Predictive maintenance is one of the key topics that are to herald the future in the digitalisation of industry - summarised under the keyword "Industry 4.0". For some time now, machines have been equipped with the appropriate sensors to determine the real wear and tear at critical points and thus be able to warn in time of failures. The plastics specialists from igus, known for their extraordinary innovative spirit, have been following this principle with their 3D isense components since 2016, but now, according to their own statement, they are going a big step further.

Because the engineers of the igus 3D printing team have succeeded in printing the sensor technology directly into a tribo-component by means of multi-material printing. Thanks to corresponding measurement value acquisition directly in the component, the sensor will in future report when a replacement should take place, well before the failure. It also makes it possible to detect overloads and initiate an immediate machine stop to prevent further damage to the bearing and the entire machine. Thanks to additive manufacturing, it should be possible to deliver such intelligent 3D isense components and special parts cost-effectively after only five working days. According to igus, the 3D isense process will thus be suitable in future for the production of intelligent plain bearings, sliding elements, threaded nuts and all other special parts that are subject to friction and wear.

igus GmbH (51147 Cologne, Germany)
Website: www.igus.de