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Bottle It Up!

Across the UK there are many companies that use various bottling machines which run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

What do these companies all have in common?

No company can afford downtime! Downtime can have massive financial implications for companies and individuals, and these issues can be highly frustrating if the root cause is found to be a failing polymer bearing. Something so small and seen as insignificant can wreak financial havoc if it fails.

In order to prevent the disruption caused by a breakdown, companies are turning to igus® to replace their failing polymer or metal parts with igus® materials. With the lifetime calculators, customers can predict the lifetime of the bearings, allowing confidence and peace of mind, which is vital. There are many areas within a bottling plant that igus® can help through the use of iglidur® homogenous polymers.

But what do we mean when we refer to a homogenous polymer?

Homogenous polymers are created “in the mix” before they are injection moulded or extruded. This blend is the perfect combination to create igus® materials.

This image shows the base polymers with the fibres and solid lubricants, magnified 200 times

These polymers consist of three major elements:

  1. First into the mix is the base polymer. This is the body of the material, the foundation on which all other elements are built on.
  2. Next is the fibres. These can differ between materials depending on the requirements of the application and material.
  3. And finally, the last component is the dry lubrication. This also changes across the materials to ensure that the desired outcome of the final product is achieved.

So, what are the advantages of using such polymers and why do you need them?

There are many advantages to producing materials with this method. One of the biggest advantages is that the dry lubricant is locked inside the polymer. This means that there is no seepage of the lubricant and there is no risk of the polymer drying out. This also means that the iglidur® polymers don’t require any external forms of lubrication. Dry running!

Where can this help in the bottling industry?

Due to the nature of iglidur® materials, it doesn’t matter what part of the bearing is being used as a surface, the customer is reassured that the material properties are present, creating an efficient running surface.  This allows igus® parts to be utilised in linear or rotary motions in various areas of bottling factories.

One of the predominant areas where igus® materials are used in this industry is on the carousel, where the guides run around a metal track to invert the bottles. These applications usually operate using spring loaded bearings on a shaft, to ensure that they have positive contact with the track at all times. When using igus® bearings, this allows smooth running on both the track and shaft that are in contact with the bearing, all without additional lubrication being required.

igus® has manufactured and tested a multitude of custom parts with great success within this industry. These have either been standard catalogue parts or have been machined from various materials, depending on the requirements of the application.

One live example, a customer required some parts machining in iglidur® A350. This material was identified as the most suitable, as there was a requirement for an FDA- approved material which was also high temperature and had high wear- resistant properties. Because of the material compound, replacing a bronze part with an igus® material was no problem. There are other materials that have been specifically used in bottling plants, such as J and J4, where a lower wearing part was replaced, and we were able to look at a more cost-effective material.

igus® has manufactured and tested a multitude of custom parts with great success within this industry. These have either been standard catalogue parts or have been machined from various materials, depending on the requirements of the application.

That’s the beauty of igus® materials, there is so many variations that the possibilities are endless. Industries remain needing confidence in their machines and production lines and igus® are on hand to help with solving the issues with solutions.

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