Smart plastics add intelligence to Industry 4.0

igus preview edit_tmbVisitors to the igus stand at Northern Manufacturing 2017 will see a wide range of cost-effective, lightweight and maintenance-free bearings and cable management systems for a variety of applications.

Predictive maintenance is the cornerstone of Industry 4.0 and the factory of tomorrow, says the company. Its smart plastics warn of potential failure in good time before unplanned and very costly downtimes occur. New and improved smart plastics will be on show this year, including the isense EC.RC, a new system for monitoring e-chains, the CF.Q module for the intelligent chainflex cables that customers are using today, and the intelligent iglidur PRT slewing ring bearings.

Injection-moulded, 3D-printed or machined from bar stock, engineers have a range of possibilities to obtain self-lubricating parts, such as gears or plain bearings quickly and cost-effectively. During the show, a new process for the production of 3D printed injection mould tools will be introduced. It allows engineers to solve difficult technical challenges quickly. The entire range of 50 iglidur high-performance plastics is available using the process, including specialists for high load, food contact, underwater or high temperature applications. Depending on the iglidur material chosen, the mould is either SLA or SLS printed and then used immediately in the injection-moulding machine. Parts are ready for shipment within days. The material structure of the printed injection mould ensures that it can withstand high temperatures during injection moulding, which means that one mould can produce prototypes and small batches up to 500 pieces cost-effectively and quickly.

Optimum use of installation space, light weight and high stability are benefits of the E4.1L lean energy chain (pictured). The weight saving, compared to the E4.1, saves drive power. The chain can also accommodate more hoses and cables in a given space envelope. It is available from stock in a choice of interior heights and widths. An ESD version of the open energy chain, and a high-temperature option are also available.

Team members will be available to take visitors through the benefits and potential applications of bearing products and cable management systems.

To find out more visit igus at Stand D44 or check out