igus UK is launching new energy chains and chainflex cables in blue for use in processing, production and packaging applications in the food, drink, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. The blue metal-detectable energy chains are moulded from a material containing metallic particles so any fragments would be easy to detect using standard equipment, and the blue CFSPECIAL 544 cables are said to set a new standard for anti-microbial cables.
Even in the most modern production lines, machine failure and damage cannot be eliminated, so the ability to detect foreign materials quickly in food is vital for guaranteeing the reliability of food production lines.
Experts from igus have designed a detectable polymer energy chain by using a special plastic material, igumid DT. As a result, spherical particles of the blue material as small as 1mm in diameter can be detected at line speeds of 20m/min by all standard metal detection systems. The blue detectable material igumid DT can be specified for igus E2/000 and E4.1 series energy chains. Compared with using metal cable carriers or having to route the moving cables well away from sensitive areas, the metal-detectable energy chains clearly offer significant advantages.
igus is also introducing a new hygienic version of its chainflex cable that has been designed for use in moving applications in the food and drink industry, effectively preventing the growth of bacteria, viruses and mould.
Typically cables for the food industry are given an anti-bacterial coating, but this can wear off due to the continual movement in the energy chain. However, the igus blue CFSPECIAL 544 cable features an outer jacket is moulded in a material that has special anti-microbial additives throughout. As a result, the anti-bacterial properties are emitted over a long life time to restrict the growth of micro-organisms, and any wear on the outer jacket simply exposes fresh material containing the anti-microbial additives. The new material has successfully passed the international tests for anti-microbial activity and effectiveness in line with ISO 22196 and JIS Z 2801. Furthermore, the special additives do not detract from the cables' flexibility and longevity.
Justin Leonard, director at igus, states: "Ensuring safety in the food and drink industry is paramount and the contamination of food is illegal under the UK's Food Safety Act 1990. At igus we continue to innovate and have developed these two new blue products to make it as easy as possible for our customers to ensure they are operating in the most hygienic way, and preparing food to the highest standards. We have used the colour blue because it is not naturally found in food and can be easily detected."
The launch of the new energy chain and cable follow the recent introductions of the iglidur A350 polymer plain bearing material, which is FDA-approved (Food and Drug Administration USA), and the blue igubal polymer material that can be recognised by metal detectors. Both of these developments have already proved to be popular in the food and drink industry.