Canadian Packaging

Clean, safe, self-lubricating: igus presents the hygienic-design linear guide

By Mercury Marketing Communications   


A self-draining design, iglide high-performance plastic and stainless steel ensures an exceptionally hygienic linear guide

April 19, 2023 — Cleaning with chemicals is a daily occurrence for machines in the food-processing industry. Even the smallest blind spot can collect moisture and can lead to contamination within the machine. More and more operators are therefore designing parts with an emphasis on hygienic design.

igus, the manufacturer of motion plastics, has developed the first linear guide system, based on the hygienic-design guidelines. FDA-compliant materials such as the high-performance polymer iglide A160, high-alloy stainless steel and a washable interior of the carriage ensure compliance with hygienic-design guidelines.

Adhering to special rules


Special rules apply in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Hygiene is the highest requirement that is placed on parts within machines. It is important to ensure that there is never any contamination on products.

Therefore, machine builders and plant operators ensure they design parts with the best materials for the components. Best case, they comply with the FDA and E.U. regulations. “More and more customers want an optimized design based on hygienic-design principles. They are looking for parts to have an open design that withstands regular cleaning processes with chemicals, steam and high-pressure water,” says Stefan Niermann, Head of drylin Linear and Drive Technology at igus GmbH.

Companies are now demanding lubrication-free components that can be cleaned quickly ensuing downtimes are limited. igus has now developed a drylin W linear guide according to hygienic-design guidelines.

A gap-free construction with the right materials

The main challenge was how to construct a gap-free design. The focus was on designing a self-draining carriage and rail that would allow liquids to drain freely without collecting water. “This is a brand-new innovation for the linear technology market. So far, most hygienic-design solutions have been based on a completely enclosed unit,” explains Niermann.

This new self-draining carriage consists entirely of the high-performance polymer iglide A160, one of the FDA- and EU10/2011-compliant igus materials. The lubrication-free material has already proved itself as a plain bearing material in numerous applications in the food industry. Hygienic screws and large grooves are also used as a method to prevent water from accumulating and bevelled edges allow cleaning solutions to run off easily. The bottom seal protects the space under the rail from dirt accumulation, ensuring no residues of food can be caught. The shafts are also sealed to prevent any gaps from collecting debris. A corrosion-free and high-alloy 316 stainless steel is used as the linear rail to avoid microscopic surface structures that prevent dirt from adhering.

igus GmbH develops and produces motion plastics. These self-lubricating, high-performance polymers improve technology and reduce costs wherever things move. In energy supplies, highly flexible cables, plain and linear bearings, and lead screw technology made of tribo-polymers, igus is the worldwide market leader. The family-run company based in Cologne, Germany is represented in 35 countries and employs 4,900 people across the globe. In 2021, igus generated a turnover of €961 million. Research in the industry’s largest test laboratories constantly yields innovations and more user security. Two hundred thirty-four thousand articles are available from stock, and service life can be calculated online. In recent years, the company has expanded by creating internal startups, for example, ball bearings, robot drives, 3D printing, the RBTX platform for Lean Robotics, and intelligent “smart plastics” for Industry 4.0. Among the most significant environmental investments are the “chainge” program – recycling used e-chains and participating in an enterprise that produces oil from plastic waste.


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