Potential applications of high performance polymers in forklifts

13th July 2018
Posted By : Alex Lynn
Potential applications of high performance polymers in forklifts

To avoid machine downtime, it is important to use robust and long lasting machine elements. Here, self-lubricating and maintenance free high performance plastics, such as from igus, show their advantages. Using industrial forklifts as an example, the areas where motion plastics from igus can be used are highlighted. 

Robert Dumayne, Director, igus, explained: “Defects that require emergency repair of the forklift may cause unnecessary expenditure as it cannot be used during maintenance. To avoid such failures, this is where motion plastics from igus are used, because they are developed specifically for dynamic applications and have a high service life that can be calculated online.”

This includes igus' flexible chainflex cables, which are installed in seats or in the mast. The cables are resistant to UV rays and oil, flame retardant and extensively tested in the in house test laboratory. With a 36 month guarantee and minimum bend radii, they are ideal for applications with long term stressing.

In these applications, the cables must also be guided safely in the smallest possible space. Developed specially for this task, e-chains have a high torsional resistance and interior space that protects the cables, and allow the smallest bend radii and inner heights. By design they are modular, can be assembled quickly and are also very light. Rounded shapes in the interior of the energy chains are very gentle on the cables.

In addition to cables and energy chains, linear guides are used for seat adjustment for operator ergonomics and comfort, especially the headrest, armrests and control elements and doors. With drylin linear guides, an easy and low noise adjustment on straight and curved rails with predefined snap-in points is possible. The drylin linear technology is very light as the carriages slide on iglidur high performance polymers. This linear guides therefore need no additional lubricants and, while having a long service life, are low maintenance and insensitive to impacts.

The bearing points of forklifts also have high demands, such as high loads. Here, the maintenance-free iglidur plain bearings could have advantages. A wide range of plain bearings are made from over 50 tribo-plastics with special properties. Some materials are characterised by a high load capacity up to 250MPa and are therefore installed in the bearing points for high load rotations.

Others have very low coefficients of friction and are therefore used for steering column bearings or on pedals. However, all iglidur plain bearings have something in common, they have a long service life, are lubrication free, cost-effective, light and vibration dampening.

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