of recycled material. The first prototypes, successfully produced and tested, were made of plastic reclaimed from old fishing nets.

From ocean plastics to motion plastics – the igus:bike concept has what it takes to become a high-tech ecological product and answers the age-old question of “how to reduce single use plastics?”- make bikes!

For more blogs on igus® and sustainability issues visit here

 

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What 3D printing material is food safe?

FDA 3D printing materials exist! This is crucial for many industries, but do you know what 3D printing material is food safe? Granted having the food safe element means that they are less common than conventional PLA and SLS materials, however, having food safe 3D printing materials is essential. Some of the largest industries worldwide involve food products so ensuring food stays contamination free, FDA- approved materials are vital.

What does FDA 3D printing material mean?

What 3d printing material is food safe

In Europe, EU Directive 10/2011 regulates the food conformity of plastics. The standard identifies the requirements for plastic materials and objects that are intended to come into contact with food. The materials are tested under extreme conditions, mirroring realistic applications. This involves a risk assessment of the toxicity and potential migration of plastic elements or certain chemicals to the food products. In the American market, the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) regulates the permissibility of plastics for the food industry. Both standards include detailed lists on which the permissible substances can be found.

Luckily, FDA 3D printing materials are materials specifically designed for medical and food applications, ensuring that the production remains safe and contamination- free.

With the rise in 3D printing, ensuring that this became a viable option for the medical and food industry is paramount. There are various forms and different materials available as standard for 3D printing and many are FDA- approved, however, there can be restrictions to their capabilities.

What 3D printing material is food safe?

There are a number of 3D printing materials that are food safe, however, it is not just the food safe element that needs to be considered. Most applications will have other parameters that play a part in choosing the most suited materials; temperatures, speed, load etc. All of these need consideration alongside the food safe aspect.

Conventional materials such as PET-G, Nylon-6 as well as some PP and ABS are all classed as food safe, but these all have different limitations so each one needs to be considered carefully.

Do igus® offer FDA 3D printing material?

Of course! The new optically detectable material iglidur® i6 is now available. Fully covered by FDA and EU 10/2011 compliancy, the new blue laser sintering material not only ensures optical detectability but provides comparable strength and wear properties as some of our most successful iglidur® 3D printing materials.

To be able to offer variety, the material is available to purchase in the shop and is compatible with all Co2 laser sintering machines. It is also available on the 3D printing shop for us to 3D print your components for you in the i6 material.

Despite having many years of experience in this field it does not mean that we can generalise. As mentioned earlier, each application is different and has different requirements in relation to what the food compliancy requirements are, therefore, depending on the application and requirement, tests on the specific component may also be required. At igus® we can offer support in this. This may be running specific tests in the laboratory in Cologne or supplying material samples for you to run the necessary tests on site. Either way, we can support you in your journey.

As a precaution, we always recommend that you check the declaration of conformity carefully for the application, as there are significant differences in approved food products as described earlier, such as, temperatures and the approved contact duration. So, in answer to the question “what 3D printing material is food safe?”, there are lots available, conventional and igus®!

For more blogs on 3D printed applications or advice visit https://blog.igus.co.uk/category/3d-printing/ or contact the product manager Dean Aylott. Alternatively, you can head to the website for a full list of our FDA 3D printing materials.

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Can construction machinery manufacturers rely on plastic bearings?

This topic is one that will continue to circle and never disappear. The comparison between plastic and metal, how reliable can plastic components be in harsh, heavy- hitting industries and can construction machinery manufacturers trust them. For many designers in industries such as agricultural and construction machinery, the development in the construction machinery market represents a revolution and with this revolution comes a need for change and new solution concepts.

construction machinery manufacturers

Over the years there have been many changes and developments in the way construction machinery manufacturers develop components within their machines. The demand in this particular industry along with the increasing efforts to protect the environment and reduce the ecological footprint has meant people are looking at alternatives to traditional and conventional parts. The innovative concepts are being put to the test, boundaries and being challenged and perceptions are being changed.  But can construction machinery manufacturers rely on plastic bearings?

Issues with lubrication

For the wearing parts of the machines – especially bearings – the requirement for reliable and low-maintenance solutions is imperative. The time required and sometimes wasted for the daily lubrication of the numerous bearing points (for the 20-30 bearing points of a medium-heavy crawler excavator, 30-60 minutes a day go on it), is often simply no longer an option. The result is that this stage is being missed or neglected, leading to insufficient lubrication and often catastrophic failures.

Normally grease guns are used and central lubrication units facilitate this process to save manual lubrication. However, these devices are an additional cost, they must also be refilled regularly and cannot be accommodated in small machines with space restrictions. So, in many cases, construction machinery manufacturers are looking for an alternative solution.

The environmental aspect of lubricating bearings

In large construction machines, it is not uncommon to see greasy, oily parts which look like they could seize at any moment. If using conventional bearings, these require regular lubrication of the bearing points. At these points, any excess lubrication can be squeezed out into the environment, contaminating the area with dirt and dust. This not only reduces the life of the bearing but also ruins the more expensive mating partner, for example the shaft. Recently, directives and regulations were put into place to ensure that the use is limited to environmentally friendly lubricating greases. But these are significantly more expensive and sometimes give poorer performance than conventional oils and greases so are not being welcomed as they should be.

So, what is the best solution for construction machinery manufacturers?

The most obvious solution to these problems is lubrication-free igus® plain bearings. They are dry running, therefore, without any external lubrication. Not only do you eliminate the harmful grease, you reduce downtime and maintenance time.

However, as is true whenever specifying bearings in an application there are some aspects to consider when deciding to change from conventional bearings to igus® bearings in construction machinery.  Loads need to be considered, bearing behaviour of the different materials right up to corrosion protection. Luckily, we have free online configuration tools that help identify the right bearing materials dependent on the application information provided. Choosing the best bearing to match the shaft material is also imperative to prolong the life of both and eliminate catastrophic failure which often occurs in traditional steel- lubricated components.

We also have a Free white paper: “Important success factors for lubrication-free bearing points in construction machinery” (download here)

Specifically in the UK

The UK houses a huge variation of construction machinery manufacturers and this is a huge industry for us. There is an increased necessity for buildings to be completed in less time than before and civil engineering work is also increasing. As a result, the requirement for humans and machines to come together and work in unity has never been so valuable. Maintenance or failure-related downtime of construction machinery consume valuable time and unplanned downtime causes delays in projects and drives costs up even further.

In conclusion, the plastic bearings can be relied on in construction machinery. If you have any doubts, please contact an igus® expert and for more information on similar blogs visit https://blog.igus.co.uk/category/dry-tech/iglidur-bearings/

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What is a palletiser robot?

Robotics is the future. How many times have you heard that recently? But with the rise in automation in manufacturing, it looks as though it is true. At igus® we have recently introduced a large palletiser robot gantry which is paving the way for a large low-cost robot. But what is a palletiser robot and why do we need them?

Production lines are working in harmony with large industrial robots, farmers are joining forces with automation to increase productivity and even supermarkets are using little robots to deliver shopping.  There is no getting away from the fact that robotics are here to stay.

palletiser robot

What is a palletiser robot?

The general definition of a palletiser robot is a robot that is used to pick and place products and arrange them into a pile or stack. As a result, it becomes a far more economical method of handling components and allows greater loads to be handled, stored and shipped.

What’s different about igus®’ palletiser robot?

By expanding the low-cost automation range with the new drylin® XXL room gantry robot, we have opened the door to new possibilities. The robot has a working envelope of 2000 x 2000 x 1500mm (at the maximum, the robot can measure up to 6000 x 6000 x 1500mm) and is particularly suitable for palletising individual loads of up to 10kg. Compared to other manufacturers of robots with the same working envelope, the drylin® XXL room gantry robot, or palletiser robot is very cost- effective.

The robot is available from £8,000, which includes the control system and another advantage is that it can be easily set up and programmed by yourself via igus® dedicated software without the help of a system integrator.

Palletiser robot in kit form?

We said it was easy! The DIY kit allows users to commission a pick-and-place linear robot quickly and easily for tasks including palletising, sorting, labelling and quality inspection.

The idea behind this palletiser robot was to develop a much cheaper solution by using high-performance plastics and lightweight materials such as aluminium. This low- cost automation solution is therefore a low-risk investment that usually pays for itself within a few weeks.

When someone purchases one, they receive the room portal robot as a DIY kit, consisting of two tooth belt drive axes and a rack and pinion axis with stepper motors for a working space of 2000 x 2000 x 1500mm. The package also includes a control cabinet, cables and energy chains as well as free control software, called igus® Robot Control (iRC). Users can assemble the components into a ready-to-go linear robot in just a few hours, with no external help and without previous knowledge or training.

Easy programming

another palletiser robot example

Not only is the assembly easy, but also the programming of motion sequences. Many companies do not have their own IT specialists, so robot programming is often fraught with problems, one of the many reasons igus® developed the iRC, free software that resembles common office software and enables intuitive programming of the robot paths. The software is free and the resulting “low-code” programming can be used one-to-one on the real robot.

At the heart of the software is a digital twin of the room portal robot, which can be used to set movements with just a few simple clicks, even before the robot is installed and operating.

What help can igus® offer with these palletiser robots?

Before parting with your money, potential users can use the 3D model to check whether their desired movements are actually feasible. At igus® we have a team of engineers that will offer support during commissioning and show what is possible with low-cost robots, making the investment almost risk-free. And if additional components are needed, such as camera systems or grippers, these can quickly be found on the RBTX robotics marketplace.

Do you have an application that could use a low-cost palletiser gantry robot? Perhaps one of the many low cost automation blogs can help: https://blog.igus.co.uk/. If not, contact us!

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Why does hygienic equipment need special products?

Hygienic equipment is becoming increasingly important within companies nowadays, and ensuring they are resistant to aggressive washdowns is essential.  Contamination is detrimental in certain industries, it can cost companies thousands in downtime and service costs. With this in mind, lots of companies are investing in hygienic equipment that are not only hard wearing and suitable for the application but are also resistant to aggressive washdowns.

What constitutes hygienic equipment?

Aggressive washdowns are usually high-pressured rinsing of parts of a machine with a combination of water and chemical solutions. The chemical balance within the solution will depend on the application however some of the chemical solutions can be extremely harsh and require special properties for the components in the machines. Primarily, the sort of applications that use these washdowns are pharmaceutical and food and beverage and high temperature requirements are very common in these applications to kill any hidden germs.

With these washdowns, if the products being washed are not resistant to the chemicals it can cause more harm than good.

Are igus® products resistant to aggressive washdowns?

As igus® offer products that are suited to a wide range of applications, it is essential that a portion of those products can withstand chemical washdowns including high temperatures, chemical resistant, whilst maintaining the hard wearing, stable properties.

Below are a couple of the key igus® products used in hygienic design machines that are all resistant to aggressive washdowns.

TH3 energy chains

hygienic equipment

The TH3 e-chain® was the first hygienic design energy chain developed for industries requiring FDA compliancy. The special design of this chain ensures stability for guiding the cables, and with the open design, there are no dead spaces for germs to form. With a large temperature range, this energy chain is perfectly suited for food and beverage, packaging and filling machines. With its bright blue appearance, the TH3 energy chain is perfect for food applications.

Stainless steel drylin® linear systems

Stainless steel is the go-to for hygienic equipment.  It is resistant to aggressive washdowns, is aesthetically pleasing and can withstand a large range of temperatures. Hygienic applications such as food and packaging need FDA compliance so changing from steel to stainless steel is an easy alternative. We not only offer stainless steel shafts, we offer stainless steel linear systems, leadscrews, conveyor rollers and trough. The trough can support energy chains when being used in long travel applications.

iglidur® A500

This bearing material offers the highest temperature range, has the best chemical resistance, is resistant to media, edge pressure and shock impact. This bearing material was designed especially for difficult applications in the food industry and competes with conventional materials such as PEEK. The iglidur® A500 material comes in various forms such as plain bearings, xiros® ball bearings, stock bar and stock plate. This allows us to support a wide range of customers and applications where there are issues.

Ensuring that the products used in hygienic machines are resistant to high temperatures, aggressive washdowns and chemicals, all whilst maintaining a high level of contamination-free operation is crucial, and thanks to a large range of products across all product groups at igus®, we can support hygienic machines across the world.

FDA is such an important issue for many companies so to help ensure the best products are available we have a full range which can be found here https://www.igus.co.uk/info/fda-eu-compliant. This gives you an idea of the other products not featured in this blog.

For more blogs on the topic of FDA please visit https://blog.igus.co.uk/?s=fda and if you have an application that requires products to be resistant to aggressive washdowns, please contact us to see how we can help!

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How to reduce your carbon footprint

The goal of reducing CO2 emissions has become anchored in many corporate strategies and strategising on how to reduce your carbon footprint has become the forefront for business growth. The necessity for this goal has become more urgent over the last few years with the rapid changes in climate change. We are in the middle of a crisis and unless we all are striving towards the same goal of becoming as CO2 neutral as possible we are in real trouble. But do you know how to reduce your carbon footprint within a company? At igus® we have the goal of becoming climate neutral by 2025 and here are a few ways in which we are planning on achieving this.

The New York Times wrote a piece which gives a great overview of things we can all do on how to reduce your carbon footprint which can be read here

How to reduce your carbon footprint

There are many things that companies can implement to reduce their carbon footprint.  In 2021, igus® generated 31.2% less CO2 emissions at our headquarters and production site in Cologne than in 2020.

This number includes Scope 1 and Scope 2. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, this blog might help with a brief explanation of the term “scope” and showing examples of what emissions fall into which scope and whether these are considered direct or indirect.  

At the beginning, we were struggling with all the terminology and methods of comparisons so we invested in engineers whose core focus is sustainability goals and working on projects that will achieve them.

Reducing CO2 as an individual

As a private individual, many of us are aware of the basic ways that we can reduce CO2 consumption easily: driving less, consuming less meat, finding more efficient methods of fuelling our homes and shopping locally. These are relatively easy steps to reduce the carbon footprint. But what about companies and industries?

Reducing CO2 as a company

how to reduce your carbon footprint

Many countries worldwide signed the Paris Agreement, which is a legally binding agreement to do with climate change. It is a collective goal to ensure that global warming temperatures remain below 2 degrees, preferably as low as 1.5 degrees by 2021. Starting in 2 years’ time, countries will have to report all measures taken to achieve this goal, showing supporting evidence for any statistics supplied.

Scope – three areas for emissions comparability

In 2011, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol was introduced. This is a document which breaks down companies’ emissions into 3 categories: Scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3

Scope 1 – direct emissions

Scope 1 covers all emissions that a company or organisation causes directly. Direct emissions include company vehicles, combustion processes, coolants, steam generation and leaks from systems such as air conditioning. Combustion processes can be from production: a sweeper’s internal combustion engine or a building heating system’s emergency power unit.

Scope 2 – indirect emissions

Indirect emissions include heat, electricity and steam purchased by companies from external suppliers. A company’s carbon footprint depends on how “green” the generation of this purchased energy is.

Scope 3 – indirect emissions in the supply chain

Scope 3 includes all emissions that originate from external independent sources but are a consequence of the company’s activities:

  • employees’ travel to the workplace
  • waste from production and everyday work
  • transport material
  • water consumption by employees and production
  • fuel consumption by suppliers
  • delivery of products to customers
  • waste from products disposed of by customers

Due to the diversity of Scope 3 emissions, the calculation is very complex and is currently still largely based on estimates.

How is igus® reducing its carbon footprint?

At the igus® headquarters and production site in Cologne, we want to be climate neutral by 2025. The switch to green electricity and climate-neutral gas in 2021 was a significant step toward this goal. But lots more is happening:

  • In production, older, energy-intensive injection moulding machines are gradually being replaced by new, more energy-efficient ones
  • Lighting in production halls is currently being converted to LED
  • Comprehensive leakage management has enabled energy to be saved in the production of compressed air
  • In the plain bearings product area, the ECO product line, in which plain bearings are made from regranulate from our own production waste, is now available
  • Our “chainge” program- taking back old plastic energy chains from companies and recycling them. The chains can be from any manufacturer
  •  In April 2022, we launched the first product made from this recycled material, the E2.1.CG cradle-chain energy chain
  • Our environmental management system is certified according to ISO 14001 and the corresponding energy management system according to ISO 50001:2018
  • Employees and customers can charge their e-cars at 20 charging points on our company campus
  • We switched to green electricity at our production site in Cologne in mid-2021, and to climate-neutral gas at the end of 2021, and can report a significant reduction in CO2 emissions according to Scope 2 for 2021 from their 2020 levels
  • Since April 2022, the CO2 footprint has been specified for the most commonly used plastic plain bearings. The goal is to be able to identify it for all plain bearings. Anyone who uses these components for their machine will have a more accurate idea of the overall CO2 emissions generated

According to Scopes 1 and 2, as of April 2022, we are 95% climate neutral. We still have a lot of work to do to reduce our CO2 footprint further but we can all learn more on how to reduce your carbon footprint by looking at other companies. For other blogs on our sustainable mission visit https://blog.igus.co.uk/?s=sustainability

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Are igus® products compatible with ISO cleanroom standards?

There are so many industries that igus® products go into and that means we have to ensure we have specific ranges to suit industries and applications that have specific requirements. Cleanrooms are one of those industries. They require ISO cleanroom standards for their products, so we adapted and designed specific products to fulfil these requirements.

The products span across both sides of the business, with cleanroom energy chains and cables and also linear rails and bearings. This product range is ever growing in line with the demands for ISO cleanroom standard products in many areas.

To read more about cleanroom products and why we need them visit https://blog.igus.co.uk/why-do-we-need-cleanroom-products/

What is ISO cleanroom standard?

The ISO cleanroom standard is a highly regarded specification of environmental requirements. The room requires less than 2 particles greater than 0.3 microns and no particles greater than 1.0 microns per cubic meter to be present in the atmosphere.

This is especially applicable for moving machine parts such as energy chains and cables. To generate as few particles as possible requires high abrasion resistance and this therefore ensures a long service life.  This is important in machines and applications with such strict criteria, customers do not want to be changing components regularly as this can mean contamination and downtime, both causing disruption and expense.

What products to igus® offer with ISO cleanroom standards?

Ensuring that the full range of cleanroom products conform to the ISO cleanroom standard has become a development goal for all igus® products that fall under the cleanroom category.

We have dedicated test facilities that all igus® products are tested in to ensure that the high standards are met and maintained. Only products that meet the ISO cleanroom standards within our laboratory are selected for the Fraunhofer IPA tests.

The evidence is supplied by a new expert report from IPA, the Fraunhofer Institute, by which numerous igus® products are certified with the best classification possible, ISO class 1:

e-skin® energy chain

ISO cleanroom standard energy chain

The e-skin® energy chain has been specifically designed for the cleanroom industry. The abrasion-resistant chain protects machines from particle contamination within the pharmaceutical, medical and semi-conductor industries. We offer a range of e-skin® chain options: e-skin® flat for fast moving applications or applications with space restrictions, e-skin® soft for flexible filling requirements and e-skin® hybrid which combines the advantages of the original e-skin® energy chain with the e-skin® soft.

ISO cleanroom standard cables

To ensure we can offer a complete system, we offer the chainflex® cables with ISO cleanroom standards to ensure the entire system is compatible for cleanrooms. With a variety of options, such as bus cables and control cables, we can help you keep your cleanroom contamination free.

How does igus® ensure the ISO cleanroom standards apply?

With all igus® products, the lack of lubrication required ensures the cleanroom standards are easily upheld. No grease or lubrication means they are less likely to contaminate. We also have designated test labs for cleanroom products to be thoroughly tested to ensure this high standard is guaranteed. These extensive tests have been running since 1997 and have allowed us to develop further products and improve existing products based on the data received from the test lab. Working with Fraunhofer IPA has allowed us to design the purpose-built cleanroom laboratory and receive the ISO Class 1 cleanroom system. Not only can we test our products in this facility, we are able to facilitate customers products and applications in a realistic condition.

So, if you have an application you want us to test, or a product you would like to have put through its paces in our cleanroom test lab, please give us a call.

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