Cleanroom.net Exclusives : Interview With Tom Miller & Joe Ciringione Of igus

Tom Miller & Joe Ciringione of igus

Tom Miller & Joe Ciringione of igus

igus

Cleanroom.net Exclusives talks to Tom Miller, igus Bearings Unit Manager and Joe Ciringione, igus Energy Chain National Sales Manager, about igus’ cleanroom product offerings, the igus’ philosophy and future.

Cleanroom.net : igus has been in business since 1964, can you remind our readers what igus does?

igus : igus® Inc., based in East Providence, R.I., develops and manufactures industry-leading plastic cable carriers, continuous-flex cables, plastic bearings and linear guide systems. With more than 28,000 products available from stock, the company meets the motion control and machinery component needs of customers worldwide. Product lines include Energy Chain Systems® to protect and house moving cables, Chainflex® continuous-flex cables, iglide® self-lubricating, oil-free, plastic bearings, DryLin® linear guide systems and igubal® spherical bearings.

Cleanroom.net : What is the basic philosophy of the company and has it changed over the years?

igus : The mission of igus has always been to use its innovative polymer materials to develop products that provide creative solutions and exceed our customers’ expectations while delivering fast, accurate service. igus has been manufacturing engineered plastics for more than 40 years and develops each of the materials and technology behind its products. These plastic blends are used throughout our entire product line of plastic cable carriers, polymer plain bearings, spherical bearings and linear bearings and guide systems. igus also believes its most important resource is its customers. Feedback from clients has produced new carrier designs, different bearing material grades and specialized cables, some of which have become a standard choice in the product line. This belief reinforces our commitment to flexibility, availability and solutions on demand.

Cleanroom.net : What products does igus offer the cleanroom industry?

igus : igus offers plastic cable carriers, continuous-flex cables and polymer bearings that are suitable for clean room applications. These products meet ISO clean room standard 14644-1 set forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards.

Tom: iglide plastic plain bearings, igubal spherical bearings and DryLin linear bearings and guides, are ideal for clean, hygienic workspaces and are less expensive than metal bearings. They do not require any external lubricants and are corrosion-resistant, so therefore eliminate costly maintenance. They provide a lightweight, space-saving solution with a predictable lifespan. igus’ plastic bearings are also low noise, unaffected by harsh cleaning agents and feature a low coefficient of friction.

Joe: In clean room applications requiring cables and cable carriers, it is important that particles are not emitted into the environment during operation. To ensure its Energy Chain cable carriers and Chainflex cables meet this requirement; both possess high abrasion resistance, which also increases service life.

Cleanroom.net : How much emphasis does the company put on research and development?

igus : igus’ puts a great deal of emphasis on research and development. igus offers the largest range of tribo-optimized plastic plain, spherical and linear bearings in the world, with more than 10,000 parts from stock, ranging from chemical-resistant, waterproof and FDA-approved bearings to high-temperature and underwater bearings. Every year, igus engineers develop more than 100 new plastic compounds and conduct more than 8,000 tests for durability, friction and wear. This has made it possible to establish a large database of plastics’ tribological properties. igus has been developing, producing, and testing plastic cable carriers for more than 35 years and offers over 70,000 products in this range from stock. A vast number of different design variants are available and the company’s design technicians work closely with customers to ensure every cable carrier system is the best option for any given application.

Cleanroom.net : Are there any new igus products in the pipeline?

igus : igus is constantly working to deliver new and improved products to its customers. Most recently, igus announced a completely new type of cost-effective hybrid linear bearing that both rolls and slides and a horizontal guiding system called “Guidelok”, which is designed to keep the upper and lower runs of a cable carrier apart, for applications in the machine tool industry up to 164 feet.

Joe: Specifically for clean room applications, igus most recently announced the availability of control and servo cables for near-sterile environments, as well as additions to its group of ISO-approved cable carriers. Each product endured a particulate test, in which the Chainflex cables and Energy Chain cable carriers were analyzed at four separate points, each traveling at an average speed of one to two meters per second. The test measured airflow using optic sensors in order to detect and count any particles released into the air. Results show that both the cables and cable carriers tested meet Class 1 requirements, the top-tier certification recognized by ISO. These products release >10 particles per-cubic-meter, measuring 0.1 µm (micrometers) in diameter and >2 particles per cubic meter at 0.2µm in diameter.

Cleanroom.net : Will we see igus at any tradeshows or events in 2010?

igus : At this time, igus tentatively plans to exhibit at the Del Mar Electronics Show, the Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE) and the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in 2010.

Cleanroom.net : igus’ Y.E.S initiative is very innovative, how successful does igus believe it has been?

igus : The Y.E.S. (Young Engineers Support) Program has been a great success. igus believes it is important to foster the mechanical design ideas of students and educate them about the potential benefits of plastic machinery components. The company’s executive leadership, finance and marketing operations are all involved with the Y.E.S. Program, which has been able to help hundreds of thousands of students with free product donations.

Currently, igus donates a kit of its products each year to every team participating in the following competitions: FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition; BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics Competition; and the Botball Educational Robotics Program. The company has also donated products to more than 200 schools and universities, including MIT and Carnegie Mellon, and additional competitions such as the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Collegiate Design Series, Challenge X and the DARPA Grand Challenge. igus also conducts in-class presentations at high schools and universities in order to encourage students to learn more about engineering and the advantages of plastic machinery components.

Our thanks to Tom and Joe for taking the time to talk with Cleanroom.net Exclusives

And an extra thank you from Cleanroom.net to Courtney Toomey & Nikki Groom of igus for all their help.

For more information about igus, please visit www.igus.com

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