Lubrication-free igus linear axis in hygienic design for clean use in food technology

Easy to clean, lubrication-free and maintenance-free: the new drylin ZLW toothed belt axis is based on hygienic design principles and uses FDA-compliant materials (Photo credit: igus GmbH)

drylin ZLW toothed belt axis with FDA-compliant materials can be cleaned quickly and is maintenance-free thanks to tribopolymer technology

The time-consuming cleaning of machines leads to longer and expensive downtimes in many companies in the food industry. To reduce this effort, igus has launched a ready-to-connect toothed belt axis constructed according to the guidelines of hygienic design on the market. It relies on FDA-compliant materials and the advantages of the lubrication-free and maintenance-free high-performance plastics from the motion plastics specialist.

Mixing waffle batter, and cleaning the bowl and mixing sticks are an unruly business. Large bakeries face the challenge of regularly cleaning huge vats and mixers, including the linear axes and linear carriages on which the mixers lower themselves into the containers. If classic linear axes were used, there is a great risk that dough scraps will be deposited in hard-to-reach places, making cleaning considerably more difficult and possibly posing a risk of contamination.

“In order to reduce the cleaning of systems in the food industry or even in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, we have now expanded our portfolio of ZLW toothed belt axes,” said Michael Hornung, product manager for drylin linear and drive technology at igus. “The new model can be cleaned particularly quickly and thoroughly – whether with high-pressure steam jets, chemicals or simply running water. This also increases product safety.”

Based on the hygienic design cleaning is simplified

The new linear axis is easy to clean because the design engineers at igus followed the guidelines of hygienic design during development. Undercuts in the entire system are minimised where food remnants could accumulate. Likewise, there are no gaps that can occur if screw heads disappeared into a recess in order to be flush with the surface, for example

“We deliberately avoided countersinking the screws; true to the motto, ‘Form follows functionality’, in this case easy cleaning,” emphasised Hornung. Equally important were rounded corners, which ensure that water can flow better during high-pressure cleaning and carry dirt particles along more easily. Water cannot deposit and the formation of germs is reduced. Wherever a dead end was unavoidable, boreholes ensure that liquid drains away completely.

Lubrication-free plain bearings reduce risk of contamination

The igus developers use only FDA-compliant materials for the new toothed belt axis. The shaft end supports and linear carriages are made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel. The plain bearings where the carriage moves over the rail are made of the food-grade tribo-plastic iglidur A160 enabling low-friction dry operation without external lubricants, which could become a contamination hazard and pollute the environment. Trylin ZLW toothed belt axis is thus extremely durable, as illustrated by approximately 1.5 million double strokes at a speed of 0.5m/s and an acceleration of 2m/s² with a load of 3kg, in igus’ own test laboratory. The drylin ZLW toothed belt axis can now be ordered with a maximum stroke length of up to 3,000mm and can be equipped with a suitable stepper motor optionally.