Smart plastics make maintenance intelligent

07 September 2019

igus’ smart plastics are now able to monitor the health of energy chains, cables and bearings.

For energy chains, integrating sensors at the pin/bore connection between the links measures abrasion and wear status. Sensors are also used to detect breakages and monitor the push/pull forces being applied. By networking with the igus communication module (, these sensors can be integrated into the IT infrastructure; production management systems, such as SCADA and MES; or online into cloud solutions.

The is programmed with initial service life algorithms based on igus configuration tools and at the customer's request can be operated offline. The user can, therefore, decide how the module is connected and how the data is managed, while establishing a balance between runtime maximisation and IT security. If online connection is chosen, the service life information is continuously compared with that on the igus cloud, which enables maximum machine run time with a minimum risk of failure. 

igus performs 10 billion annual test cycles of energy chains and cables and the results are incorporated into its free service life calculator. In this way, it is possible to predict how long an e-chain will work reliably in the respective machine application. With isense components, the service life is continually updated as each update takes into account the current ambient conditions of the application. This information can be viewed on the screen of the machine control system and if an online connection is chosen an SMS or e-mail can provide the maintenance team the relevant details if unexpected operating states occur or maintenance is required. 

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