At PACK EXPO International, igus is showing a huge array of wear components made from high-performance plastics. Of particular note, however, is the FastLine tooling system, which delivers custom molded parts in 10 days or less, notes John Nebbia, packaging industry manager for igus’s dry-tech division.
With a slogan of “improve what moves,” igus is focused exclusively on motion plastics such as bearings, bushings, and more. In many cases, the company works closely with the customer to develop the piece that will best fit production needs. As an example, Nebbia pointed out bottle grippers made for Krones for use in its bottling equipment.
Working alongside Krones, igus produced a modular design with notches in the grippers, enabling different bottle sizes on the same line. This is a considerable improvement over typical bottling lines, which would require a change in grippers to move to a different bottle size, Nebbia notes.
In fact, this kind of flexibility in equipment to accommodate a variety of package sizes on the same machine is a growing trend within the industry. Nebbia highlighted linear guides that enable a quick format adjustment to switch easily from one package format to another. “This is especially good for contract packagers,” he said, noting the ability switch a line over quickly to run product for a different customer. “It gives them the ability to buy and bid on jobs without installing new lines.”
Custom components are available in a large range of self-lubricating, high-performance polymers in the company’s iglide line of materials. This includes 3D printed parts. New at PACK EXPO International is the iglide i6-Blue, a powdered laser sintering material for 3D printers. Its blue coloring improves safety in the food and beverage industry because fragments are easier to detect if components break. “The blue, high-performance plastic is easy to detect and is also food-compliant,” says Tom Kraus, head of the igus Additive Manufacturing Business Unit. The material complies with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and EU 10/2011 regulation.