3D-Printed Spare Parts from igus® Cut This Company’s Operation & Maintenance Costs by Nearly 50%

Machines are expensive and so is maintaining them. This particularly applies to special machines and older models, where the procurement of spare parts is often difficult and usually cost-intensive. Oftentimes, the required parts have to be traced and produced individually. Costs and problems arise not only from the expensive, custom-made parts, but also from machine downtime.

Expensive spare parts for a winding machine

ContiTech Schlauch GmbH in Germany regularly encountered this problem when spare parts were needed for their winding machine. To wind up the brake hose yarn, it is guided back and forth along the bobbin. A cross-thread spindle was used to ensure that the thread was laid directly or via a thread guide guided through the groove. Intensive use of the machine quickly resulted in wear and tear on the moving components. The complex geometry of the cross-thread spindle made the production of spare parts particularly cost-intensive.

(Pictured below: a cross-thread spindle in a winding machine)

A cross-thread spindle in a winding machine

The 3D printing service from igus® had a solution. Our engineers printed the cross-thread spindle using the laser sintering process from the wear-resistant plastic iglide® I3 within a few days. Now, the winding machine operates smoother than before.

By using the 3D-printed component, the company succeeded in significantly improving the sliding properties of the cross-thread spindle and reducing the costs for operation and maintenance of the winding machine by around 50 percent. Classic production would have been twice as expensive due to the part's complex geometry.

Fast and economical production of spare parts online

The SLS material iglide® I3 is characterized by particularly high wear-resistance and high strength. Like all iglide® plastics, iglide® I3 also contains embedded lubricants, which eliminates the need for additional lubrication and maintenance of the printed components. In the case described above, the maintenance engineer still decided to use additional lubricating oil to counteract the excessive heating of the machine.

SLS-printed iglide® I3 components have detailed, exact surfaces, which is particularly important for the production of precise details - as is the case, for example, with the cross-thread spindle.

We can print spare, individual and series parts within one to three business days - no minimum order quantity is required. The easiest and fastest way to order parts is through our online 3D printing service . To learn how the service works, watch this video with Product Manager Preston Souza. He'll walk you through the upload/order process.

To learn more about our 3D printing materials, visit this webpage. You can also contact an igus® expert with any questions.