Editor’s Pick: Custom Materials for High-Abrasion 3D Printing
igus develops plastics components and offers 3D printing services.
March 23, 2022
Global parts and services company igus has expanded its business in North America with 3D printing services to complement its existing delivery from stock. Based in Rhode Island, this new service can deliver the company’s specialty polymers for high-abrasion parts on-demand.
igus says using 3D printing to manufacture high-performance parts, including worm gears, bushings, chain belt systems and lead screw nuts, allows manufacturers to have early prototypes without the expense of tooling and long lead times. The company says their specialty materials are low-friction, maintenance-free and self-lubricating.
Using such materials with 3D printing allows igus to deliver prototypes in a day or two, or deliver a production run of up to 10,000 parts.
The company says its long background in injection molding materials gave it the expertise required to develop 3D printing materials for demanding applications. The igus service bureau uses selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM), depending on the part, material selected and intended application.
Some igus materials meet FDA approvals for food contact applications; others offer electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection.
The company offers various special FDM filaments designed for ease of processing, and high-temperature and chemical resistance. These materials also meet burn testing and food contact requirements. The company claims these custom FDM filaments are up to 50 times more wear-resistant than standard thermoplastic printing materials.
Parts created on the SLS printers can achieve tolerance of ±0.1 mm. igus says SLS production allows customers “very few limitation with regard to part design and complexity” without raising production or design costs.
igus says it prides itself on being on the cutting edge for 3D printing as a manufacturing process. Company research is enabling it to offer smart sensors in parts, allowing parts to report maintenance requirements as part of an Industry 4.0 integration.
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