When we developed the first high-performance plastics for movement, the topic environmental protection was admittedly not our main focus. We wanted to develop products that drove our clients' manufacturing. They should improve technology and reduce costs. Even at the beginning, recycling was already an important topic but now we reuse 99% of plastic waste by processing it to make granulate material and feeding this material back into the production process.
Today we know that products that last longer and do not require lubrication contribute to preserving our environment. No lubricants means less environmental pollution. Less abrasion means less pollution with microplastics. Less weight means less energy required for movement.
As producer of special plastics, we have clients in industry and in the sensitive area of medicine. We are aware of our responsibility and the possibilities, which plastic offers in many areas compared to steel. And we continue to research into new materials and products. For our clients and for our environment.
Our products are particularly durable and have to be replaced with new ones more rarely. This means that our customers have the advantage that their machines run without maintenance for a long time.
Our plastics are tribologically optimised, i.e. they cause less friction. Hence, less energy is required and less microabrasion pollutes the environment.
Our bearing technology does not require additional lubrication. This does not only keep the application clean, it also avoids pollution of the environment with lubricating oil, up to 500,000 tons of which end up in the environment every year. And that in Germany alone.
Since the company was founded, we have been recycling our plastics ourselves and process about 99% into granules, which are then used for production.
Not having to replace the entire application when wear occurs was one of the leading ideas when we developed our exchange bearings for linear guides. The practical advantage: The rail is not damaged and the bearing housing can be reused. This conserves resources - and simultaneously results in lower costs.
Components are not replaced until they have reached the end of their product life cycle - this is the idea behind our smart plastics product range. Sensors indicate wear and parts are replaced when really necessary; resources are utilised carefully and rationally.
Plastics are lighter than steel and save weight and therefore also energy that has to be used for movement. In an aeroplane, this amounts to roughly 4kg if iglidur plain bearings are used instead of DU bushings. This again positively impacts kerosene consumption.
With iglidur N54 we have developed a standard plain bearing that can be used universally and consists largely of renewable raw materials. The bearing of biopolymers demonstrates that components can be sustainable and motivates us in our future product development.
We are continuously looking for better solutions, better materials, better product properties. Therefore, our test lab is an inherent part of our product development. But apart from our products there are still many things that we can do to protect our environment and contribute to sustainability. Where new injection moulding machines are to be used in production, we pay greater attention to energy consumption and use models that consume 40% less energy than the existing ones.
the chainge: The recycling program for igus energy chains. We take back old energy chains, irrespective of their manufacturer. The customer that returns them is given an igus voucher based on the value of the material.
In order to make our environmental policy transparent and comprehensible, we are certified according to ISO standard 14001, a recognised basis for environmental management systems. This helps us on our way towards a CO2-neutral factory.
The Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor technology can be used to recycle plastic waste to mineral oil within only 20 minutes. In order to support the circular economy of plastics, igus has now invested EUR 4.7 million in a company that plans to start up the first commercial Cat-HTR plant.
With our clean igus programme, we are working to ensure that our plastics do not end up as waste in production, but are collected and recycled.
With the creation of large new areas of trees, the aim is to help reduce CO2 pollution in the atmosphere.
We have started a task force that works on projects dealing with environmental protection in our company.