GLOBAL May 2020
 
igus virtual trade show presents more than 100 new motion plastic solutions
 
In what appears to be a proactive yet innovative approach to reach out to its global customers, igus showcases over 100 new products at its first virtual trade show stand as it went live online on 7 May.
igus motion plastic solutions seek to improve on the manufacturing technology while reducing cost of operations.
In the current challenging period due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, igus reported mixed financial performance. In the first 4 months of 2020, igus sales turnover had declined by 11% over the same period in 2019, however incoming orders so far remained stable with only a marginal decline of -2%.
Interest in motion plastics seem to be growing, and igus has set up a trade show stand that can be viewed online. Frank Blasé, Managing Director of igus GmbH said, “We are currently receiving many enquiries and arranging numerous virtual visits. The interest of customers in solutions that improve technology and thereby reduce costs is noticeably increasing. Based on more than 50 years of experience in research and practice, we are able to offer safe solutions made of plastics.”
Frank offered an example of how this can be achieved in the modern production facility of a packaging machine manufacturer. Here 2 loaves of toasting bread should be sliced, packed and sealed per second. A weak point had been the moving cable for the quick assembly of the machine. In search of a solution, the company has found the chainflex service life calculator for dynamic cables on the Internet and thus the tailor-made product for its highly dynamic application, well before the present Corona situation. With the addition of an intelligent smart plastics monitoring system for this cable, it achieved its goal: the availability of the plant for 24/7 continuous operation, a predictable cable replacement every 18 months and high cost savings.

Fast and reliable supply
Maintaining fast and reliable supply of tribo-polymer products in the current situation is an important goal for igus. "igus is currently delivering without any restrictions", said CEO Frank Blase. "On average, small and medium-sized orders are on their way to the customer after 2.5 days." Internationally, local supply is guaranteed due to igus’ 14 production sites.

Customers can now view over 100 new products through online trade show
Since neither trade shows nor personal visits to customers are currently possible, igus is relying entirely on the advantages of digitisation: the pivot here is the trade show stand that igus has set up as part of the digital support package for customers. The real trade show stand is virtually accessible; personal tours, individual and group discussions at the stand can also be arranged with the experts from igus straightaway. With the motto "Tech up, Cost down. It's our job." igus is presenting over 100 plastics innovations in an area of 400 sq.metres.
One example of how customers can save costs and improve their technology is the autoglide 5 energy chain with steel cable floor guide, which can save 88% installation time in intralogistics and crane systems, with total costs including cables starting at €49 (US$53.2) per metre. Another new feature is the drylin polymer telescopic rail, with which, among other things, drawers, seat and head adjustments can be easily made and pulled out. It is also 64% lighter than metal guides. Crucial for product development are the tests in the company's own 3,800 sq.metre test laboratory. These enable igus to offer a unique 36-month guarantee on the standard chain range and chainflex cables. The brand promise "igus 36-month chainflex cable guarantee and service life calculator based on 2 billion test cycles per year" has now been successfully certified by the UL testing agency. At the same time, igus is increasingly focusing on integrating its motion plastics in a circular economy. With initiatives such as "chainge recycling", "plastics2oil" and ISO 14001 certification. In the "chainge recycling" programme, igus takes back discarded plastic energy chains ("e-chains") regardless of the manufacturer, recycles them and pays a price per kg in vouchers. Its €4.7 million (US$5.1 million) investment in Mura Technology goes one step further. The company wants to build plants in which plastic waste is converted into oil in an energy-saving manner. The ISO 14001:25 environmental certificate was awarded to igus Germany in mid-April and to igus Korea in May. Energy saving targets of at least 10% are the next step.

igus meets challenging time through substantial equity, cost savings and digitisation
Even though igus is aware that planning is difficult at the moment, the company is still sticking to long term investments, as Frank Blase added, “The losses in sales and costs needed to overcome the crisis are severe. A general change for the better is currently difficult to predict. However, we have saved a large amount of equity for such exceptional periods. And we're tackling all the costs." Short-time work was announced in some countries, but not in Germany. "We want to minimise the impact on our employees as much as possible. And we must continue to make decisive investments in the future."
The high level of investment in digitisation is also continuing. The company brought 8 additional service life simulators and online tools to the web in 2019 alone, for example for gears, rollers and shafts, as well as the RBTX platform for low-cost robotics. In the meantime, 38 online tools can be used free of charge and without registration. Frank Blase summed up, “Both sample projects, new construction and digitisation, have a common focus: the customer should get his motion plastics solutions quickly, easily and reliably. This is an important goal particularly at this time, which we repeatedly emphasise in our daily crisis meetings.”

To make your virtual online visit to igus trade show, please click HERE

igus GmbH is a global leading manufacturer of energy chain systems and polymer plain bearings. The Cologne-based family business has offices in 35 countries and generated a turnover of €764 million (US$830 million) from motion plastics and plastic components for moving applications.
 
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