igus Pioneers Industry with First-Ever 3D-Printed e-Chain Rack for Tailored Solutions

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Installation time reduced by 66%, weight by 80%: the first e-chain rack from additive manufacturing is a fast installation solution for igus energy chain systems with almost unlimited customizability

In a bid to further streamline production processes and reduce downtime for manufacturers, igus GmbH has unveiled its latest innovation – the first 3D-printed readychain p-rack. This cutting-edge additive manufacturing solution allows for the rapid and precise customization of assembly and transport racks for harnessed energy supply systems.

The readychain rack, a modular assembly and transport system for energy chain systems, has been a hallmark offering from igus for the past decade. However, the new readychain p-rack takes the concept to the next level, enabling customers to benefit from unparalleled customization potential with millimeter precision.

One of the primary goals of the readychain rack is to facilitate the quick and safe installation of energy chain systems onto machines, significantly reducing process costs and assembly time. Christian Stremlau, Head of the Business Unit readychain and ready cable at igus highlights that many companies are actively seeking ways to optimize processes and reduce costs. With the 3D-printed readychain p-rack, igus aims to provide a swift and tailored solution that meets these demands efficiently.

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, offers unlimited possibilities in terms of geometry, allowing for the production of modules precisely tailored to each application. This unprecedented freedom in design means the p-rack can have ergonomic shapes with rounded edges, eliminating any injury hazards. Moreover, additional elements like holders for tools, small parts, or custom lettering can be easily printed as required. The benefits of this approach are twofold: it saves both time and money during the design phase and eliminates the need for subsequent adjustments.

Another advantage of the readychain p-rack is that there is no minimum batch size required for optimal installation solutions, making it ideal for diverse industries and applications.

Stremlau points out that igus is uniquely positioned to offer this innovative solution as they handle everything in-house. Design and production are conducted on-site, allowing for more flexibility, shorter communication channels, and reduced throughput times. With its own design engineers and a dedicated 3D printing department, igus can swiftly respond to customer requirements.

Not only is the 3D-printed p-rack faster to manufacture, but it is also significantly lighter than its metal predecessor, reducing weight by up to 80%. This weight reduction conserves resources and simplifies handling, making the installation process up to 66% faster. Assembling and disassembling the p-rack is a breeze, requiring no additional hand tools. The modular and lightweight design also translates to lower transport costs for returns.

Furthermore, the 3D-printed frame boasts impressive resilience, undergoing extensive testing in igus’ in-house laboratory to ensure its strength. Additionally, all attachments can be 3D printed using cornstarch, a robust and rustproof material. Notably, this cornstarch material is compostable or can be entirely regranulated and reused, further highlighting igus’ commitment to environmental sustainability.

igus GmbH is a leading developer and producer of motion plastics, specializing in lubrication-free, high-performance polymers that improve technology and reduce costs in various industries worldwide. With a presence in 31 countries and 4,600 employees, igus generated a turnover of €1.15 billion in 2022. Their continued focus on research and innovation in large test laboratories ensures ongoing improvements and security for users across the globe.

In recent years, the company has expanded its offerings by creating internal startups, including areas such as ball bearings, robot drives, 3D printing, and intelligent “smart plastics” for Industry 4.0. Notably, igus is dedicated to environmentally friendly practices, including recycling used e-chains through the “chainge” program and supporting enterprises that produce oil from plastic waste.

The launch of the readychain p-rack is a significant step forward in providing tailor-made solutions for manufacturers, allowing them to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and optimize processes like never before. As igus continues to innovate and expand, it remains a key player in the motion plastics industry, constantly working towards providing better solutions for its customers and the environment.

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