How can intelligent 3D printed parts make your life easier?
Vishaka Upreti | 15 April 2021
As with all igus® products, our aim is to improve technology, reduce costs and make life easier. If we can combine the two then surely that is a win-win situation?
“Smart” plastics or “intelligent plastics” are not a new form of technology for igus. However, combining this “intelligence” with the low-cost 3D printing technologies has enabled us to integrate sensors within the structure of the parts. This issues warnings to the control box before damage is done to the machine or application. And impressively, it is now available even more cost-effectively.
How has this been achieved?
This has been achieved through the multi material printing technology recently unveiled by igus®.
These intelligent components are created through a multi-material 3D printing procedure. This is a process in which tribo-filaments can be combined with other materials within a component. This supplements the high degree of wear resistance with further mechanical and functional properties.
During the printing cycle, the sensor layer is applied to the main areas of the component that will be subjected to load.
This has allowed us to create wear-resistant parts with integrated sensor layers made from our wear-resistant filaments iglidur ®I150 or iglidur® I180. This also includes specifically developed electrically conductive 3D printing. This conductive electrical resistance of the sensor material is measured continually. This allows a warning to be issued before overloading or before the wear limit is reached.
This triggers a required action by the customer. It is pre-empting that something needs to be done in order to prevent damage within your application.
Prevention is better than cure
Another key feature of these new 3D printed intelligent components is that they cannot only tell you if your part is wearing. It can also alert you if your application is suffering from overloading, therefore preventing damage before it occurs!
As with all igus parts, these have been thoroughly tested in the igus laboratory. There is minimal waste, making the parts sustainable!
To the best of our knowledge, there is no other company on the market offering products that can effectively measure wear, live throughout the life of an application. This ability to “talk” to the controller enables you to adjust your maintenance schedule accordingly.
This cost-effective way of producing intelligent industry 4.0 technology opens many more doors. The speed at which the igus technology is progressing means we can support even more customers with their applications and machines than ever before! Prevention is always better than cure.