Polymer spherical ball improves food safety and lowers cost

To make machines and systems for the food industry even safer, Igus has launched the high-performance plastic iglidur A181, a new standard for a spherical ball material for the igubal food contact (FC) joint system.

The material is three times more wear-resistant than its predecessor made of iglidur FC180, 25% lower cost, solvent-free, maintenance-free, hygienic and FDA and EU 10/2011 compliant.

“Is this food completely safe to eat?” More consumers are asking themselves this question in response to regular product recalls. Food manufacturers, involved in high speed, high volume mass production, constantly struggle with potentially dangerous contaminants. Tiny fragments from broken components of processing machines can enter the food during manufacturing.

“Whether it’s filling plant, meat processing machinery or packaging plant, manufacturers are faced with the challenge of continuously improving the robustness and reliability of their systems while simultaneously increasing the detectability of tiny impurities,” says Dean Aylott, igubal product manager at Igus UK. “We support manufacturers in the optimisation of food safety by continuously developing the standard bearings, rod ends and flange bearings within the igubal FC joint system. Igus’s latest igubal innovation is a spherical ball made of our new polymer material iglidur A181.”

The joint system’s housing is made of igumid FC, a robust and corrosion-free, high-performance plastic that is resistant to moisture, acids, alkalis and ultraviolet rays. More recently, Igus has replaced the FC180 spherical ball in the housing with the superior iglidur A181. “Thanks to a new material composition on stainless steel shafts, the material is up to three times more wear-resistant than the previous FC180 version,” Dean emphasises. “This makes movements in the machine even more reliable and safe.”

Like all Igus products, the longevity of these igubal spherical plain bearings has been proven in numerous tests in Igus’s 3,800m2 test laboratory in Cologne. Concurrent with this improved performance, the price of the A181 dome has come down by 25%, a positive benefit that makes it easier for many machine builders to say goodbye to classic metal joint systems. “The price advantage is now enormous, as igubal FC is now up to 85% lower cost than stainless steel variants,” says Dean.

And the igubal FC joint system with the new A181 ball is not only cheaper than its metal counterparts; in addition, it improves the hygiene of machinery and equipment in the food industry. Unlike metallic spherical plain bearings, there is no need for an external lubricant that could bind with dirt and dust to form sticky coatings and create a contamination risk. Instead, Igus integrates a solid lubricant into the plastic material that ensures reliability over time and enables low friction and hygienic dry running. Consequently, both the housing and the new dome material are FDA and EU 10/2011 compliant.

“The approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which follows one of the strictest hygiene guidelines in the world, and the conformity with the EU 10/2011 directive, confirms the high level of hygiene of our joint system,” explains Dean.

To improve hygiene further, the bearing is blue, a colour on which food residues and ­mould spores are quickly detected during cleaning and is highly visible in the event of machine damage. And as a further safety feature, food-grade, detectable additives are integrated into the housing material. In an emergency, they make it possible for metal detectors to detect even the smallest splinters, even those around one tenth of a gram.

igus (UK) Ltd

51A Caswell Road

+44 (0)1604 677240



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