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igus® inc.

PO BOX 14349

East Providence

RI 02914

+1 800 521 2747
+1 401 438 7270
US(EN)

Our Commitment to Sustainability

When we first developed high-performance plastics for motion, the topic of environmental protection was admittedly not our main focus. We wanted to develop products that bolstered our clients' manufacturing, improveed technology and reduced costs. Despite this, recycling has always been a sincerely important topic, and we now reuse 99% of our plastic waste by processing it into granulate material and recycling it back into the production process.
 
Today, we know that products longer lasting products that do not require lubrication contribute to preserving our environment. Eliminating messy, external lubricants means less environmental pollution, less abrasion & less pollution with microplastics, and less weight—meaning less energy required for movement.
 
As producers of special plastics, we have clients in many industries as well as the sensitive area of medicine. We are aware of our responsibility to the environment along with the possibilities that plastic offers in many areas compared to steel, and we continue to research new materials and products that will benefit our clients and our environment.


Update on the path to climate neutrality

In 2021, we achieved 31.2% less CO2 emissions than in 2020. This figure relates to Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. The switch to green electricity in mid-2021 and to climate-neutral gas in October 2021 will play a key role here. 

Still to be solved:

  • Emissions of gases and chemicals from the production of raw materials 
  • Abrasion during use 
  • Dependence on the fossil raw material oil

Goals:

  • By 2025, we want our buildings and production to be CO2-neutral.

Sustainability

Before: production of plastics and parts
In useplastics in use
After: plastics after their use

2022 Sustainability brochure


2022 Sustainable Innovations


Before

Production of plastics and parts

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Energy balance

The production of 1 m³ of plastic requires around 50% less energy than that of 1 m³ of steel or aluminium.

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Oil consumption

The production of high-performance plastics accounts for just 0.5% of global oil consumption.


idk

Power consumption

All of the electricity we purchase is green, and we are reducing the amount of power our machinery and equipment consume. We are acquiring injection moulding machines that are 40% more energy efficient and replacing old ones. We reduced power consumption by 11% in 2021 even as we increased production hours. 

recycled

99% recycled

99% of our rejects in injection-moulding production (sprues, defective parts) are recycled and returned to the manufacturing process.

clean igus

clean igus program

Mechanical measures such as magnetic foils and guide plates prevent parts from falling out of the machines in the production process and becoming waste. We reduced our waste ratio (production waste + processed material) by 21% in 2021 thanks to these and other measures. 


Certified according to ISO 14001

In order to make our environmental policy transparent and comprehensible, we have been certified according to ISO standard 14001 since 2019, a recognised basis for environmental management systems. This helps us on our way towards a CO2-neutral factory.

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In Use

Plastics in use & Self-lubricating

27 million tons of grease pollute the worldwide environment every year. Our polymers do not require lubrication.

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50% of all lubricants sold worldwide end up in the environment. (Source: M. P. Schneider, 2006)

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1 liter of oil contaminates 1,000,000 liters of drinking water. (Source: Saskatchewan Association for Resource Recovery Corp., 2008)

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1/3 of the total fuel consumption of a passenger car is used to overcome friction in the engine, gearbox, tires and brakes. (Source: K. Holmberg, P. Andersson, A. Erdemir, 2012)

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Global demand for lubricants will increase by 2 % annually, according to forecasts = 45.4 million tonnes in 2019. (Source: The Freedonia Group, 2015)


How our products already provide sustainability

Sustainability - durable products

Our products are particularly durable and are rarely replaced. This is an advantage of our products as our customers run their machines maintenance free and long lasting.

Sustainability - less friction

Our plastics are tribologically optimised, i.e. they cause less friction. Hence, less energy is required and less microabrasion pollutes the environment.

Sustainability - no lubrication

Producing 1 ton of plastics uses less energy (160 megajoule) than producing 1 ton of aluminium (600MJ) or 1 ton of steel (320MJ).

Sustainability - 99% recycling into granules

Since the company was founded, we have been recycling our plastics ourselves and process about 99% into granules, which are then used for production.

Sustainability - bearing exchange

Not having to replace an entire application when wear occured was one of the leading ideas when we developed our linear bearings and guides. The practical advantage: The rail is not damaged and the bearing housing can be reused. This conserves resources - and simultaneously results in lower costs.

Sustainability - smart plastics

Components are not replaced until they have reached the end of their product life cycle - this is the idea behind our smart plastics product range. Sensors indicate wear and parts are replaced when necessary therefore, resources are utilised carefully and rationally.

More sustainable - less weight

Plastics are lighter than steel and save weight and therefore also energy that has to be used for movement. In an airplane, this amounts to roughly 4kg if iglide® plain bearings are used instead of DU bushings. This again positively impacts kerosene consumption.

Sustainability - plastic vs. aluminium and steel

Our bearing technology does not require additional lubrication. This does not only keep the application clean, it also avoids pollution of the environment with lubricating oil. 

Sustainability - iglidur N54

With iglide® N54 we have developed a standard plain bearing that can be used universally and consists largely of renewable raw materials. The bearing of biopolymers demonstrates that components can be sustainable and motivates us in our future product development.


After

Plastics after their use

chainge Recycling Program

We launched our "chainge" energy chain recycling programme in 2019. You can send us used energy chains (from igus or other manufacturers). You receive a voucher, and we separate components by type and use them ourselves or supply them to recycling partners. As of 12/2021, we have already received 25.97 tons of material.   

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hydroprs

HydroPRS recycling

We have invested five million euros in Mura Technologie, a company that uses a new technology, HydroPRS (Hydro Plastic Recycling Solution), to convert unsorted plastic waste to crude oil within 20 minutes. Conserves resources with pressure, temperature, and water. Construction of the first large-scale plant started in April 2021, and more and more companies are cooperating with Mura Technology.