Industry 4.0 Gets Trouble-Free Motion With Smart Plastics

Thursday, January 25th, 2018 | 1262 Views

Intelligent e-chain, cable and linear bearing products increase plant availability. 

Motion plastics, high-performance plastics for motion, defy rain, salt, extreme temperatures, are resistant to oil or chemicals, are lighter, more dynamic, more energy efficient and yet cost effective. At Hannover Messe, igus, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of plastics, now shows the next step–intelligent “smart plastics” for Industry 4.0. Their goal: to make predictive maintenance even easier and thus reduce costs in the factory of the future.

Today, they are used worldwide, high-performance plastics for moving applications. In everyday life, in kitchen machines, bicycles or shower cubicles as well as in industrial environments, such as machine tools or in crane facilities. Igus is able to make accurate statements about the service life of motion plastics, thanks to the extensive tests in the 2,750 m² testing lab,  The test results are incorporated into the online tools which are also available as a mobile app. At Hannover Messe, the plastic manufacturer now goes a step further, and in Hall 17 presents smart plastics; intelligent plastics solutions that ensure additional reliability in the factory of the future.

The networked smart plastics expand the possibilities for so-called predictive maintenance and increase the plant availability for the customer. Intelligent drylin linear guides as well as the intelligent energy chains and the intelligent cables constantly monitor themselves and provide early warning of failure. The range named isense consists of different sensors and monitoring modules. By networking with the manufacturer’s communication module (ICOM), a direct integration with the customer’s infrastructure takes place.

The intelligent technology is capable of monitoring the service life of the e-chain, cable or linear guide. Through continuous distance measurements and the calculations using the parameters of the system as well as the thousands of test data from the test laboratory, it is possible to also reliably predict the smooth functioning in real operation. If measured values are exceeded, the intelligent products indicate the remaining term of use early, which enables a timely maintenance and replacement. Optionally, isense can be connected to a data centre, thereby opening up more digital options: customised service life calculation and optimisation of business processes. These include maintenance commissioning or spare parts ordering. In this way, the electronic intelligence lowers maintenance costs even further and increases plant availability. The products will be available to customers for testing.

How the smart plastics enable predictive maintenance can be viewed in the video here.