3D-printed grippers boost effectiveness of Carecos Kosmetik packaging machines

Monday January 22, 2018
Written by igus GmbH
Plastic 3D-printed grippers made of igus tribo-filaments are up to 85 per cent cheaper and 70 per cent faster to manufacture than their metal counterparts, according to igus.
Plastic 3D-printed grippers made of igus tribo-filaments are up to 85 per cent cheaper and 70 per cent faster to manufacture than their metal counterparts, according to igus. Photo: igus GmbH
Jan. 22, 2018 - Kehl, Germany-based Carecos Kosmetik GmbH used to face the following problem: if a product had to be changed, it would need new grippers — which grip the lids and screw onto cans — made for the packaging machines. 

The company would use aluminum grippers that cost up to 10,000 euros per part and took six weeks to be made. In the industrial sector, it is extremely important to be able to produce products quickly and economically, even for small orders.

Carecos Kosmetik found its solution with the iglide I150 filament, a stable and impact-resistant material for 3D printing. A gripper can be printed in this material within 10 to 12 hours.

Knowing the high cost and long production time that metal grippers require, Carecos Kosmetic initially tried to 3D print the grippers with standard plastics, such as ABS and PLA. When printed, however, the grippers did not meet the company’s standards, and ended up turning to igus for the iglide I150 tribo-filament.

The individual components of a gripper are exposed to constant wear. Metallic components have to be regularly replaced or lubricated in order to withstand the wear. igus describes its iglide gripper as more cost-effective and quick to produce, and seven times lighter than metal grippers. igus has five other filaments available to accommodate a variety of application requirements. Compared to standard materials such as polylactide (PLA), the high-performance plastics are up to 50 times more wear-resistant and can be processed on all standard 3D printers, according to igus.

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