igus is making its tribopolymer technology available in a 3D printing filament. That's right -- the plastic we've told you about that integrates lubricants to make the company's iglide plastic bearings and bushings now comes as a 3D-printable filament.
This Tribo-Filament is up to 50 times as resistant to wear and abrasion as conventional 3D printing materials such as ABS, Nicole Lang, iglide product manager, tells Design News. "Some people will be 3D-printing replacement parts, while others will make prototypes for igus-type custom parts," she says. "It can be used to create anything in the realm of 3D printing technology, including workable parts for motion applications." The filament is compatible with any filament fusion printer that has a heated nozzle and print bed, and uses ABS filaments.
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igus is offering its tribological, integrated lubricant polymer in a filament for 3D-printing custom bearings, bushings, and prototypes. The Tribo-Filament is compatible with any filament fusion printer that has a heated nozzle and print bed, and uses ABS filaments. I170-PF grade, shown here, comes in yellow. It has a better linear wear rate than I180-PF, which comes in white, and is also slightly less flexible.
Millions of iglide plastic bearings and bushings, along with chain cables and chain carriers, are doing heavy-duty work in applications like automotive, aircraft, and industrial, which I still find remarkable. The tribological, or low-friction, polymer technology integrates solid lubricants throughout the thermoplastic matrix in microscopic particles. In response to friction when the bearings move, these particles are then dispensed in tiny amounts. The superiority of parts made with the material over metal parts is due to their lighter weight, lack of corrosion, longer life, need for less maintenance, and silent operation. You can find more information about plastic versus metal bearings in this whitepaper.
igus didn't just come out with this new Tribo-Filament yesterday. The company has been researching a 3D-printable filament made of its tribological material for some time, in response to customer requests for the ability to design their own custom parts and make their own prototypes, Lang tells us. The company already makes available 45 different optional high-performance plastics for its iglide line, and 100 more custom materials for customer-specific needs. 3D models of igus products in STL format can be downloaded from the company's online 3D-CAD library and used as input data for 3D printing with the new filament. You can reserve a starter kit for 3D printing your own iglide bearings here.
The new Tribo-Filament has been tested extensively in igus's lab in Cologne, Germany. Two different materials in two different diameters are available: I170-PF, which comes in yellow, has a better linear wear rate than I180-PF, which comes in white, says Lang. I180-PF is more flexible than I170-PF, and has a slightly higher processing temperature. The 1.75 mm diameter of I170-PF is available now in small samples, and production volumes will be available this month. The 3.00 mm diameter of the I170-PF will be available at the end of July. The 3.00 mm diameter of I180-PF will be available at the end of June, and the 1.75 mm diameter will be available at the end of July.
@Ann: Indeed data security is something which needs to be looked at very seriously. I think when budgeting they should seriously look into data protection and invest on it additionally because data is the business
Thank you Ann for the update. Excellent post. I think everyone needs to understand what a great service Igus has accomplished with this material. Last year I wrote a course called Engineering Tribology and published that course through PDHonline.org. This company provides courses for PEs to obtain CEU credits. The following quote was taken from that course and comes from "Tribology-How a Word Was Coined 40 Years Ago":
"According to some estimates, losses resulting from friction and wear amount to approximately six percent (6%) of the GNP (Gross National Product) in the United States alone. This amounts to approximately $200 million per year, which is considered to be a very small estimate. It has been estimated also that one-third of the world's energy resources appear as friction in one form or another. According to Dr. Peter Jost, the United Kingdom could save approximately £ 500 million per year by employing better tricological practices. "
The ability to save equipment, maintenance costs and down-time due to excessive wear, normal or otherwise, is a BIG deal. Its money in the bank if a company can do it. In developing this 3-D printable material, Igus has accomplished two very important things:
1.) Quicker manufacturing of bearings, as additive manufacturing processes can do
2.) Lubricant-infused material to lessen friction
Both can lessen costs to manufacturing concerns. Again, great post.
Very nice move by Igus to create a material that can be used in 3D printers. Instead of assembling additional bearings into the 3D printed part, the entire part itself can now be printed in the bearing material. Unique, curstomized plastic bearing shapes can also be quickly and easily printed on-demand.
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
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