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From AI to heat recovery – igus launches 190 new products

17 April 2023

IGUS will use Hannover Messe 2023 to launch an unprecedented 190 new physical and digital products under the concept of 'Enjoyneering', which aims to "unleash engineering power with play".

Among the swath of digital launches are a low-cost robot operated via a VR headset, a system whereby spare parts areidentified and ordered in seconds using AI on a smartphone; and a mobile app that immediately identifies potential applications for lubrication-free parts on, for exampe, an excavator or bicycle.

The iguverse

Leveraging the latest in digital techologies, the iguverse is a virtual space where engineers, material experts and project planners can meet and build 3D models of new machines, systems and assemblies on a 1:1 scale. Products can be developed faster, more sustainably and reliably, at a lower cost; problems can be ironed out at an early stage. The digital twin in iguverse can also be used for training.

“The possibilities of virtual reality for mechanical engineering design are absolutely fascinating. We want to be part of this technology right from the start,” emphasises igus CEO Frank Blase. “We want to develop new solutions that even small companies with limited budgets can easily use."

Also new for 2023 is a cloud-based app called igusGO. The user takes of photo of a machine, for example an excavator, and artificial intelligence identifies where lubrication-free parts from igus could be used cost-effectively.

Voice control

The igus range of low-cost robotics, intended to promote automation in SMEs, is also growing. A new smaller cobot – the ReBeL KID – will be available from May 2023 for just £3999 and has optional voice control.

The online marketplace RBTX showcases over 350 automation projects, all of which can be copied for similar applications.

In addition to low cost robotics, igus has expanded its range of smart plastics. These are standard parts such as energy chains and plain bearings, which are equipped with sensors and integrated into IoT networks. This allows SMEs to implement industry 4.0 trends, such as condition monitoring and preventative maintenance. The smart plastics can be expanded with a new service called “superwise”; a digital product which links to igus field service team.

A completely new service is the igus managed platform 'kopla', which allows companies to create their own online expert systems and calculation tools. It is aimed specifically at medium sized companies who operate internationally and would like to explain their products online.

“Our own experience with the development and use of online tools, using a cloud based stored modular principle, is now available for others to use, massively reducing the implementation lead time compared with conventional software solutions," says Blase.

Re-using factory energy

Central to the igus' green business philosophy, by the end of 2025 the company aims to make its factory carbon neutral and has developed a system which uses the spent coolant water from injection moulding machines to heat the factory and will help to drive the faciliity's gas consumption to zero in the future.

When igus embarked upon the project, the company was surprised to find that no suitable existing solution was available. "We searched for weeks for a solution and could not find one anywhere. So we built our own, we want to share this with others," says Blase.

The engineering solution is available to other industrial companies under the name MHRS (Machine Heat Recovery System).

igus has been improving the environmental balance of its plastics for years, and one key area is recycling. This year, igus has expanded the popular “Chainge” recycling program so that the online platform now covers all technical plastics, from polyamide to PEEK. 

The igus:bike made from recycled ocean waste (fishing nets) is also scheduled for commercial launch in August; from Ocean Plastics to Motion Plastics. 

Blase concludes: “Our growth must be linked to the sustainable use of resources. The creativity and energy of my igus colleagues impresses and motivates me. The fact I work with these people makes me humble and excited about what the future holds."