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Plastics makes packaging machinery cleaner, greener

Packaging machinery must run fast and perform a variety of functions from forming, filling, labeling, vision inspection and other highly automated actions, that must also be clean. That's why one primary packaging equipment manufacturer made the choice to replace metal recirculating ball bearings after they caused shaft damage and grease leaks with new DryLin R lubrication-free plastic linear bearings from igus Inc. on its packaging machines.

The packaging machinery company manufactures form-fill-and-seal packaging equipment to handle a wide range of products, from green beans, to candy, to detergent. Previously, the manufacturer used metal ball bearings in its machines, capable of reaching up to 160 cycles per minute - but the bearings were affected by dirt, dust and other contaminants that scored the shafts. They also required lubricating and reports were received of grease leaks on some of its machines.

To date, DryLin R has been in operation for 10 million cycles, during which time little to no shaft wear has been noted by igus' customer. There has even been a slight increase in production to due to the bearings' lightweight design. The linear bearings also require no lubrication and so eliminate the need for bearing maintenance. DryLin R manages loads up to 15 lb per machine are operates at a speed of 750 ft/minute. Because the bearings do not need lubrication - they are dry running - they will not contaminate the food items.

DryLin R bearings from igus consist of two parts: a plastic liner, made from igus' low-wear iglide J200 material that can be pushed easily onto a shaft, and a split aluminum adapter that fits over the liner. Installation time is greatly reduced because DryLin R eliminates the need to remove the shaft from its housing.

The company, which has a 25,000-sq-m factory at its headquarters in Cologne, Germany, where it injection molds its various products including the company's polymer Energy Chain Systems - the company's continuous flexing cable line for automated technology - and various bearings.  The company boasts some 80,000 products. Igus' products are molded from Triboplastics, igus' tribologically optimized material compound, which is the basis for all the company's products and systems including the iglide plastic bearings, bushings, the igubal self-aligning bearings, and the xiros plastic ball bearings that are oil-free for temperatures for up to 302F.

With North American headquarters in East Providence, R.I., igus serves manufacturers of various types of machinery and industrial equipment, including packaging machinery, globally. 

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