Igus is launching a new speedigus service to provide custom moulded plain bearings in iglidur materials, with shipping in as little as 24 hours from receipt of order. There are no minimum order quantities, so the speedigus process can be cost-effective for prototype components, low volumes and to support the ramp-up of production while single- or multi-cavity hardened steel tooling is being manufactured. Designers of machinery for packaging or pharmaceutical production, for example, will find the service offers significant advantages over conventional moulding or machining processes, rapid prototyping/manufacturing processes, or being restricted to using standard components in a compromised design.
The key features of the speedigus service are:
- The use of igus iglidur long-life, low-friction, dry-running bearing materials
- CNC-machined aluminium mould tools
- Sophisticated computer-aided manufacturing systems
- Rapid quotations (typically within two hours)
- Rapid delivery
While iglidur materials offer exceptional properties, the blend of polymer, fibre reinforcement, fillers and solid lubricant makes processing difficult; nevertheless, igus is able to apply its expertise and experience to ensure a successful outcome in the shortest possible time.
Matt Aldridge of igus UK comments: "Standard tool manufacture can take four to eight weeks and is normally only available for minimum orders of around 5000 pieces. But with speedigus you can get a single part in just one day. All we need is the required quantity and a 3D CAD file of the part." If necessary, tools can be manufactured with slides and other features - or even inserts that are removed manually - to enable complex forms to be moulded. Standard igubal spherical joints are manufactured by overmoulding one grade of material with another, and igus says there is no reason why this technology could not be applied within the speedigus service.
Currently igus manufactures speedigus parts in eight of its iglidur materials (iglidur G, J, W300, X, M250, P, A180 and H2) as well as igumid G, the material used in igus energy chains; a simple online selection tool helps designers to specify the optimum material for their application. The table below shows the materials and their characteristics:
|iglidur G||General-purpose bearing material.|
|iglidur J||Very low-friction material with low moisture absorption, and excellent service life when used at low to medium loads.|
|iglidur W300||Similar mechanical properties to iglidur G, with up to four-times longer service life and the ability to run on almost any shaft material.|
|iglidur X||Universal chemical resistance, runs at extremely high temperatures (up to 315degC), and a high static load capacity of up to 150MPa.|
|iglidur M250||Flexible material, extremely tough and very well suited to parts with a large wall thickness.|
|iglidur P||Similar mechanical properties to iglidur G, but waterproof.|
|iglidur A180||Conforms to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requirements for contact with food, and resistant to most cleaning agents.|
|iglidur H2||Designed for mass production in automotive applications, also suitable for automotive prototyping.|
|igumid G||Standard material used for igus energy chains; suitable for customised brackets, for example, or for structural parts.|
As iglidur materials are maintenance- and lubricant-free, long-lasting and have a low coefficient of friction, the majority of speedigus parts manufactured to date are custom design components that have a bearing function.
Aldridge states: "Because speedigus uses standard igus materials, the igus useful service life calculation program is still valid. However, engineers can also draw upon other features and benefits of iglidur materials, such as the combination of light weight with electrical conductivity, chemical resistance or high temperatures. The igumid E-Chain material additionally offers design possibilities for structural parts, such as brackets, side plates or covers."
Suitable for orders up to several thousand parts, or for prototypes or one-offs, speedigus can accommodate parts that fit into an envelope up to 475 x 750 x 200mm, with wall thicknesses down to 0.5mm. All that is required for a quotation is a 3D CAD model, preferably a STEP file, and the required quantity.
While the standard speedigus tooling lead time is 15 days from placement of order, parts can be produced in as little as 24 hours, subject to a 250 per cent surcharge (other leads times and surcharges are available, such as five days for 60 per cent). Every speedigus quotation comes with full technical component information, including lead time options. Tooling charges for the speedigus systems start from £1000 and unit costs are from just 10 pence, depending on the part complexity and size. Note that igus retains the tooling so that additional parts can be moulded as and when required; furthermore, igus carries the risk with the tooling, so there is no cost to the customer in the event of the tool having to be replaced due to wear or breakage. If higher volumes of parts are subsequently required, however, then igus manufactures a standard production tool, and unit costs reduce considerably.
Follow the link for more information about speedigus, or call igus UK directly on +44 (0)1604 677240.