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TX1 polymer bearings vs bronze bearings

TX1 polymer bearings

igus® polymer bearings have been produced in iglidur® materials for over 50 years. The standard range of moulded iglidur® bearings is extensive, however, not every requirement conforms to the standard range. So, igus® introduced stock materials. This allows customers to machine components that are outside the “standard” catalogue parameters.

But we didn’t stop there. The age-old argument was still floating around about whether plastic bearings can withstand the weight and pressure of metal bearings. Despite there being a selection of specially formulated materials to do just this, some people still needed convincing…..

So, we took it further and looked at new methods, new materials, new ideas.

iglidur® TX1 polymer bearings was born. Finally, a comparable material to take on bronze bearings!

The change was in the manufacturing process; from a moulded polymer bearing to a fibre wound composite bearing. This enabled an even stronger support material to be produced. The long fibres offer true stability. Having the same iglidur® technology means no lubrication is required. Solid lubricants are part of the bearing’s intricate makeup. This is what allows a maintenance-free and lubrication- free bearing.

Where would you use these TX1 polymer bearings?

composite polymer bearings

Industries such as agricultural, construction and wind power are industries that are already using the TX1 polymer bearings. They are perfect for applications such as rotor lock systems on wind turbines. The heavy-duty bearings can withstand the pressure on them, even up at the dizzy heights of the propellers. They can also cope with up to 200MPa static load and 140MPa dynamic, so despite being a polymer bearing, they can handle the forces required.

Easy replacement of bronze bearings, both on a dimensional and technical level in applications within agriculture, in farm machinery for example. These dirt- resistant composite bearings are ideal for applications where they are going to encounter extreme conditions. The specially formulated bearing is also media- resistant, again making it ideal for outdoor applications.

Read relevant blogs: www.blog.igus.co.uk/what-are-the-common-misconceptions-about-plastic-bearings/

Standard ‘in stock’ items?

These are an igus® stock item! We hold a range of different sizes in the UK and Germany. This product range grows every year with some weird and wonderful sizes to match, so if you can’t find what you want online, speak to the team! We can have these custom- made to the exact size you want, so if the standard range doesn’t fit your requirements, let us know.

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How can FDA bar stock material help your application?

FDA bar stock range

We are strong believers that not everything will fit into the conventional “standard” realms of products and having FDA bar stock material available in our iglidur® polymers allows the customer to be as creative as they desire. As a result, it allows customers from a large range of industries to have custom machined parts made for their applications.

The food industry is one of the biggest industries in the UK, so it is no surprise that at igus® we have a large range of food approved stock bar and stock plates available and in stock.

The variety of products that are used within the food industry is vast and any that are in direct contact with food products need to comply with FDA and EU-10/2011 regulations.

FDA is abbreviated from Food & Drug Administration and is the body responsible for protecting public health by regulating human and animal drugs, medical devices, tobacco products and cosmetics. The EU-10/2011 regulation is slightly different. These regulations are specifically for plastic materials in contact with food. It is a complex matter how all of the products in our range have been approved by the PMA and have full certification.   

What materials do igus® offer in the FDA bar stock range?

iglidur material

The key iglidur® materials are:

  • A160
  • A181
  • A180
  • A350
  • A500

All of the above are available in both plastic rod and stock plate except A181, this however is only available in round bar.

This allows us to cover the entire range of requirements: high temperature, high chemical resistance, low-cost, low moisture absorption and 3 of them are blue!

The main features for each material

A160 FDA bar stock

A160

This blue, low-cost material is perfect for applications where a high media resistance is required. It is lightweight, easy to machine and is compliant with EU regulation 10/2011 and is also FDA compliant. In bar form this material is available in 10mm diameter up to 100mm diameter. As standard it is available in metre lengths but can be cut to specific lengths. This is the same for all the materials. The plate comes in thicknesses of 10mm and 20mm.

A181 FDA bar stock material

A181 FDA bar stock

This material is comparable to iglidur® A180 in relation to its characteristics, however it is blue, similar to iglidur® A160. Again, this material  is compliant with both EU regulation 10/2011 and FDA.

A180 FDA bar stock material

A180 FDA bar stock

Our A180 material has one of the largest ranges of FDA- approved stock bar that we have. It comes in 10mm diameter right up to 100mm diameter and is also available in plate, 10mm and 20mm thick. The main difference with this material is that it is white. We machine this a lot for the food industry for aesthetics as opposed to the food contact element.

A350 FDA stock bar material

A350 FDA bar stock

The A350 material is one of the high- temperature materials. It is blue in colour, can withstand temperatures of +180°C and is highly resistant to chemicals as well. An added feature for this material is that not only does it have EU regulation 10/2011,it is also FDA- compliant and it complies with the fire prevention requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration of the USA (FAA) for aircraft interiors. Like the A180, the bar is available from 10mm up to 100mm diameter.

A500 FDA stock bar material

A500 FDA bar stock

This is the boss of the FDA materials. It withstands the highest temperatures (+250°C), is highly chemical resistant and is very hard wearing. This material has the same sizes available in bar form as A350.


As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, not everything conforms to the “norm.” Having materials available to machine weird and wonderful designs allows food lines to continue running without expediential expense. With the igus® food- approved materials, you have the confidence that the production line is keeping customers safe.

Watch the igus® product manager talk more about bar stock here.

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What are the main benefits of 3D Printed Grippers?

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is considered one of the biggest trends in industrial innovation. The vision of single batches becomes a reality, enabling the personalised series production of numerous products.

3D Printed Grippers

igus® has been supplying tribologically-optimised 3D printing filaments for the FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) process specifically for printing parts for 6 years. A year into the FDM service, igus® launched an SLS material. We have continued to develop and release materials ever since. Parts such as bearings, wear pads and more recently, mechanical grippers are a few examples of 3D printed components. The grippers are becoming increasing popular by demand.  They are used for attaching lids to jars and can have a very restricted, “closed/open” dexterity. A new designed gripper to match existing products can take weeks to design and manufacture and has high costs involved. Until now.

That’s why more and more customers are turning to 3D printing as a solution. Let’s look at the main benefits of 3d printed grippers.

The robust 3D printed polymer grippers are made of igus® tribo-filaments. These can be manufactured 85 per cent cheaper and 70 per cent faster than traditional machined aluminium parts. This is crucial for the high-volume packaging industry who are reaping the benefits of additive manufacturing. With accurate CAD data of the product, it is easy to manufacture wearing parts such as mechanical grippers using an additive process.

iglidur 3D printing filaments: 50 times more wear-resistant than standard materials

The igus® filaments are made from self-lubricating, high-performance iglidur® materials which are optimised for wear and friction.

Using iglidur® materials means almost every component of the gripper is flexible, and it can slide over surfaces like shafts and pins. Metallic gripper parts must be fitted with separate bearings or lubricated in the application, however, by using iglidur® materials this is eliminated.

3D Printed Grippers made from iglidur materials

Using 3D printed iglidur I150, enables companies to save up to 85 per cent of the cost and 70 per cent of the manufacturing time, compared to the previous aluminium grippers. The printed polymer grippers are also seven times lighter than conventional metal grippers. And compared to standard printable materials, igus® high-performance polymers are up to 50 times more wear-resistant and can be processed on virtually all standard 3D printers.

3D printed grippers suitable for Food & Packaging industry

Besides its ease of use, iglidur I150’s key feature is that it is compliant with EU Regulation 10/2011 for safe contact with food. With this certification, customers can also use the versatile tribo-filament to print special parts for moving applications in direct contact with foodstuffs, beverages and cosmetics.

In addition to iglidur I150, igus® offers five further filaments for printing low-friction, wear-resistant parts in a wide variety of applications. Designing and ordering your own 3D printed component is simple.

The request will either send a formal offer or an online order is placed. Using SLS printing, igus® can produce complex special parts very quickly up to a height of 300 millimetres; mechanical or casting technologies could only produce this using expensive tools.

Read the recent blog: blog.igus.co.uk/igus-in-the-food-industry-delicious

2K printing:

Although igus® are currently printing 3D printed grippers in 2 separate pieces and fixing together with a mechanical fix feature and an adhesive, there are ways of using a dual- headed printer to achieve the same result.

To assist you with a gripper enquiry, we need to have the step file or drawing of your part, and/or a physical example, and an idea of what materials to select; FDA, shore hardness information for the rubber.

If you have a component you want to 3D print, visit https://www.igus.co.uk/info/3d-printing-overview

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How are 3D printed parts used in real life applications

Using 3D printed parts as prototypes is ideal. However, it is an entirely different story having them in real life everyday applications.

Here are a couple of examples of igus® 3D printed parts being used in real life applications.

“To the rescue”- a spare part made in a 3D printer!

A customer recently contacted igus® to see if we could help.

3D printing within tractors

In one of their tractors the engine refused to start. It was established that a defective gear was responsible. The part needing to be replaced was damaged and therefore was not able to be scanned. So, an attempt was made to trace the broken spare part. And this was successful! The drawing was uploaded to the printing service as a STP file and iglidur® I6 was picked as the best material. This material has been especially developed for gears so it was the best material for the job. The printed component was ready within a few hours! Once again, the tractor was able to run perfectly!

Upgrade your pushchair with igus® 3D printed parts

Have you ever filled the car, ready for a weekend away with the children and realised that the pushchair will no longer fit? Luckily, nowadays the developers of the pushchair manufacturers designed pushchairs with removable tires. However this can cause an unpleasant surprise in the form of lubricated pins. In the best-case scenario, the lubricating oil only sticks to the hands, in the worst case to your clothes. So, first thought: Does that have to be lubricated? Tom Krause, Head of Additive Manufacturing, got to the bottom of the matter and clarified it. Check it out for yourself in this video.

Piano parts 3d Printed in iglidur® plastic

Piano 3D parts

When Phoenix Piano contacted igus® they were looking for an innovative material that met the requirements for upgrading he grand piano. They found igus®. Manufacturing the individual plastic parts in small amounts was no problem. By printing the plastic parts in 3D, the required amount of the suitable iglidur® filament could be delivered very quickly. The “D3D hammer system” was born. This system has all the advantages of the traditional system. The designers at Phoenix even expect the new system to have a longer service life for the grand piano as unwanted side effects are a thing of the past. The simple change from wood to plastic significantly reduced sensitivity to moisture and temperature. As a result, the ivory coloured components are very similar to the original material and go perfectly with the rest of the design concept.

3D printing for the automotive industry

3D printing in the automotive industry

A recent example of 3d printing for the automotive industry is the co-operation project OptiAMix, in which igus® participates in addition to other partners from research and development. The project is about developing an adjustable rear spoiler that supports the motor vehicle’s driving dynamics with different adjustments, depending on the situation.

One significant advantage of 3D printing is the great design freedom when designing the parts. Complicated geometries can be quickly identified, with design modifications carried out “overnight”. This results in a large potential for lightweight technology and supports efficient design and the reduction of vehicle emissions.

This is precisely what makes 3D printed parts so attractive for design engineers in the automotive industry. With igus® you can produce parts in 3d printed materials easily with no minimum order quantity. Furthermore, there is a large variety of materials that can be used with wear parts printed in 3D.

Automatic cup table adjustment for fully automatic coffee machines

igus®‘ task was to develop a concept for a motorized cup table with sensor-controlled height adjustment.

coffee machine 3D parts

The plan was to make this motion motorised as apposed to by hand. The sensors should detect the height of transparent and opaque cups and the motor should be controlled with the help of software until the specified distance is reached.

Our solution was is to drive the system by a motor with a 3D-printed spindle. After revising and improving the concept, we commissioned the 3D printing service for all components of the “crossbeam – spindle” concept.

Read more blogs about 3D printing here.

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Why is it important to use underwater cables?

Underwater cables are essential for certain applications and the type of cable required will depend on the application. Some cables must meet very special requirements or withstand certain external factors, such as being submerged under water. There are considerations to be thought of when looking at putting cables under water. What problems can arise for cables used in underwater applications? What solutions could we approach for these problems?

This blog hopefully will help concrete things you thought you knew about underwater cables and may even identify things you didn’t……

Underwater cables: fact or fiction?

Fictionigus® cables are perfectly suited to deepwater applications.  

Fact chainflex® cables are not ideal for applications permanently submerged in water hundreds of meters below the oceans surface. However for temporary submersion in the dynamic applications they could be the perfect solution.

So, if the chainflex® cables are restricted slightly to certain applications, how do you ensure the cables are waterproof?

Add a waterproof jacket

Cables that are used under water must be able to achieve several different things. Underwater pressure increases with depth and cables used underwater are subjected to this pressure. Therefore, the most important condition is that the cables used can withstand the prevailing pressure.

How do we do that? By giving them a waterproof jacket!

The normally extruded jacket material such as PVC, PUR and TPE, are too porous and over time, would take on water. This again is down to the pressure. This causes it not only to swell, but also to become softer, therefore no longer guaranteeing the cables protection.

The result is that water slowly penetrates the cable’s interior. Worst case scenario is that the cable’s insulation could become damaged leading to short circuiting and failure of the entire system.

How does the industry waterproof cables?

waterproof cables

This ingress of moisture through a cable’s outer jacket is called transverse ingress.

When transverse ingress occurs, moisture spreads lengthwise within the cable. This is known as the capillary effect. The liquid is continually pressed further through the small gaps and cavities in the cable.

To avoid this, we need to waterproof the cable. How is this achieved?

A substance, such as non-woven fabric is inserted under the outer jacket. These fabrics swell upon contact with water, preventing moisture from spreading inside the cable. Underwater cable use requires materials that are permanently sealed. A cable’s outer jacket can be sealed by such means as using a rubber mixture. The swelling substances mentioned above are also used under the jacket.

Find out more about how igus® chainflex® cables are made here.

What industries need underwater cables?

This type of cable is used in a worldwide network of cables, thus contributing to networking the entire world. However, the maritime industry is one of the most popular industries with underwater cable requirements.

Why doesn’t igus® do this with chainflex®?

igus® Chainflex® cables are designed for continuous operations installed inside energy chain systems. The structure/ materials required for water impervious cables, whist excellent for underwater submersion, are not suitable for this style of operation. Therefore, to achieve our long lasting lifetime in energy chains performance, we can not manufacture to underwater standards.

So igus® doesn’t have cables installed in underwater applications ?

Yes we do! Whilst out cables are not rated for underwater applications we have many examples worldwide where our products are used in this manner. Primarily for temporary immersion applications, both our PUR and TPE jacket materials provide the perfect blend of dynamic performance and temporary water resistance.

Companies working in the maritime environment require highly dynamic applications for operations at sea, however this doesn’t mean fully submerged applications. The igus® chainflex® cables are primarily suitable for applications with low or periodic water influence and not for continuous use deep under water. The reason for this, is that we must ensure the materials’ abrasion resistance and we cannot do this with rubber-like outer jackets.

If you require a cable to be permanently or temporarily submerged under water, contact our expert.

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How to construct and assemble a spindle motor.

How do you construct and assemble a spindle motor? igus® is a well-known manufacturer of technical plastics, and this is established in the minds of the mechanical engineering world. With over 10,000 core products, igus® is continually developing new products. One of them is the spindle motor which, as the name suggests, consists of a spindle, a stepper motor and a nut ! It was easier to market as a spindle motor! One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to this product is “How easy is it to construct and assemble a spindle motor?“

So, let’s look at how easy it is!

What is a spindle motor?

spindle motor

In its simplest form, an igus® spindle motor consists of a spindle, a driven nut and a motor.

These motors are specially designed to accept axial forces. We have combined our spindles with motors that can withstand the loads and speeds of various applications. Our NEMA23 spindle motor can, for example, take up 500 N axially. Some conventional stepper motors would be damaged by this axial load.

The spindle motor system is constructed with hollow shaft, acting as a holder for our spindles. This allows the system to be assembled and correctly fixed.  This connection is so strong that it can only be released with a special tool and a specially developed process.

The motor can also be equipped with an encoder and/or an industrial M8 connector. The spindle is also specially machined for this motor so that the thread starts directly from the motor flange. There is therefore no loss of stroke. We also have options to modify spindles to suit customers design at the opposite end of the motor.

Find the right spindle.

This is easier than you may think.

If you have the basic information for your application, such as load, speed, orientation and any specific environmental considerations that could have an effect on the products, the spindle can be easily specified. Once this information has been input, our configurator can advise on the most appropriate spindle for the exact task. This will also advise you of the correct nut for the application. Simple.

Based on the above spindle nut selection we can ascertain the right spindle motor combination for the torque and speed required for the application.


Looking at the big picture.

As mentioned earlier, environmental factors and application parameters are essential in order to ensure the correct system is selected.

spindle motor applications

Depending on the application, the environment of the machine will determine if there are any specifics required for the system. Chemical washdowns, extreme temperatures and high loads are aspects that will affect the system, so certain elements might need to be tweaked to ensure they are fit for purpose. 

Just a side note, there are many variations of how spindle motors are referred to, such as leadscrew motors and linear actuators but essentially, they are all similar products.


It’s time to assemble a spindle motor.

Once a system has been selected from the configurator and it has been ordered, that’s it! It comes assembled so mounting inside the machine really is simple!! So in answer to the question “How easy is it to construct and assemble a spindle motor?” The answer is really easy!

If you are interested in further information on our spindle motor range, please get in touch!

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igus® protecting our shores through binoculars

Last year, I had the pleasure of supplying the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) with bearings for binoculars at the St Albans station.

coastal binoculars

The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) is responsible for protecting the UK’s coastlines 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This was staffed physically in 1970, however, in the early 1990’s, the majority became automated.

The remaining watch stations are operated and manned by 2,500 volunteers. These volunteers are the “eyes” of the coast. They aid the coastguards by spotting distress flares, overturned vessels or boats in trouble. Each of the stations must stand on its own merit as a voluntary organisation. Unfortunately, they receive no funding, relying on contributions.

Bearings in binoculars

An NCI volunteer, Martin Seedall, made the initial contact with igus® after using igus® products for many years in other job roles. I established that the iglidur® G range would be ideal for this particular job after identifying the application information. The binocular mounting system is fixed indoors. It is safe from the environmental elements however it was still important to use the best materials possible for the system. The binoculars weigh over 9kg and are 650mm long. Not only that, they are expensive. Therefore it was essential that the mounting system was designed with the following things;

  • High precision
  • A small amount of friction
  • Quiet running

igus® polymer bearings were chosen as opposed to sinter bearings or glacier bearings thanks to these key features.

binocular mounting system

The small bearings sit inside the newly designed mount for the binoculars. After talking to Martin it became clear that the NCI relies on donations and contributions. Therefore I sent the 4 bearings as samples. I felt this was a small contribution to help keep the UK coastlines safe.

A few weeks later I received an email from Martin thanking me for the bearings. I also received a photo of the bearings in the new mount and a plaque. This was to acknowledge the companies that had helped contribute towards achieving its completion.

The igus® bearings can be tiny and underestimated but it is projects like this that igus® loves! Something that one person sees as insignificant can be very significant to someone else. This is true for all igus® products. People can overlook the importance of polymer bearings, energy chains and rod ends. However with igus® tribo-polymer materials, it may be exactly what you are looking for.

Read more about igus® polymer bearings here.

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Did you know igus® offers project planning?

Not many customers know that igus® offers project planning. It is something that we have always offered as a “complete package” solution. It is not something that everyone needs, or at least thinks they need but it can save issues down the road if a partnership between ourselves and the customer is established at the beginning of a project.

Mark Smith, Head of Engineering Projects at igus® in the UK gives a little insight into what igus® can offer.

How is the igus® engineering & project planning division helping industries of today

Having been in the cable management industry for 50 years, igus® has evolved into more than just a manufacturer.  We are also problem solvers, consultants and application and industry experts. With our expertise, we can analyse a customer’s application, understand their needs and offer a reliable solution. Whether that be a new design, a retrofit of either an existing energy chain application or switching out alternative technology. This could be a cable reel, busbar, festoon or slip ring. Whatever the system, igus® can provide a cable management solution to suit a customer’s need.

In terms of service, what does igus® bring to the table within project planning? 

We see ourselves standing alone in terms of what a supplier like us can offer.  Not only do we manufacture complete energy chain systems, but we can closely examine, assess and appraise existing systems. We are then able to design and offer a more reliable or suitable alternative. This comes from using our experience in designing, application knowledge, project planning and industry expertise.

So, you are a design house?  

design applications with project planning

In part, yes.  It is our goal to ensure that the parts have been correctly designed into the application and also correctly installed. In the case of retrofits, we carry out the full design. This information can be drawn from various sources, such as customer drawings, on-site testing and measurement taking. This then follows onto design review, approval, manufacturing, QC and shipping.  

This is accompanied with all the information required to assist with a successful installation on site, whether we are involved with this part of the project planning or not.  We produce a General Arrangement drawing of not just our system but how our system looks on the machine. This comes in the form of a full drawing pack, complete with full BOM information, individual component details, assembly details and installation and testing guidance.  The benefit to both ourselves and the customer is that by following this process, the chances of overall success of the project are very high.

What about new designs? 

Our service is not limited to retrofits and designs for existing applications.  In the case of new machine designs, we find our best success when we work with the customer from the earliest point in the design.  If this is not possible, then this can add risk to the project by compromising the final system, which if had involved us, earlier could have been avoided.  We always seek to be an integrated partner rather than just a parts supplier.

Tell me more about the project management aspect of your work?  

There are many aspects to running a successful project.  Our approach to the more complex of these has just been a gradual evolution of our experience.  In the last few years, we have adopted many of the principles of the standards set out in established systems such as PRINCE2.  We found that we already used many of these principles without even realising.   Adopting these methods has helped us evolve into the integrated partner to our customers.

If somebody has an existing cable management problem, what do you offer?  

A customer isn’t always aware that they need us – through our pro-active work, we often highlight something where we feel we can help improve reliability or save money or both!

For example, a customer might think that replacing a festoon every 6 months is just historically what happens. We mention that they can have a maintenance -free, long- life system from us through understanding the company, their processes and the application.  Once we have established the problem, we can start working on offering a solution. 

Read our detailed blog on igus® energy chains versus festoons here.

What on-site capabilities do you have?

On-site project planning

We work in a very diverse range of sites – ranging from factory environments, nuclear sites, shipyards, ports, CDM- controlled construction sites and COMAH top tier sites.  Planning is crucial and we plan everything where permitted including all SSOW, special access and lifting equipment. We ensure we have all necessary lift plans and procedures in place and are well versed in getting any project or site- specific paperwork in order for our on-site teams. This ranges from: criminal record checks, SQEP documentation and competency information, medical checks, health & safety documentation, such as IPAF licences, working at height, rescue from height training & confined space, with a few of us now issued with BOSIET certificates for working offshore. 

What information do you need to work with for project planning? 

The data we need to establish a working proposal can be quite significant.  The more high-quality information that we receive, the more informed we are and the more accurate our offer can be. Subsequently, the project delivery phase becomes more efficient.  We place a strong emphasis on obtaining highly accurate data.  Some of this can be done remotely via a video link, especially on new designs. Drawings and specification documents can be shared digitally but in terms of retrofit work, we always prefer to visit site.

Do you have questions about igus®? Read our frequently asked questions here.

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Meet igus® Product Manager Dean Aylott

Product Manager, Dean Aylott igus UK recently celebrated 10 years with the company and to commemorate this milestone, he took to the HotSeat with PlastikCity, the dedicated procurement portal for the UK & IE plastics sector …

Q: What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics?  How will igus respond?

Dean Aylott

Prior to 2020, I think the future of UK plastics was threefold. Despite the Covid-19 damages to the UK economy, I think those points are just as strong and possibly even stronger.

Our customers want technical plastics to solve arduous applications in their equipment, whether they are an OEM or simply trying to increase their maintenance intervals. They want better pricing and faster delivery, which, although difficult, can be achieved even when reshoring. Finally, I think the future of plastics will be pivotal in progress we make to cut climate change. “Not all plastic is bad” should be the message that we as an industry portray.

Single-use plastics are not great, but what about a plastic that removes the need for additional lubricant being dumped onto the planet? What about plastic which can reduce downtime and save overall energy costs? These are good plastics!

Of course, our business is built on moulding, machining and printing low-friction, wear-resistant materials for the purpose of bearings, and we continue to develop new and improved materials for those specific reasons. I often get told by our customers that we bring out materials for problems that they were unaware they had until now!

Q: Dean Aylott, how has igus developed during your tenure?

A very well-timed question, as I have recently celebrated my 10-year anniversary at igus and have given this some thought. I have been lucky enough to grow with igus, first in regional sales and then into a Product Management role now with a whole host of products under my umbrella.

As we bring out more and more new products, we have had to change our infrastructure. I couldn’t put a figure on the amount spent in the last 5 years alone as its all thanks to our MD in the UK, Matthew Aldridge. It has transformed our efficiency and professionalism, without detriment to our goals to solve technical problems deliver fantastic parts and great customer service in a timely manner.

If the infrastructure and software improvements were neglected, we would be forever making small mistakes despite best intentions.

The headcount had almost doubled since my start date, and the business growth justifies this.

Q: What do you credit as the key to your success?

I think it’s a mixture of the product and our people.

The products speak for themselves and by us still empowering our external team and enabling them to visit our customers and empathise with their issues we are able to work WITH those customers to use our products to solve their biggest problems.

I also think that the CEO and entrepreneur of igus, Frank Blase and the MD of igus UK, Matthew Aldridge have an amazing ability to see where the markets are going and as we head out of a year when Covid-19 has taken peoples jobs, business and in worst cases, their lives, I’ve found their ability to find calmer waters in rough seas impeccable.

Even in lower levels of the business, we are empowered and take a Marines-like mantra to ‘improvise, adapt and overcome.’

In the near future, we will be looking back on the last 12 months and appreciate that an example of this was a drive to go digital: no more notepads, no more unnecessary printing. Everything was going electronic, and we were using Microsoft teams for various functions before Covid-19. This software has meant that we can visit our customers virtually and provide that same level of understanding and empathy about their engineering problems when we, and often they were home-based.

Q: What advice do you wish you’d had on entering the industry and does that differ from the advice you would give to an apprentice joining now?

I studied music technology at University and found myself racing and tuning classic two-strokes before getting a ‘proper job’ at igus. Luckily, I have a BTEC L3 in Mechanical Engineering, which goes some way to back up the experience and understanding that I have but by no means defines me.

Experience is valuable, and I don’t think that you can rush that. We have a saying at igus‘it takes 20 years to get 20 years of experience,’ and fortunately, we have some very experienced people. I would urge apprentices or people that are new to the industry to shadow those that are successful but also be mindful that if you always do what you’ve always done, then you will always get what you’ve always got. Just be constructive in your suggestions

Contact Dean Aylott and all igus® product specialists here.

*Original article found here: https://www.plastikmedia.co.uk/hotseat-dean-aylott-igus-uk/

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How important is health and safety in the workplace?

Health and safety exists to protect workers. A simple statement. However in reality, it is more complicated.

The umbrella of “Health and Safety” is to keep staff safe, however, even with legislation such as the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 in place, workplace incidents occur, and the prevention of these incidents is paramount.  The legislation highlights the generic principles of health and safety in the workplace. These principles must be followed by the employer to ensure that all possible measures are put in place to prevent or reduce risks in the workplace environment; it is the employer’s duty.

Even in a pandemic, with many of us working from home, employers have a duty of care to ensure that the workspaces for their employees are safe and secure and adhere to the legislation.  

In 2019/2020, over 693,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries in the workplace. Over 168,000 were off work for over 7 working days and 30% of the reported incidents were down to slips, trips or falls.

Which igus® products can help with health and safety in the workplace?

Many igus® products can help with safety aspects in working environments, especially areas such as factories, production plants and warehouses.

One of the newest products that would prevent trip hazards is the new e-spool® flex 2.0.

e-spool cable reel drum

One example of how this product could prevent occupational hazards is for a programmer taking a teach panel from a holder on the machine. Ordinarily, they would drag the cable along behind them, which would potentially remain on the floor. The cable represents a trip hazard. If it is run over by industrial vehicles it could get damaged. Situations such as these can shut down entire production lines or even the plant itself, costing a lot of time and money.

With the e-spool® flex, the cable reel allows cables to be guided from start to end without slip rings or other connecting elements. This is made possible by a spiral guide which reels the cable in a controlled manner when it is rolled up. There are no loose cables thanks to the cable being retracted. Therefore no hazard.

How can industry 4.0 intelligence help?

smart plastics within health and safety

If technology could inform of wear before it became detrimental and damaging to a machine, it would prevent people having to inspect for wear in a dangerous manner. That’s precisely what igus® Smart plastics do. The in-built technology determines when the part is showing signs of wear and alerts the control box. Customers can then schedule maintenance at a suitable time and can safely ensure that the machine is on scheduled downtime. All safely from ground level.

Find out how igus® Smart plastics can help save you time and money: https://blog.igus.co.uk/igus-industry-4-0-products-can-help-you-save-time-money/

Every company and employer has a duty of care to protect their staff. If you spot a cable lying around or something is broken, there will be solutions that can help prevent injuries.

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