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Maintenance-free grippers from the 3D printer

Grippers printed in 3D - an application example

  • What was needed: grippers to screw on lids by machine.
  • Branch of industry for this example: packaging industry for cosmetics products.
  • Requirements: hygienic, no lubrication, cost-effective, available quickly, lightweight.
  • Manufacturing process: igus® 3D printing service.
  • Material: iglidur® I150.
  • Success for the customer: 85% cost savings for the grippers as well as a 70% faster delivery of the grippers

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 often only dream of this flexibility. Existing metal grippers, which for example put lids on cream jars and screw them on, are usually limited to a single format. It often takes weeks for a product change, until a new, suitable gripper is made. It is 85 per cent more cost-effective and 70 per cent faster with robust and lightweight polymer grippers made of iglidur® filaments.
 
Parts made of iglidur polymers and printed in 3D are up to 50 times more wear-resistant than standard materials printed in 3D. Grippers printed in 3D are the alternative to your old metal grippers.

The solution from the 3D printer: maintenance-free, cost-efficient, fast delivery

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 jars.  The company had previously opted for elaborate machining of grippers made from aluminium. That cost up to 10,000 euros per part, and took about six weeks to manufacture.  That is too long to 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.  

More information on 3D printing from igus

Overview of 3D printing from igus  
Why 3D printing from igus?

Low-wear parts made of iglidur high-performance polymers:
delivery from 24 hours - cost-effective - maintenance-free
- configure your 3D model online
- order your new part printed in 3D online
- delivery from 24 hours - cost-effective - maintenance-free
 

3D printing service online tool  
Order online with the 3D printing service

Do you need prototypes or components from 1 to 5,000 pieces made of low-wear polymer fast? Our igus 3D printing service offers the solution for your wear-resistant parts. We print your gears, plain bearings, rollers, linear bearings, lead screw nuts and much more from our low-friction iglidur high-performance polymers.


Order online with the 3D printing service

The solution: 3D-printed grippers from iglidur® 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-optimised 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 iglidur I150 in 3D printing enabled the company to save up to 85 percent of the cost and 70 percent of the manufacturing time compared to the previously selected aluminium formats. Plastic grippers are seven times lighter than metal grippers. In addition to iglidur 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.

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.  

Further interesting applications from very different areas of use can be found here: