Jul 26, 2017 | By Julia

German 3D printed plastics manufacturer Igus has officially forayed into the world of 3D food printing. The Cologne-based company has just announced the official certification of their iglidur I150 Tribo filament for use in the food industry, according to EU regulations.

Up until now, this special filament was applied chiefly to the 3D printing of slip bearings and gears. With this new food-safe certification, however, a new world of possibilities could open up between applications in the machine industry and the food industry.

While the iglidur I150 Tribo filament is not designed to be edible in and of itself, this lubricant-free filament has now been deemed safe for contact with food. Thus, the key is in the product’s versatility: iglidur I150 can be processed on any 3D printer with an extruder temperature set to 250 degrees. Users can bypass the need for a heated circuit board as well, as the high-performance plastic has a very low contraction rate. In other words, special components for the food industry (including bearings and gears) can be produced quickly and cost effectively using the iglidur I150 Tribo filament, without the risk of toxicity.

Recent test results in the Igus lab showed that the iglidur I150 displayed a much higher wear resistance (in some cases, up to 50 times higher) as compared with traditional 3D printing materials. According to Tom Krause, Product Manager for Tribo Filaments at Igus, the iglidur I150 is one of the company’s easiest Tribo filaments to work with. The absence of lubrications and maintenance are two of the biggest selling points, effectively opening up a large number of product applications. 3D printed food may be only the beginning.

Geared specifically towards producers of complex moving components that are subject to wear and tear, the iglidur I150 performs particularly well where permanent load or chemical resistance is required. Along with Igus’ five other lubricant and maintenance-free Tribo filaments, the food safe iglidur I150 is available for custom order, making it ideal for specialized equipment only produced in small series.

As the burgeoning industry of 3D printing food continues to loom overhead, the Igus announcement reminds us that we must look beyond questions of palate and taste. Additive manufacturing systems themselves must be rethought, right down to individual components and filaments. And with the I150 Tribo filament already generating considerable buzz, it’s safe to bet that it won’t be long before we see more 3D printed plastics companies getting in on the food printing game.



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



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