How Igus moving plastic components are enabling medtech innovation

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Advanced plastic components maker Igus sees more medical sector opportunities. Here’s how its e-chains, bearings and linear systems are enabling innovation. 

Igus headquarters

Igus’s headquarters and manufacturing plant in Cologne, Germany. [Image courtesy of Grimshaw Architects]

Igus – maker of advanced plastic components including e-chain cable carriers, bearings and linear systems – has its main medical customers in Europe. But that could soon change.

The company plans to sell to more medical customers in the U.S., Harald Nehring, Igus’s VP and head of global industry management, recently told Medical Design & Outsourcing.

“At the moment, we have one industry manager on medical technology, and we are looking for more  like that so we extend the range. We want to offer the special medical technology consulting worldwide [and] more in-depth,” Nehring said. (Igus hosted trade press on a visit in October to its Cologne, Germany headquarters and manufacturing facility – as well as side trips to highlight innovative uses of its products.)

When it comes to Igus’s e-chains, they can provide a customized solution for any moving piece of medical equipment (or medical device manufacturing equipment) attached to multiple cables. Think MRIs, X-ray systems and more. They reduce downtime because they increase the service life of cables and hoses, can be customized for various types of motions and installations, and are cleanroom suitable.

“Our e-chain systems you can find in every device where a big linear or rotary movement is needed… We have a big advantage because we are non-magnetic with all materials, compared to metal competitor products, which in in MRI equipment is a big advantage,” said Nehring, who added the caveat that the company so far not offers systems that come into contact with blood or tissue below the epidermis in the long term directly, e.g. implants.

Igus bearings and linear systems also offer advantages because they have smooth movement and are durable and self-lubricating – enabling easy-to-adjust hospital beads, surgery tables and more.  They’re resistant to acid, alkaline and alcohol cleaning agents. They’re also easy to clean and can be produced with FDA and E.U. compatible materials.

Both Igus e-chains and bearings are also finding uses in 3D printers, with potential opportunities in medical device manufacturing.

Here are three ways Igus components are already enabling innovation in the medical sector:

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Founding editor Paul Dvorak contributed to this report. 

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