Offering designers a new possibility to produce self-lubricating and maintenance-free parts and small batches, igus uses custom-made 3D printed injection moulding tools. Engineers can now choose from the entire range of 50 iglidur high-performance plastics, including specialists for high load, food contact, underwater or high temperature applications, with delivery within five days of order.
Injection-moulded, 3D printed or machined from bar stock – the motion plastics specialist igus offers engineers a wide range of possibilities to obtain their self-lubricating parts, such as gears or plain bearings quickly and cost-effectively. igus also offers the possibility to solve difficult technical challenges quickly by means of a 3D printed mould – and now with all tried and tested iglidur materials.
“Since the production of injection moulds made of steel is comparatively expensive, takes longer and is only feasible in the production of large quantities, special tribo solutions can be produced with a printed mould within two to five days with up to 80% cost savings in production and further, even small quantities can be produced,” said Robert Dumayne, dry-tech director, igus. “A new process for the production of printed injection moulding tools now allows igus to make even more precise and long-lasting products.”
The material selection of the moulded part determines the material and the manufacturing process of the printed mould. “From an availability of 50 tribologically optimised and online configurable iglidur materials, designers are free to choose the right material for their special part,” continued Dumayne. “For example, iglidur G is an all-rounder, whereas iglidur X is for long-term application temperatures of up to 250°C.”
Depending on the material chosen for injection moulding, the mould is either SLA or SLS printed and then used immediately in the injection-moulding machine. Thus, parts are ready for shipment within a few days. The material structure of the printed injection mould ensures that it can withstand the high temperatures during injection moulding, which means that one mould can produce prototypes and small batches up to 500 pieces cost-effectively and quickly.
“The production of special tribo-parts by means of printed injection moulding tools is particularly advantageous if the desired material cannot be processed in the 3D printer or when the parts are used for a test that is intended to simulate as close as possible conditions for a later mass production,” explained Dumayne. “We have moulded over 2,000 moving parts already, using printed injection moulding tools.”