Reliable bearings, even in hot environments: new igus material for the food industry

iglidur AX500 gives igus a new, wear-resistant material for the food industry that is electrically dissipative and can be used at high temperatures (Photo credit: igus GmbH)

Electrostatically dissipative iglidur AX500 tribo-polymer ensures maintenance-free applications with food contact.

In bearing points for the food and packaging industries, temperatures and speeds are frequently high. Ensuring that mechanisms function reliably requires durable plain bearing solutions that can continuously handle friction and heat. Another challenge is electrostatic charges. iglidur AX500 has given igus, the motion plastics specialist, a new, wear-resistant material for high-temperature applications that also has ESD properties.

How exactly does 10g of gummy bears end up in a small bag? With dosing systems equipped with highly sensitive mechanisms. Such mechanisms fill thousands of bags in no time. Slides and belts then move the sweets to a box. At these high speeds, all the packaging mechanisms, and especially their bearings, are subjected to wear. Plain bearings made of the new iglidur AX500 high-performance polymer help make bearing points maintenance-free and durable. The new material is electrostatically dissipative, ensuring that the bags do not stick to each other and employees do not receive electric shocks. In very dusty environments such as flour processing, sparks can also lead to dust explosions. These sparks can take the form of small arcs that occur when moving machine parts that do not have an electrically dissipative design.

Safe, wear-resistant bearings, even in high temperatures

iglidur AX500 is also specifically suited to the high-temperature range, allowing it to be used in applications such as ovens and bottle cleaning. Its good chemical resistance means that aggressive cleaning agents will not harm the bearing. Nor is there any problem if iglidur AX500 contacts food, since the tribologically optimised polymer, with its embedded solid lubricants, requires no additional lubrication. The material also complies with Regulation (EU) No. 10/2011. iglidur AX500 plain bearings are not only maintenance-free, unlike stainless steel bearings, but also cost and weigh less than the latter.

On the test rig: wear testing

iglidur AX500 achieves much better wear results than the long-running food material iglidur A500. The wear of the iglidur A500 and iglidur AX500 were tested in a rotation test on stainless steel shafts in the 3,800 square metre in-house laboratory at igus in Cologne, Germany. The new material achieved a coefficient of wear up to three times as good as older materials.

Special dimensions from injection moulding can be supplied in a few days

igus currently offers the new material in standard dimensions (6-20mm diameters), with or without a flange. For special dimensions that are needed quickly, the FastLine service is also available to users. Expanding in-house toolmaking allows igus to manufacture and deliver iglidur polymer plain bearings in special dimensions at low part prices within a few days.