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High performance polymer

High performance polymer bearings for beverage filling and packaging systems MOTION AND DRIVES Bottling and packaging machinery manufacturers have a wide variety of possible applications for bearing systems made of high-performance polymers. Companies like Küppersbusch GmbH near Essen in Germany have been using plain bearings from the igus modular construction system for more than 20 years. Smoothies, bio-juices, concentrates, spirits and liquors made in Germany: The variety of beverages for consumers today is much greater than in the last few decades. usually, it is the smaller companies that set important trends and, at least in the beginning, produce smaller quantities. When they want to invest in a partially or fully automated filling system, they often turn to industry experts like ‘Küppersbusch GmbH’ in Velbert. Located just 70 kms away from Cologne, the company develops and manufactures customerspecific bottling and packaging machinery for the beverage industry. Established in 1972, the family owned enterprise specializes in this clientele and its special requirements. Jochen Küppersbusch, managing partner and the second generation entrepreneur to run the company: “In the 1970s, when there were many regional corn distilleries, we mainly developed and built filling systems for spirits and liquors. Today, this only accounts for around 10 % of our business. We are now a more diverse company and see ourselves as a niche supplier for small producers and fillers of liquid and paste- like products. We are also profiting from the trend towards smaller containers and special containers.” First hand application know-how through contract filling A typical feature of Küppersbusch’s procedure is that there are no pre-fabricated solutions or type series. Klaus Voigt, project engineer in the company explains: “The customer tells us their requirements and then we develop a solution.” Since it is mostly about small to medium volumes and users want flexibility, their solution often consists of semi-automatic, linear filling, labeling and capping machines. During the project planning, the developers can fall back on extensive application know-how and experience at Küppersbusch. On a separate floor of the company building, the company uses its own production facilities for the contract filling of a wide variety of products. Jochen Küppersbusch: “That’s why we know the practical requirements of our customers from our own experience.” High performance polymer bearings from igus – in use for more than 20 years Küppersbusch looks back on decades long relationship and cooperation with the motion plastics specialist from Cologne, igus. Klaus Voigt remembers having visited the company in Bergisch Gladbach, which is where it was located at the time. This was before 1994, the year in which igus moved to Porz-Lind near Cologne, the company’s present location. The designers at Küppersbusch use various type series and versions from the igus bearings product range, and with good reason. 24 WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 2018

01 01 Semi-automatic filling, capping and labelling machine with drylin lead screws for height and format adjustments 02 02 For height and format adjustments, Küppersbusch often uses drylin lead screws with flange nuts Klaus Voigt explains: “It is important to us that both the rotary and the linear bearings can be cleaned well and achieve a long service life. For hygiene reasons, they must not require any external lubricants, and depending on the application, this means parts in contact with product, the materials must be FDA-compliant.” All of these properties apply to igus plain bearings made of high-performance polymer with incorporated lubricant. Rotary and linear bearing technology Using the example of a filling plant for spirits, which is currently undergoing its final test runs in Velbert before delivery, it is easy to see how many and which different plain bearings from the igus modular system are used here: For diverse height-adjustment mechanisms, trapezoidal threads from the drylin product range combined with flange nuts made of high-performance polymer are used. The format adjustments are made via drylin R flange bearings. Clip bearings have been built onto the bracket of an electric motor in order to ensure easy assembly. On another (vertical) linear axis, Küppersbusch uses a combination of drylin R flange bearings with aluminium adapters in which anodized aluminum shafts move. Klaus Voigt: “We have been using this solution for approximately eight years. It is visually perfect, does not need any lubrication and is almost wear-free.” A variety of iglidur materials In the choice of the iglidur material, the designers benefit from the steadily growing variety. Klaus Voigt: “For many years we have used the FDA-compliant solution iglidur A180. Now we mostly use the new FDA variants iglidur A181 (blue) and the FDA-compliant high-temperature bearing iglidur A500.” A relatively new igus product is used in the current system at the outlet of the rotary table for feeding the bottles. The guidance equipment for the bottles was originally made of stainless steel. In order to dampen the noise of bottles hitting metal, igus tribo-tape made of iglidur B160 material is now being used. This liner is resistant to cleaning agents and is characterized by a very good sliding / friction coefficient compared to glass. Bearings from igus in valve and pump applications Küppersbusch also relies on high-performance polymer bearings from the igus modular system at the valves and pumps of the filling and dosing stations. At the filling stations, the bottles are raised via drylin T-rail guides and connected to the filler. At the centering bridges of the filling tubes, the company installs iglidur flange bearings, which are not only FDA-compliant and chemically resistant, but also have an extremely long service life. Klaus Voigt tells from his experience: “These bearings are heavily stressed. We have a filling machine that has done 40 million cycles and is still operating with the first shaft and the first bushing.” Users of the Küppersbusch bottling plants profit from the fact that they can get by with a minimum of service. Their equipments are known to the customers for this. Photographs: igus GmbH WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 2018 25