Since 2019, igus, the motion plastics specialist has been using its chainge recycling programme to give old energy chains a new life. Now, the company is taking things a step further by commencing recycling at the assembly stage itself.
To avoid industrial waste, igus is organising return delivery of worn-out energy chains - and returning them to the material cycle. Sooner or later, every machine and every component reaches the end of its service life. Manufacturing companies then face the question of whether to modernise or acquire new equipment. Sustainability plays an increasingly important role here. After all, according to the Global E-waste Monitors, 53.6 million tons of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019 alone.
A more environmentally friendly upgrade for old machines is the so-called retrofitting: instead of buying new machines, companies can have their existing equipment converted or refurbished so that it meets the latest standards. However, igus says that this does not solve the problem of where to put discarded components.
For new installation, retrofitting or maintenance, igus focusses on recycling instead of disposal - starting way back in assembly planning. The recycling service is offered automatically with each new assembly order at no additional cost.
igus takes care of the scrap material in four simple steps: first, igus removes the worn-out energy chain, then disassembles it into smaller pieces and packs it into Big Bags. Finally, igus also handles the return transport and logistics. The installation coordinator commissions the forwarding company, which collects the discarded energy chains. That way, the customer has only to provide the scrap material for collection and load it. It is then taken away and recycled as part of the igus
chainge programme. This service is offered for both igus e-chains and chains from other manufacturers. Customers receive a voucher based on the weight of the chains. The discarded plastics are separated by type, cleaned and re- granulated so that the material can be reused.
The customer gets everything from a single source (the manufacturer) including a 36-month guarantee on newly installed energy supply systems. This saves installation time and costs. Additionally, says igus, customers benefit from very short downtimes and a longer service life. This means that in the long term, they suffer fewer failures. A special online tool has been developed to enable users to calculate the exact installation time for their energy chain system.
chainge, has so far collected and recycled 32.3 tons of material worldwide. So far, 13 countries have participated in the programme: Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Poland, France, China, Italy, Brazil, Malaysia, Hungary, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Spain - with the majority of returns coming from Germany and China. “We are very pleased that the recycling programme is proving very popular with our customers, and are confident that in 2022, we will be able to at least double what we have achieved so far, “ says Michael Berteit, Engineering Projects and Assembly Service Sales Manager at igus. The programme is aimed at promoting the circular economy.
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