igus, the Germany-based manufacturer of motion plastics, has introduced a solution for automotive designers and buyers who need unique components for prototypes and series production quickly. Previously, they had to wait up to six weeks to get the required injection mold. But now, with igus’ FastLine service, they can complete it within seven days. Customers can use iglide designer to order the tribologically optimized plain bearing in four easy online steps.
Designers and buyers in the automotive supply industry often require a special component not available in the catalog. They need it urgently for validation beyond the prototype phase. While 3D printing is a quick solution, it may not match the required tolerances and material properties. CNC lathes and milling machines also cannot achieve the same surface finish as injection molding. But injection molding takes up to six weeks, which can be inconvenient when time is of the essence.
Configure cylindrical bushings, flanged bushings, and washers online in just a few seconds
To help designers and buyers validate assemblies with initial samples, igus developed the FastLine service. With FastLine, customers can easily configure and order triboplastic components such as cylindrical bushings, flanged bushings, and washers online in just four steps using the iglide plain bearing designer.
First, users select the shape they desire, such as a sleeve bearing, and then choose a suitable material from the iglide range for injection molding. The configurator displays the key characteristics of the materials, including maximum ambient temperature and surface pressure, in a clear margin. Once the user enters the dimensions of the inner diameter, outer diameter, and bearing width, the total price for injection molding production is instantly displayed, allowing the user to place an order.
The bearing’s STEP files and PDF drawings are available for free download for further planning and designing. After placing the order, the online tool automatically generates 3D models and other design files utilized by the in-house igus tool shop’s special team, iform, to program CNC machine tools.
With minimal manual effort, the machines can start producing the injection-molding tool faster than ever. The process standardization with short throughput times won igus the “Excellence in Production” competition of the machine tool laboratory WZL of the RWTH Aachen University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT) in the category “Internal toolmaking from 50 employees.”
Production time drops to seven days
“This interaction of online configuration, machine networking, and process automation is a novelty in toolmaking,” says Stefan Loockmann-Rittich, iglide Business Unit Manager at igus. “As a result, the FastLine service allows us to reduce the production time of injection molds for cylindrical bushings, flanged bushings, and washers in special dimensions suitable for series production from six weeks to seven days.”
Customers receive the special components accordingly faster and can start validating their assemblies. igus has been active in the automotive industry since 1964. The company supplies over 500 million plain bearings for automotive applications every year. The polymer bearings are used not only in interior systems such as seats, center consoles, or pedals but also in gearboxes and the thermal management of the drive.
In addition to the cost advantages compared to metal bearing solutions, design engineers and buyers appreciate the lightweight quality, the lack of lubrication, the small bearing clearance, and the vibration-dampening and, thus, noise-reducing specifications.