The Benefits of 3D Printed Grippers

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is considered one of the biggest trends in industrial innovation, and with more and more companies turning to the plastic manufacturing process as a solution, igus® explores the main benefits of 3D printed grippers.

igus® has been supplying tribologically-optimised 3D printing filaments for the Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) process specifically for printing parts for six years. A year into the FDM service, igus® launched an SLS material. The company has continued to develop and release materials ever since. Parts such as bearings, wear pads and more recently, mechanical grippers are a few examples of 3D printed components. The grippers are becoming increasingly popular by demand. They are used for attaching lids to jars and can have a very restricted, “closed/open” dexterity. A newly designed gripper to match existing products can take weeks to design and manufacture and has high costs involved. Until now.

With more and more companies turning to 3D printing as a solution, igus® explores the main benefits of 3D printed grippers.

The robust 3D printed polymer grippers are made of igus® tribo-filaments. These can be manufactured 85% cheaper and 70% faster than traditional machined aluminium parts. This is crucial for the high-volume packaging industry who are reaping the benefits of additive manufacturing. With accurate CAD data of the product, it is easy to manufacture wearing parts such as mechanical grippers using an additive process.

iglidur 3D printing filaments: 50 times more wear-resistant than standard materials

The igus® filaments are made from self-lubricating, high-performance iglidur® materials which are optimised for wear and friction.

Using iglidur® materials means almost every component of the gripper is flexible, and it can slide over surfaces like shafts and pins. Metallic gripper parts must be fitted with separate bearings or lubricated in the application, however, by using iglidur® materials this is eliminated.

Using 3D printed iglidur | 150, enables companies to save up to 85% of the cost and 70% of the manufacturing time, compared to the previous aluminium grippers. The printed polymer grippers are also seven times lighter than conventional metal grippers. Compared to standard printable materials, igus® high-performance polymers are up to 50 times more wear-resistant and can be processed on virtually all standard 3D printers.

3D print grippers suitable for Food & Packaging industry

Besides its ease of use, iglidur | 150’s key feature is that it is compliant with EU Regulation 10/2011 for safe contact with food. With this certification, customers can also use the versatile tribo-filament to print special parts for moving applications in direct contact with foodstuffs, beverages and cosmetics.

In addition to iglidur | 150, igus® offers five further filaments for printing low-friction, wear-resistant parts in a wide variety of applications. Designing and ordering your own 3D printed component is simple.

The request will either send a formal offer or an online order is placed. Using SLS printing, igus® can produce complex special parts very quickly up to a height of 300 millimetres; mechanical or casting technologies could only produce this using expensive tools.

2K printing:

Although igus® are currently printing the grippers in two separate pieces and fixing together with a mechanical fix feature and an adhesive, there are ways of using a dual-headed printer to achieve the same result.

To assist you with a gripper enquiry, igus® need to have the step file or drawing of your part, and/or a physical example, and an idea of what materials to select; FDA, shore hardness information for the rubber.

If you have a component you want to 3D print, visit

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igus UK
01604 677240

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