Up to 60 times longer service life: igus produces the world’s first tribo-material for DLP 3D printing
iglide i3000 enables DLP 3D printing of exceptionally durable wear parts in the millimeter range
EAST PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, USA, June 24, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — igus®the German manufacturer of movement plastics, presented its iglide® i3000 – the world’s first 3D printing resin specifically for DLP 3D printing of wear parts.
The iglide i3000 enables additive manufacturing of small, precise components with 30 to 60 times longer life than conventional 3D printing resins. In addition, igus is expanding its 3D printing service with DLP printers that reach a resolution of 0.035 millimeters.
For components in the millimeter range, 3D printers using Digital Light Processing (DLP) are particularly suitable. The process makes it possible to obtain very fine resolutions under the different 3D printing technologies. Resolutions of just 0.035 millimeters are possible, about half the thickness of a human hair.
To enable this level of precision, a projector projects layer after layer of the 3D model onto the surface of a special liquid resin. The network of corresponding regions under the influence of light. After curing, the build platform is lowered one layer so that the next exposure can take place. This creates tiny components layer by layer, including gears with tips just 0.2 millimeters thick. The gear ends have very smooth surfaces that require no post-processing. With the new iglide i3000-PR 3D printing resin, users can benefit from the igus tribo-technology of igus with this 3D printing technology, which significantly increases the lifespan of their mobile applications.
The service life can be extended by a factor of 60
As accurate as DLP 3D printing works, it has a downside.
“A common problem with tiny components made from commercially available 3D printing resins, such as gears for model making, is that they aren’t particularly sturdy and fail quickly,” says Tom. Krause, Head of Additive Manufacturing at igus.
igus has therefore developed iglide i3000 for DLP 3D printing. It is tribologically optimized and is therefore much more wear-resistant.
“We were able to prove in lab tests that the life of iglide i3000 is at least 30 times longer than 10 commercially tested 3D printing resins,” Krause said. “In some applications, we even expect an increase in service life by a factor of 60.”
Another advantage: the maintenance required for lubrication work is zero. Microscopic solid lubricants are embedded in the material. They are released independently during movement.
Small special components produced quickly
In addition to the 3D printing resin, customers can order components made from it directly from igus. igus is also expanding its 3D printing service. While customers previously could choose between Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing processes, they will soon be able to have components manufactured with DLP 3D printers. The finest details and even internal channels can easily be achieved.
“We are now entering the beta testing phase with the first customers. At the same time, we are working to ensure that DLP 3D printing is also available in the online tool, which customers can use to upload STEP files for their components or configure gears with just a few clicks,” said Krause. “Thanks to the combination of 3D printing and in-line configuration, weeks of waiting for special wear-free components are a thing of the past. In 2021, igus produced more than 200,000 abrasion-resistant components using 3D printing in Cologne, with no minimum order quantity and up to 10,000 units. Especially in times of bottlenecks and disrupted supply chains, 3D printing is a viable alternative.
igus GmbH develops and produces motion plastics. These high-performance, self-lubricating polymers improve technology and reduce costs everywhere things move. In power supplies, highly flexible cables, plain and linear bearings as well as tribopolymer lead screw technology, igus is the global market leader. The family business based in Cologne, Germany, is represented in 35 countries and employs 4,900 people worldwide. In 2021, igus achieved a turnover of 961 million euros. Research at the industry’s leading testing labs consistently produces innovation and more safety for users. 234,000 items are available in stock and the shelf life can be calculated online. In recent years, the company has grown by creating internal startups, for example ball bearings, robot drives, 3D printing, RBTX platform for lean robotics and smart “smart plastics” for Industry 4.0. Among the most important environmental investments are the “chainge” program – the recycling of used energy chains and participation in a company that produces oil from plastic waste.