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igus® inc.

PO BOX 14349

East Providence

RI 02914

+1 800 521 2747
+1 401 438 7270
igus® inc.

Vice President

East Providence, RI

+1 401 438 2200
+1 401 438 7270

Maintenance-free 3D-printed grippers

Profile

  • What was needed: grippers to screw on lids
  • Manufacturing process: igus® 3D printing service 
  • Requirements: hygienic, no lubrication used, cost-effective, available quickly, lightweight 
  • Material: iglidur® I150
  • Branch of industry: packaging industry for cosmetics products

More flexibility through 3D printing

When an eagle grasps prey, it adapts its grip to the respective size in a lightning fast move. The packaging industry can only dream of this flexibility. Their metal grippers, which for example put the lid on cream jars, are usually limited to a single format. Therefore it often takes weeks for a product change, until the right gripper is made. It is 85 percent more cost-effective and 70 percent faster with robust and lightweight plastic grippers made of iglidur® filaments. They come directly from the 3D printing process.

The problem: expensive and long waiting times

Carecos Kosmetik GmbH faced the following problem: if a product had to be changed, the company had to have new grippers made for the packaging machines, which would grip the lids and screw them onto cans.  The company had previously opted for elaborate machining of grippers made from aluminium. Not only did that cost up to 10,000 euros per part, it also took six weeks.  That is too long a wait in an industrial sector, where at the beginning of the era of the Internet of Things it is increasingly important to be able to economically produce even small batches.  

The solution: 3D-printed grippers from iglide® filaments

3D-printed grippers from iglidur® filaments  

Due to the high costs and the long production time of the metal grippers, Carecos Kosmetik GmbH initially tried to 3D print the grippers with standard plastics such as ABS and PLA. However, the printing processes did not provide satisfactory results. So they turned to igus® and with the tribologically-optimized I150 filament, they found an extremely stable and simultaneously impact-resistant material for 3D printing, with which a gripper can be printed within 10 to 12 hours.

50 times more wear-resistant than standard materials

Almost every element of a gripper is flexible and glides in its movement on surfaces and shafts and pins, so that the individual parts are exposed to constant wear. Metal parts must often be fitted with separate bearings or lubricated in the application. The use of iglide I150 in 3D printing enabled the company to save up to 85% of the cost and 70% of the manufacturing time compared to the previously selected aluminum formats. Plastic grippers are seven times lighter than metal grippers. In addition to iglide I150, igus® offers five other filaments for the printing of wearing parts in a wide variety of application scenarios. These are up to 50 times more wear-resistant compared to standard materials such as polylactide (PLA) and can be processed on all standard 3D printers.  

Further application reports

3D printed bearing ready for collection within hours

What do you do when an important replacement part for an exhibit suddenly goes missing on the way to the trade fair? The response of the Berlin-based company Blackcam, a manufacturer of camera motion systems, is to turn to the igus 3D printing service.

3D printing – from igus to you as fast as the fire service

Tough custom bearings for hay swathers

FELLA has been designing implements for tractors for more than 90 years. These include mowers, hay rakes and swathers. The tractors have to withstand a lot of hard treatment in day-to-day work. igus® has produced especially robust special parts for FELLA.

Special bearings from bar stock for highest precision

iglidur® bar stock is used to manufacture a microscope arm for eye examinations. The reason: it can be machined to produce customised plain bearings down to sizes measured in μm to ensure the necessary precision for examinations.  

Here, you can find the products used