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New low-cost linear slides from igus made of recycled high-performance plastic

24 January 2024

Entry-level drylin Econ series for simple adjustment and positioning tasks reduces costs by around 80 percent.

Linear systems used for simple adjustment and positioning tasks, such as adjustable retail displays, now have a greener, low-cost solution. Injection-moulded from regranulated, high-performance plastic, igus’s new polymer slides in the drylin Econ series are both cost effective and sustainable.

They are also typically more than 80 percent cheaper than machined aluminium equivalent parts. Due to integrated compensating bearings, they even master cornering on curved aluminium rails without problems.

Positioning a monitor with advertising in a retail store or, for example, adjusting a gripper that moves sweets in a snack vending machine. For such simple tasks, linear guides based on recirculating ball bearings that work with slides and rails made of steel, are often overkill. This means that designers pay for mechanical properties they don't need. With multiple pressures, from inflation and high energy costs to disrupted supply chains, it is more important than ever for companies to save costs.

"With such pressures in mind, we have expanded our portfolio of linear guides with a new, low-cost, entry-level series called drylin Econ," says Rob Dumayne, drylin and Bearings Director at igus UK.

"These are ideal for simple adjustment and positioning tasks – including following a non-linear profile."

Costs for linear slides reduced by around 80 percent
The new drylin Econ series is a low-cost alternative to the previous linear guides in igus’s drylin series. This is because the slides are not machined from steel or aluminium but are made of high-performance plastic by injection moulding – cutting material cost and weight.

"Thanks to this less time-consuming series production in a single tool, the cost of a linear slide in size 0630 is more than 50 percent lower, " explains Dumayne.

The operation of drylin Econ is also economical. Microscopic solid lubricants are integrated into the high-performance plastic bearing over which the carriage moves on the rail.

Unlike classic rolling bearings, for example, they allow dry running without additional lubrication, saving users maintenance time and material costs while retaining their sustainable integrity. Finally, the system is exceptionally light.

"Thanks to the use of plastic and aluminium, drylin Econ is suitable for many lightweight constructions," says Dumayne.

Linear bearing glides effortlessly around curved rail
With drylin Econ it is even possible to follow curved profiles. igus manufactures anodised linear rails made of aluminium not only in a straight line, but also following a curved design. This enables travel in a quarter, half or full circle as well as convex and concave curve guides. The polymer bearings of the cam carriages adapt to the rail’s geometry by means of spherical adjustment.

"Even when cornering, the movement is easy, quiet and constant," says Dumayne.

"This is particularly important for vending machines in public spaces that should work as inconspicuously as possible, such as beverage vending machines in a hotel lobby."

Manufactured from injection moulding production waste
In addition, the new drylin Econ series slides are not only cost-effective and economical, but more sustainable. They use a regranulated plastic called iglidur ECO P, comprising 100 percent waste from injection moulding production, including sprues and damaged parts.

"We are able to save the plastic from incineration or landfill with this recycling," Dumayne concludes.

"Instead, it becomes part of the circular economy via the regranulate – just part of igus’s wider sustainability push."

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