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Can you change drive cable manufacturers?

It is amazing how many fictitious stories we hear about drive cable manufacturers options. There are some rumours surrounding drive cables which can easily be explained or quashed.

One of the biggest rumours that we hear from our customers is, “We HAVE to use the original drive cables of the drive manufacturer”. This is not true. When you think about it, it is a clever ruse by the manufacture to ensure you remain loyal to them….

drive cable manufacturers

Here are a few examples explaining whether you can change drive cable manufacturers.

The guarantee claim:

We must use the manufacturer’s drive cables otherwise this will void any guarantee claims for the drive system.“

The manuals or CE-conformities concerned with this topic deal with FUs, throttles, filters, etc. Cables are not considered. According to component lists, these are not classed as “classic components”. This means that the manufacturer’s guarantee claims run separately from the linking cable. The electrical specifications are fixed. However, these comply with chainflex® cables

Risk management

“We must use the manufacturer’s drive cables for risk management, minimising the number of unknown (cables) products. We know the manufacturer’s parts will work.”

In this risk analysis, cycle times of relays, valves, etc are considered. Safety-relevant maintenance measures and component replacements are calculated based on statistical values. Unfortunately, cycle numbers of dynamic electrical cables are not included in this assessment. This means the risk analysis does not take cables into account. With the igus® chainflex® cables, we are the only cable manufacturer that provides detailed information about service life AND provides a guarantee.

Cable selection by the drive cable manufacturer

“Often only one dynamic and one fixed type of cable is available from the drive manufacturer.“

Drive manufacturers do not usually have a wide range of cables for dynamic applications. The focus and core competence IS NOT on cables. This is because the large drive manufacturers have their competence and expertise in the motors and FUs. With this small selection it is impossible to support all highly dynamic applications as well as those with challenging environmental conditions. In situations such as these, special cables designed for motion would need to be specified.

This is where igus® comes in! As cable specialists, igus® can ensure that the correct cables are specified and designed. Not only for performance but also for safety.

Read more about igus® chainflex cables and their design here.

Conclusion

36 month guarantee

Let’s be clear, the statement about the cancellation of the guarantee promise is not true and cables are often not included in the standards. In many applications however, there is no other solution than to use special cables. The requirements are often very high and cannot be met by standard cables. This is where the advantages that chainflex® offers come into play: 

  • As assembled cables, available with original connectors of the drive manufacturers
  • No minimum order quantities
  • No cutting charges
  • We give a 100% guarantee on our cables to the drive manufacturer
  • More approvals which therefore minimises product variation and inventory values.           
  • Calculable service life in the planning phase thanks to numerous online tools
  • A suitable alternative for every application thanks to up to 7 different product types

The bottom line is, as the customer, you are in control. You need to do what is best for your application and machine to ensure you get the best performance. This is not always using the manufacturer’s parts, therefore, don’t feel obliged that you must do this. igus® can help.

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Port energy supply; what are the challenges with this?

port energy supply

At igus® we look at specialised port energy supply systems for providing vessels with power. We aim to offer a solution that can not only reduce air pollution and noise but also increases confidence in the system. To ensure consistency with everything that relates to the ports, there is an international standard for shore power connections. This is for all different types of vessels. This is for any port worldwide. As well as consistency this ensures compatibility. Power can always be reached at the shore no matter what the vessel.  This international standard is the IEC 80005-1. This defines the standard for medium-voltage connections and IEC 80005-3 for supply of low-voltage connections.

Over the last few years, ports are finding themselves confronted with an increased public awareness of environmental issues. This is in regard to technologies, resources and energy supplies. To top it off, the government has implemented stricter guidelines on ports to ensure they are complying.

The connection dilemma

Every port is unique! Yet it is imperative that despite this, all vessels have compliant shore power connections within the highly dynamic port environment. It is also essential that they do not restrict the operation of the port.

There are many variables to be considered at each port:  different tides, different berthing vessel positions and sizes. Also terminal design and equipment vary from port to port, terminal to terminal and vessel to vessel. Ports do not have “down days” and every single day they handle different ships of different sizes with different loading requirements. These are also moored in different locations with different shore power supply requirements. Therefore, the structure and stability of power connections has to be efficient, reliable, space saving, manoeuvrable and long lasting.

Challenges within the port energy supply and onboard the vessels.

The number of challenges in this environment is ever increasing. This has a knock-on effect on the handling capacity at the dock.  Flexible planning of the docking positions for the daily changing vessels is essential. This is where igus® cable management systems come into their own.

Another main challenge comes from stipulations within the international standard. For container shipping, the IEC 80005-1 standard stipulates that the cable guidance system must be installed on the ship. So, what is the challenge here? The weather that ships have to withstand, means the cables and management system also have to be able to cope with the extreme conditions.
Not only that, the cable management system on board the various vessels can be located in various places. This combined with the maximum extension length being limited to between 35-55 metres, can be an issue in locating the nearest stationary shore power connections.

How can igus® help with one of the most important energy sources at the port?

source port energy supply

There is a rising demand for LNG (liquified natural gas) so there is no surprise that new LNG terminals are being developed. These are large production facilities with limited access due to their location. They are also extremely hazardous. 

All installed systems must therefore not only withstand harsh weather conditions but require low-maintenance or need to be completely maintenance-free.
This brings very different parameters and challenges. For small and medium-sized offshore or nearshore terminals, floating storage units (FSU) are used to store the liquefied natural gas. It is then  regasified and transmitted via pipelines.
There can be large distances between jetty and FSU/FSRU of 30m or more. These require protection of the cables against wind, compensation for movements due to tides, wind and waves and implementation of emergency mechanisms. So, how do igus® products cope with such conditions?

The igus® solution for port energy supply

To overcome the challenges faced, igus® has developed special energy chains for applications for these demanding environments. This is our i-MSPO (igus® Mobile Shore Power Outlet) for container and cruise vessels.  This product gives the terminal operator full flexibility along the entire berth with no dead spots. And it doesn’t matter what type of size of vessel.

For other applications such as LNG, FSU and offshore terminals we also have our e-loop. This combines the advantages of a plastic modular high-performance polymer energy chain with those of a polymer rope with high tensile strength. The tensile forces are absorbed by the special rope and passed through the mounting brackets into the support structure

 These energy chains not only guide the cables safely and reliably but can do so with guarantees. This therefore continues to aid in port energy supply.

Do you have any questions about igus® energy chains? Visit our frequently asked questions to find out more here!

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Bar stock material – what’s new at igus®?

Every year igus® releases new products, new materials, new innovations. 2021 is no different. This year there is a strong focus on the food and beverage industry including, new bar stock material.

This industry is huge worldwide and increasing the range of materials that we can offer in plate and rod form, allows us to machine even more custom bespoke parts.

So, what’s new in bar stock material?

iglidur® A250 round bar stock material-

A250 bar stock material

iglidur® A250, as far as the material goes, is not brand new this year. We introduced this material last year as knife edge rollers. However, the demand for bespoke parts was vast, so we started producing the material in the form of solid bar.

This material is FDA and EU10/2011 compliant, bright blue in colour, offers a high running performance and as with all the igus® materials, is environmentally friendly…. No lubrication is required.

iglidur® AC500 round bar stock material-

AC500 bar stock material

The iglidur® AC500 has been created as a further development of the iglidur® C500 that has been around for many years. The AC500 benefits from the high chemical resistance of the C500 and the excellent coefficient of friction and wear. This combined with the blue additive changes this whole material. The AC500 has the added benefit of being FDA compliant and thanks to the addition of the colour, it now has optical detection.

iglidur® AD500 Plate

AD500 plates

This new plate has become the boss of materials. It has all of the high-performance qualities of our iglidur® A500 material but is now blue, making it even more ideal for the food and packaging industry. It currently comes in two thicknesses, 6mm and 10mm allowing us to be able to machine a multitude of custom parts for any application.

iglidur® ESD tribo- tape –

ESD tribo tape

This newest addition to the tribo-tape family may look like the B160 tape, however, it is not, it has far superior qualities to that of the humble B160. This electrostatic dissipative tribo- tape is perfect for applications where ESD specifications are required. Being able to transfer the technology that we have used for other ESD products into the tribo- tape has made this already versatile product even more versatile. This tape will be able to prevent damage to components by diffusing the electrostatic discharge which builds up with machinery.

A side note; the adhesive is not ESD compliant, so the tape will need to have mechanical fixings in at least 2 places to ensure that the charge is dissipated correctly.

Expanding the bar stock materials was an easy decision for us this year. Small tweaks to existing materials have allowed us to help customers with solutions after being given the problem.

This is what we do. We listen and react in order to help our customers!

Have more questions about bar stock or materials? Find our frequently asked questions here!

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How are plastic gears made? igus® gives an insight

How are plastic gears made?

How are plastic gears made? Gears literally drive the world! No pun intended. It is true!

This blog is looking at the different forms of manufacturing that igus® now offer for gear production:

igus® now offers these different forms of manufacture to open more avenues and applications into incorporating polymer gears. I shall look at each manufacturing method, give some key points to each.

How are plastic gears made? Injection-moulded gears

Injection-moulded gears

Injection moulding is the newest method of manufacturing gears at igus®. Using the iglidur® properties of our materials opens more doors.

We have standard dimensions available in a variety of designs. Using iglidur® materials means that the gears will have low coefficient of friction and are wear resistant. These are all key requirements for gears!!

By injection moulding the gears, which is our expertise, we can offer high-volume production parts at low costs.

If you require prototypes for a concept idea and perhaps the requirements are outside the parameters of the standard dimensions, we have other options….

Have more questions similar to how are plastic gears made? Read our frequently asked questions here

Mechanically manufactured gears

Mechanically manufactured gears

By machining our iglidur® plastic rod, we have the option of manufacturing bespoke gears. Machining stock material is economically efficient for small to medium-sized quantities. Furthermore, we cater for environments, such as the food & packaging, automotive and labelling can be catered for.

3D printed gears

3D printed gears

3D printing is quick, durable, adaptable and easy! With no minimum order and a turnaround of approx. 3-4 working days these are ideal for prototypes. Or even production volumes. As with many of our products, we offer a CAD configurator. This can be found on the website. You can simply drag and drop the CAD into the website for an instant price. As with all igus® materials, the 3D printing materials have excellent wear properties. Often proving to outperform more traditional materials within gear manufacture.

Having a range of options for producing these polymer gears, allows us to cater for everyone’s needs. With years of knowledge and thousands of hours of research in the test laboratory, polymer gears are fast becoming a standard igus® product for our customers. In conclusion, there is uncertainty around the concept of a “plastic gear”. This however given time this will fade. Technology is moving rapidly, are you willing to be left behind? Or are you going to consider plastic gears?

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Recycle plastic energy chains with igus®

recycle plastic energy chains

Everyone is aware of the term “recycling” and hopefully most of you reading this blog do it! But how many of you are aware, that at igus® we can recycle plastic energy chains? And not just igus® energy chains! ANY energy chains!!

The chainge programme

We launched the “chainge” programme a few years ago, piloting it at our headquarters in Germany.  But recently, the UK has been trying to do things more independently. As a company we wanted to contribute towards the worldwide reduction of plastic waste and by recycling plastics that we produce, we could do just that. 

chainge recycle programme

Looking at a local company was mainly down to the carbon footprint that sending chains back to Germany created, so we decided to venture out and investigate if we could partner up with a UK local recycling firm.

We were lucky enough to find such a firm! This has allowed us to take smaller volumes of energy chains and have them recycled into plastic granules, which can be manufactured into other things. Things such as automotive trim components.

Read more about igus® and sustainability here: blog.igus.co.uk/can-igus-become-part-of-the-circular-economy/

But how does it work?

Every energy chain eventually comes to the end of its life! Even an igus® energy chain and rather than dispose of it into landfill, we accept the chain back in a clean condition. We then send it to our local recycling plant. Here they will separate the plastics and ensure that each plastic is properly re-granulated into recycled plastics and is given a new lease of life!

Why should I recycle plastic chains, what‘s in it for me?

igus voucher

Now, I am sure that as a human with a conscience, you will look at a scheme like this and see all the benefits that it brings. Benefits such as reducing industrial waste in landfill, recycling something of no use and creating something new and useful. Helping us as a race to improve the waste crisis we are faced with, is one of the most important issues of the century.

But, if this is not enough of an incentive, igus® will give you a voucher for the returned energy chain.  It is calculated based on weight and there are a few stipulations to this:

  1. The chain must be cleaned and by cleaned we mean dirt to be removed with a high-pressure cleaner. If it has been submerged in oil, then we cannot recycle it.  
  2. Weigh the energy chain and complete this form https://recycling.igus.com/en-gb/energy-chain-recycling-contact
  3. Package the chain up and send it back to us.
  4. Once we receive the chain and we have checked it conforms to the requirements, we will raise a voucher for the value agreed and email it to you to use on future orders.

It is that simple. For the sake of a few minutes of cleaning the energy chain and packaging it up, not only have you been kind to the planet by reducing the landfill volume, you have made some money back from a product you were going to throw in the bin.

Please help igus® recycle plastic chains and give them renewed lives. Help contribute towards making the planet cleaner and remember, we accept ALL manufacturers energy chains, not just igus® ones.

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What is the delta robot price? Will it cost a fortune?

When you are looking for delta robot prices, you ask, “will it cost a fortune?”

The world of robotics increases every second. Bigger, better and more precise robots are released into our world, and we collaborate with them without a second thought. It is simply the way the world is evolving.

If you deconstruct a delta robot and look at the components used to build it, they are relatively simple. They can also be relatively low cost! Well, that is when you consider the igus® delta robot!

delta robot price

How has igus® made the delta robot price affordable?

As with all igus® products, the delta robot is:

  • Lubrication-free,
  • available as a self-assembly modular kit,
  • many parts are made from aluminium or plastic,
  • It uses many igus® standard products
  • We have a small version with a working envelope of 330mm and large version with a 660mm envelope

Utilising standard products has enabled us to produce the delta robot price at a cost-effective £5,000, as opposed to £20,000, which many other deltas retail at.  

Is it robust enough for tough environments?

low cost delta robot

Being a low-cost delta takes nothing away from its ability to cope with what the expensive robots can!

We recently did an event with the delta robot in an agricultural environment. You can read about that blog here https://blog.igus.co.uk/non-chemical-weeding-robot/

Even though they are made using igus® polymer bearings, these low-cost delta robots are even more ideal for applications where the surroundings are dirty or dusty. igus® products are lubrication-free so the dirt doesn’t stick to them.

How can a low-cost delta robot help the environment?

There is also the environmental element of not using lubrication. The more expensive metal robots will require regular maintenance, lubrication and will hit your wallet harder than if you invested in the low-cost, no-lubrication version, the igus® delta robot!

The polymer components can be recycled and re-granulated if you ever need to replace them. Which again goes towards helping the carbon footprint.

Back to the question, “Do you need to spend a fortune on a delta robot?”  Obviously, this will depend on the application. However, for applications where it needs to perform repetitive, low-skill duties, then this modular pick & place robot is the one for you. So, the answer really is no, you do not need to spend a fortune on a delta robot.

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Which is the best solution for your SCARA robot?

What is a SCARA robot?

SCARA is a type of industrial robot which is becoming increasingly popular for use in small robotic assembly applications. There are two acronyms for these robots; Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm or Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm.

The SCARA consists of two arm joints, interlinked at the base, known as a parallel-axis joint layout. One of the arms is compliant in the X-Y direction but rigid in the ‘Z’ direction and this is advantageous for many types of assembly operations. Operations where the footprint needs to be smaller than that of Deltas or Cartesians.

scara robot

Similar to a human arm, the SCARA has a jointed two-link arm layout which is why it is often referred to as an “Articulated” arm. This feature allows the arm to extend and retract into confined areas. This is advantageous for process applications, where you need to transfer, load and unload parts from one cell to another.

SCARAs are generally one of the faster robot systems. Their single pedestal mount requires a small footprint, and given that many of the applications for these robots would be pick and place, they are ideal.  You will also see SCARAs used where high speed and accuracy are required. Despite this, they are not designed to be capable of high payloads so this needs to be considered. Another factor is SCARAs can also be more expensive than comparable Cartesian systems. Furthermore, the controlling software requires an in-depth knowledge of the kinematics that go into programming.

What can igus® offer?

igus® has just released a version of a SCARA robot! This is brand new and more will follow on this but this blog is to look at the cable management options.

Read about how to prevent breakdowns with igus® cable management here.

In relation to cable management, we have 3 different options which we shall refer to as:  

  • Basic
  • Better
  • Best

Basic

corrugated hose

The basic solution is a corrugated hose with connector option. This comes in various sizes and has excellent temperature range capabilities from -50°C to +95°C. These hoses are extremely flexible and are used in a wide range of applications.

Better

The better option is the above corrugated hose with connectors, fitted with the igus® e-rib Solution. The e-rib is a reinforcement for corrugated tube systems. This stabilises the hose ensuring it only moves in one direction. Here are some advantages summarised:

The  e-rib for scara robots
  • Little installation space required
  • Can be easily retrofitted
  • Independent of hose manufacturer
  • Stability prevents unintentional sideways movement
  • No detrimental change to the impermeability of the corrugated hose
  • Three sizes for nominal hose widths NW23, NW29 and NW36

Best

Finally, what we consider to be the best option, consisting of all of the above elements but with optimised connectors. igus® specifically developed the e-rib for corrugated tube reinforcement, combined with igus® rotary bearings at either end. This was to provide a long-lasting, protective cable and hose solution

 SCARA cable

The complete SCARA cable solution consists of 3 elements. These elements match the respective SCARA robot or are adapted to suit it.  

  1. Rotary bearing, moving end.
  2. Rotary bearing, fixed end.
  3. Corrugated hose with e-rib.

We have been supplying SCARA cable solutions for years and have done extensive testing on the various suitable options.

If you have a SCARA application that requires cable management, please get in touch!

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What makes igus® parts ideal in an agricultural weeding robot?

The world’s first non-chemical weeding robot for cereal crops, made by agri-tech start up Small Robot Company, has successfully identified and killed weeds at a field trial in Hampshire. The wheeled robot uses igus® delta robot arms to position a “zapper” and deploy ‘lightning strikes’ to kill weeds. Delta robot arms from igus® were selected for their precision, low-cost and lubrication-free engineering. The weed killing robot, called “Dick”, works in concert with a monitoring robot, “Tom”. Tom identifies weed patches then kills individual plants with a zapper device.

Working together

Small Robot Company with key partners igus and RootWave have demonstrated the world’s-first self-driving robot that can identify and kill weeds with a specialised “zapper” device using electricity.

It is the world’s first non-chemical robotic weeding robot that can destroy weeds at an individual plant level. This makes it an exciting, low impact technology for farming where the currently necessary blanket spraying of herbicides involves costly wastage. It also has a detrimental impact on the environment.  In addition, soil degradation from herbicides and soil compaction reduces crop yields.

The weed killing wheeled robot, called “Dick”, fitted with igus’s delta robot arms, successfully identified individual weeds using artificial intelligence (AI) and vision technology. The zapper end effector is supplied by RootWave. Small Robot Company (SRC) has developed three robot variants for farming applications – Tom, Dick and Harry.

Leading motion plastics company igus’s delta robot, used commonly in industry for pick-and-place operations, manoeuvres the zapper into place using an integrated motor and encoder. This is then linked to the Dick robot’s master controller. The three igus® delta arms fitted to each Dick can destroy weeds simultaneously.

Why were igus® products chosen for the weeding robot?

igus® was selected as the preferred delta robot manufacturer due to the light weight, precision and low cost element. Many competing delta robots cost up to £20,000 while the igus delta is about £5,000. It was developed at this price as part of igus’ Low-Cost Automation division for R&D applications.

Also at the event, the “Tom” monitoring robot uses proprietary Wilma artificial intelligence (AI) to scan the field for weed patches which it uses to define a path for “Dick” to follow. Dick is then dispatched. The Dick robot can now both identity specific weeds in a patch and kill them.

This two-robot approach demonstrates SRC’s “end-to-end service” model. This model uses multiple robots with AI working together to scan the field on a plant level then take action. Furthermore, SRC and igus® are looking to work on different actions. For example, where Tom and Dick could combine again for spot spraying, spot fertilizing or slug killing.

The igus® delta robot’s components and control system is key to the weeding robot’ killing operation. The ease of use and cost are paramount. The delta units are made from standard drylin® parts. This makes assembly easy and low cost.

Read more about robot and automation here.

Who controls the weeding robots?

Stepper motors are linked to controllers in the weeding robots. This helps position the delta robot directly over the weeds. The motors have encoders. This helps the delta know what position it is in, with good industrial protocols so they are easy to programme. The SRC’s robot’s, i.e. Dick’s, master controller and AI “speak” to the igus® motor controller to synchronise the robot’s position with the delta arm. This forms a closed loop monitoring system.

igus® Low-Cost automation engineer Angelos Bitivelias has worked with universities and industrial companies on delta robots. He brings the knowledge of how the igus® delta can be best modified for the weed killing application.

“The Dick robot moves to one side, a camera takes a photo of the weed, the AI identifies it as a weed. Then AI decides where to zap it,” says Angelos. “The kinematics of the delta makes it well suited to the end effector. The belt drive means the zapper is always parallel to the ground below.”

Lubrication-free weeding robot

An essential feature of the delta and igus® components is they are lubrication-free. Lubricated moving parts would potentially clog up with soil and water in a muddy field. However, this is not the case with the igus® dry running polymers.

Precision is also a strong feature. “The milestone we’ve hit is that we can now take action at the plant level,” says Andy Hall, head of prototyping, Small Robot Company. “Using artificial intelligence, the robots can recognize the weeds in the [camera] shot and target the robotic arm onto those weeds. At that point we can do anything we want. Our robotic platform incorporating the igus® arm could have many different technologies bolted on.”  

The affordability, precision, durability and reliability of the igus® delta robots are perfect for this and new agricultural applications, says Managing Director of igus® UK, Matthew Aldridge. “Because the delta is lightweight and low-cost it has opened up new opportunities for these robots to be used in mobile applications. This has proved a new technology in a harsh outdoor environment. Igus® is planning to work with SRC on new industrial applications”.

What’s next?

“To prove the power of per plant farming, we are focused on answering the biggest problem that farmers face at the moment, which is weeding,” comments Ben Scott-Robinson, CEO and co-founder, Small Robot Company. “We’ve now proved we can deliver per plant weeding: a world first. The focus for us now is being able to move forward to deliver this repeatedly, and at scale. This will be game-changing.”

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What are self-locking lead screws?

This blog is to try and give people a greater understanding of what a self-locking lead screws are. This hopefully will help you decide if this is something you need in your application.

Read how to identify the right lead screw for your application here: blog.igus.co.uk/identifying-the-right-leadscrew-nut-for-your-application/

Let’s start at the beginning; what does the term self-locking mean?

What does “self-locking” mean in conjunction with lead screw technology? And what are the differences between high helix threads and trapezoidal threads? Let’s see if we can explain it as simply as possible.

Self-locking means that the lead screw nut and lead screw cannot be moved without external force. It has to do with the pitch and coefficient of friction. The self-locking ability allows the user to eliminate a costly brake in many applications, predominantly when the application is in a vertical orientation.

Single-start trapezoidal lead screw drives are self-locking. This means that the flank angle and the sliding friction prevent the nut or lead screw from moving without outside forces being applied. As soon as the static friction is exceeded, the components are no longer self-locking. Multi-start trapezoidal lead screw drives have a “residual self-locking” feature; high helix lead screw drives do not.

self-locking lead screws

This GIF clearly shows that the pitch of the single-pitch trapezoidal lead screw is less than that of the high helix lead screw. The coefficient of friction of the two lead screw nuts is identical to those of the stainless-steel lead screws. As described above, the lower pitch means that the lead screw nut cannot move without external help.

Influences affecting self-locking lead screws

We need to look at whether or not the effect of self-locking lead screws can be externally influenced. For example, the coefficient of friction depends on correct combination of material, surface finish, lubrication and self-lubricating substances. Axial load and external influences also play a role in the efficiency and effectiveness of the lead screw and therefore need to be a consideration.

Using the correct lead screw drive is vital and it will always depends on the individual application. Here are some other examples of leadscrew applications https://www.igus.co.uk/info/lead-screw-units-applications-screw-drives

If you are unsure, please contact one of our experts!

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Is electrostatic discharge important in moving parts?

electrostatic discharge in plastic moving parts

Friction caused within machines is inevitable. But what is important is how you dissipate the static discharge. It can cause permanent damage to the product or machine if it is not removed. Components made of wear-resistant iglidur® polymers do not require additional lubrication. However, unlike their metallic counterparts, these polymers cannot dissipate the electrostatic discharge. How do we counteract and protect these components from irreversible damage? We need a controlled discharge. So, what is ESD and how do igus® products do this?

What distinguishes an electrostatic discharge material against standard materials?

Electrical discharge can be referred to as ESD (electrostatic discharge). The cause of an electrostatic discharge is the friction of two insulating materials against each other. In everyday life we encounter this physical act of getting static shocks when we walk over carpets with plastic shoes.

Within the igus® range, there are multiple products available in an ESD material. This ranges from energy chains, bearings and bar stock. All of these have antistatic specifications. But for this blog I am going to focus on the new 3D printing material.

For further information about the dangers that can be caused by antistatic polymers, you can read my blog: https://blog.igus.co.uk/atex-how-can-dust-cause-an-explosion/

iglidur® I8-ESD and its material properties

iglidur I-8 material

igus® has recently launched an ESD laser sintering material onto the market. The iglidur® I8-ESD material has been developed for specific applications. Applications where dissipative electrical material properties need to protect sensitive electronic components. This material and manufacturing method enables the additive production of prototypes, production parts and spare parts, All of which confirm to ESD specifications.

In addition to the static conductivity, iglidur® I8-ESD has a high abrasion resistance compared to a standard PA12 laser sintering material. This makes it stand out from the crowd and is ideal for all applications where electrostatic charges must be avoided.

The specifications:

  • Lubrication-free and maintenance-free
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Electrostatically dissipative (ESD)
  • Colour: black (solid)
  • Increased rigidity
  • Available as laser sintering powder or from the 3D printing service in 1-3 days

iglidur® I8-ESD as powder or print components

iglidur® I8-ESD is suitable for use within regular laser sintering machines. The material can be purchased as laser sintering powder and processed on standard equipment. For those customers who do not have their own laser sintering machine or only need a few parts from it, can order the components from the igus® 3D printing service – delivery takes 1-3 business days.

Electrostatic discharge must be dissipated correctly otherwise it can be extremely dangerous. It is important to keep safe and ensure the right materials are chosen for your application.  

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