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Smart plastics

Igus has announced new technologies to enable Industry 4.0 applications – smart plastics. This evolution of its cable, energy chain and linear bearing products embeds intelligence into its motion plastics via the addition of sensing, monitoring and communications. Using smart plastics, customers can increase plant availability, maximise uptime and reduce costs through condition monitoring and predictive maintenance.

Igus motion plastics are already used extensively worldwide throughout industry and everyday life in moving applications. Its high-performance engineering plastics are self-lubricating and maintenance free, as well as being lighter, harder-wearing and more energy efficient than traditional materials. For dynamic applications, this results in more reliable and cost-effective solutions which also defy rain, salt and extreme temperatures, as well as being resistant to UV, oil and chemicals. Thanks to extensive testing in its 2,750m² test lab in Cologne, the largest facility of its kind in the world, Igus is able to accurately predict the service life of its motion plastics, offering reliability guarantees.

Smart plastics represent the next step for motion plastics: adding intelligence and networking to enable Industry 4.0 smart factories of the future via automated condition monitoring and predictive maintenance, improving reliability and reducing costs. Intelligent cables, energy chains and linear guides constantly monitor themselves, providing performance data and early warning of critical wear. isense encompasses a range of sensing te
chnologies and monitoring modules, while networking with the Igus Communication Module (icom) provides direct integration with the customer’s IT infrastructure or the Igus data cloud.

“Isense continuously monitors the service life of your e-chain, cable or linear guide via measurements and calculations using the parameters of your system,” says Matthew Aldridge, managing director, Igus. “These measurements are referenced against aggregated test data from the Igus test laboratory to reliably predict smooth functioning in real-world operation. Alerts are sent when measured values exceed thresholds, allowing timely maintenance or replacement.”

Data can also be optionally shared with the Igus data centre, opening up additional possibilities for customised service life calculation and optimisation of business processes, including maintenance commissioning, spare parts ordering and just-in-time delivery. In this way, electronic intelligence lowers maintenance costs even further and increases plant availability.

Igus

Igus is the largest producer of reinforced plastic energy chains and injection-moulded polymer bearings. The range of polymer bearings includes Iglidur plain, Igubal spherical and Drylin linear bearings. They offer an excellent price-to-life relationship and are developed under the toughest conditions. They are oil, maintenance and lubrication free, low wear, resistant to dirt and dust, corrosion free and simple to fit. Igus also has the data to precisely predict the lifetime of these bearings within a specific application.

Igus is the largest producer of reinforced plastic energy chains and injection-moulded polymer bearings. The range of polymer bearings includes Iglidur plain, Igubal spherical and Drylin linear bearings. They offer an excellent price-to-life relationship and are developed under the toughest conditions. They are oil, maintenance and lubrication free, low wear, resistant to dirt and dust, corrosion free and simple to fit. Igus also has the data to precisely predict the lifetime of these bearings within a specific application.

Energy chains are the umbilical cord of modern machines. They minimise downtime and protect, support and extend the service life of cables and hoses. The broad range incorporates more than 30,000 innovative, low-cost products. From the smallest ‘micro’ chain to the largest chain in the world, the E4.350, Igus energy chains are capable of long and short travel distances at high speeds in all axes.

Igus also has its own cable series, Chainflex, specially designed with energy chains in mind. They are highly flexible cables, offering a long service life and very small bending radii. A wide range is available, from small signal cables to large power cables, high-speed data cables and glass fibre-optic cables.

The company’s energy chains and Chainlflex cables can be delivered as a fully harnessed and pre-assembled Readychain system, cutting purchasing, warehousing and installation costs.

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