Driving Through the Sonoran Desert

Leaving Las Vegas, it was time for the Motion Plastics® car and team to head to Arizona to visit more customers!

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Driving from Sin City to Phoenix, the car tour headed south on 93 which runs directly over the Hoover Dam and through a 74 miles stretch of Joshua Trees. This stretch is known as “Joshua Tree Parkway of Arizona”.

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The igus® car driving over the Hoover Dam

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Joshua Trees got their name from Mormon settlers who thought the shape reminded them of the bushy-bearded biblical leader, Joshua.

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The Mormon settlers did not realize at the time the “Joshua Trees” are actually members of the agave family, making them plants.

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Arriving in Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, for only a night, the team decided to take a brief walking tour through the City.

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Phoenix is situated in the Sonoran Desert which is often called the “Valley of the Sun”, known for the clear, sunny skies, hot, dry days and cool nights.

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It also has the most structurally diverse flora in the United States. Giant saguaro cacti, agave plants, and palms trees blanket the desert for hundreds of miles.

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The area is home to mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, rattle snakes, and hundreds of other animals who survive in the extreme desert weather.

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Phoenix also boasts a large number of abstract and figurative sculptures which are scattered through the downtown area, including ceramic tiled murals, figures posing in various dance poses, and a giant suspended vortex which is lit up at night.

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Outside Phoenix the team visited a company that designs and builds laser work stations for medical products.

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The customer is currently using E-Chain®, but had not previously used iglide® or DryLin® products.

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Exploring different options the design team was impressed with the smooth quality of DryLin® N linear slides for automated doors, and also looked into utilizing lead screws on a work Station.

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One customer got creative at a visit and tried our chip clips as earrings. They look good right?

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Continuing to build a positive relationship with this company, the owner said he was interested in using more igus® components in all of their products.

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After a few other visits with customers the car moved onto the next destination; Tucson, Arizona!

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Like Phoenix, Tucson is also located in the Sonora Desert. Tucson is surrounded by five mountain ranges, and gets an average of 350 days of sunshine a year!

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Visited by the Paleo-Indians up to 12,000 years ago, the city has a strong Native American culture, as well as a strong sense of Mexican influence (located only 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexican border).

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Both cultures play into the artwork, architecture, food, and arts represented in the city, including large outdoor murals and sculptures, tiles, pottery, jewelry stores, museums, and galleries.

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This gives many of the neighborhoods an eclectic vibe which lends itself to delicious food based on the blending heritages represented in the City.

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In Tucson the tour went to visit a company that machines automotive components using materials such as duplex steels, fiberglass and mesh.

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Some mechanical engineers were not very familiar with igus®, and upon seeing the products immediately began to think of new ways to use the variety of products available.

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One mechanical engineer was thrilled to see the flexibility of Triflex® TRE and wanted to test it on some of their robots.

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Meanwhile, the ease with which dryspin® and DryLin® products glide inspired various uses for the different applications engineers were working to develop.

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After visiting more customers near Tucson, the igus® car and team were headed to the next state on the list which is also known as “The Lone Star State”—Texas!

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Thanks for reading,

Kayla & Bridgette

 

 

Sin City, Valley of Fire, and Red Rocks

After a break for the holiday season, the igus® car tour was ready to hit the road! Beginning in Las Vegas, NV, everyone was eager to kick off in the Southwestern region with some more adventure.

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To start, the car took in The Las Vegas Strip for the second time.

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“The Strip” is an iconic 4-mile stretch of bright lights and flashing signs. It’s known for its 24-hour casinos, ornate themed hotels, clubs, ritzy restaurants, elaborate shows, and buzzing energy.

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Fountains of Bellagio at the Bellagio Hotel

2016 is the centennial year for the United States National Parks Service. The National Parks have often been called “America’s best idea” and began when President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill in 1916 creating an agency to conserve the parks.

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The tour landed in the Southwest right at the start of the centennial year, making it the perfect time to visit the parks! The Southwest is home to the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Death Valley!

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The car tour visited the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park the first tour through the U.S., so this time was spent visiting other parks.

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The car’s first Southwestern adventure was to Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area.

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It is a world away from the lavish lights of Las Vegas, featuring 197,000 acres of internationally acclaimed rock-climbing, mountain biking, and geological features, as well as diverse wildlife, and Native American encampments.

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The igus® team spotted long horn sheep on their way out of the park!

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A 13-mile scenic loop displays panoramic views of milky-white limestone, alternating with iron-rich red sandstone, each brightly contrasting each other in a rainbow of rocky forms.

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Driving further into the park the mountains become solid limestone, leading to evergreen forest –an unexpected sight in the desert.

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The conservation area is also a protected habitat for the Desert Tortoise, one of which lives at the visitor’s center and is considered the park mascot. The tortoise is named Mojave Max.

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Ready for another park, the car took a trip to Valley of Fire State Park, which is well-known for it’s slot canyons, arches, and unique geological formations.

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Many of the rocks in the valley are a deep rust color, formed from shifting desert sands over 150 million years ago which have since eroded to create the present-day landscape.

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Other rock formations are pink, cream, red, and even white in color, and at certain vista points visitors can admire a multi-colored backdrop stretching for miles.

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Some visitors say the rocks appear to be on fire when it’s very sunny, reflecting the sun’s powerful desert rays.

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The igus® car was feeling very adventurous at Valley of Fire and drove between these two rock formations for a picture

Average high temperatures in the summer reach over 100° Fahrenheit (37°C).

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As the team hiked through the park, many rocks which lined the trails were jagged and rough, opposing the occasionally smooth surface of certain rock formations, which are curved and rounded by millions of years of erosion.

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One example of this phenomenon is the “Fire Wave”, a formation made up of red sand and paler limestone which rounds and curves as if it is moving.

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The trail allows visitors to climb some of the rocks, and the team took the chance to climb up onto some of the steep formations.

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The igus® team stayed until the park closed and got to see the moonrise over the rocks before leaving.

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After lots of exploring, the igus® car was ready to meet more customers!

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Our igus® car made a friend at one of our Nevada customers!

The tour and technical sales team met with a company that manufactures rough terrain construction lifts as well as modular buildings called “cubes”.

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This customer is using Chainflex® on all of their new projects, and one engineer shared his personal experience working on an important project overseas, when he discovered that igus® had the only cable that worked.

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The engineers and team also found an opportunity to use iglide® bearings in the hinges and DryLin® on some slides of the company’s modular buildings.

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The next visit for the Motion Plastics Car Tour was an exciting change of pace. The team visited the University of Las Vegas (UNLV), where many students were gearing up for their spring semester.

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Driving the car through the buzzing campus created curiosity amongst the students. It must not be every day a little orange car zips down the sidewalks of UNLV!

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Even more curiosity arose once the team set up the traveling trade show. Many professors, medical, biology, mechanical and electrical engineering students stopped by to visit the booth.

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The igus® technical sales team gave away lots of samples and let students know that they can receive free products for upcoming engineering projects.

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This seemed to energize many students who were beginning to work on projects for the end of the semester.

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By the end of the visit, the team had spoken to dozens of students who walked away motivated to learn more about using igus® components in the future.

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The next stop for the car was Arizona!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla & Bridgette

Northern California- Mountains, Forests, Land, and Sea

Arriving in California, the igus® car began it’s three-week-journey with a visit to one of the most iconic parks in the United States—Yosemite National Park! Located in Northern California, in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, Yosemite is visited by 3.8 million people annually, covering 747,956 acres.

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View of the valley with Half Dome in the distance Read more…

Colorado and the Rockies

November 9th-13th

The next stop for the igus® car was Denver, Colorado, also known as the mile-high city because it’s State Capitol Building is exactly one mile, (5,280 feet) above sea Level.

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Denver is located in the gentle plains, which leads to the Rocky Mountains—the largest mountain range in North America, and the second largest range in the world.

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The igus® car received a small make-over between the Midwest and Colorado. The car’s new eye-catching addition, a set of Lamborghini doors, now allows the doors to open vertically, as well as horizontally. The doors have been a very popular attraction with our customers, especially with the automotive industry.

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The first stop the igus® car tour made was to an OEM of convertible tops and other automotive parts. As a current customer already familiar with igus®, many employees—including the company’s new CEO came to visit the car.

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The igus® technical sales team and engineers were able to discuss the potential for new projects and further opportunities for collaboration.

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Their marketing department was also very curious about the igus® car’s world tour, and said they were inspired to contemplate starting a similar car tour of their own!

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The next visit was to a current customer, an OEM of Laser Engravers. The area was very windy, and our tent almost blew away, but the engineers and employees were still excited to see the igus® car and visit the booth.

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Opportunities arose for projects involving DryLin® W, lead screws, and a custom iglide® flange nut. There are also exciting prospects for E-Chain® and ReadyChain at this Company.

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The third customer visit in Colorado was the morning after a snowstorm. The cars were covered in 5 inches of snow. Luckily the weather warmed up and the snow melted by the time the visit started.

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The visit was to an OEM of packaging equipment, which is used primarily in the injection molding industry. Several potential projects were discussed, including opportunities for DryLin® W and R, and Chainflex® CFPE.

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The next stop was to a customer which designs analyzers for the medical industry. Engineers and designers were enthusiastic about various opportunities, as they have had great success with igus® products in the past.

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Many possibilities were discussed, such as DryLin® T on a new analyzer, potential for DryLin® W on an agricultural project, and an E-Chain® E-2 Micro application.

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Next, the igus® car had a busy visit at a company that manufactures drive-through car-washes. Four E-Chains® are already successfully in use on these car washes.

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One gantry system is used, and moves horizontally across the top of the machine, feeding the water line.

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Two E-Chains® are used as support chains, feeding electrical and chemical lines.

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The final application along the side of the car wash feeds the entire car wash. As engineers took interest in various products, they spoke about an application for DryLin®, as well as potential for the use of igus® ReadyChain.

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The final stop in Colorado was to a small company which makes adjustable ergonomic work stations for call Centers.

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Their young and energetic team was very enthusiastic, and spoke about creative applications which would help their clients move about during the work day. Once again the engineers were very interested in DryLin® N and W.

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Heading north into the Teton Mountains, the car’s next stop was Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Thanks for reading,

Kayla and Bridgette

Minnesota

October 26th-30th.

In Minnesota the igus® car continued to make visits as the weather got colder. The first visit was to a manufacturer of credit cards, driver’s licenses, passports, and company badges. The mechanical engineers were very enthusiastic and familiar with igus® products because they currently use small E-Chains® in their machines.

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The technical sales team recognized great potential for Chainflex® and the company’s electrical engineers were impressed that igus® fiber optic cables are rated for continuous flex, as they often use fiber optics in their products. They were also excited to learn that the sales team they met with was local and could easily meet to discuss potential projects and uses for igus® products.

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In addition the company will be redesigning one of their products utilizing DryLin® N rails and carriages in the near future. Other engineers expressed interest in custom applications, new E-Chain® E7 liners, DryLin® and igubal® products.

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The igus® car also visited a manufacturer of cardiovascular, spinal and neurosurgery MRI and CT imaging equipment. They currently purchase our iglide® 240 series, B17 and 27i E-Chains® and control cables.

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Many engineers were very engaged with the Chainflex® samples displayed and potential advantages for their applications.

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The Robolink® display was also very popular, sparking new opportunities for applications utilizing iglide® 300 parts and linear bearings, in addition to a PRT application.

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Continuing through Minnesota, the igus® car visited the largest North-American manufacturer of a wide variety of stone working equipment, including CNC saws and routers.

Minnesota.11During this visit, the Midwest winter started to kick in and hail began to fall. The customer had us set up in a weather shelter to avoid the freezing conditions. 

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One of the highlights was meeting their new Vice President of engineering, who attended the event and spent a significant amount of time talking with the technical sales team and looking over the wide range of products igus® offers.

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The VP noticed the potential for fully harnessed Energy Chain® systems for their new sabre saw. There was also a recognized potential for new projects using E7 liners, in addition to DryLin® R, PRT, and slide tables.

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The next visit was to a manufacturer of packaging equipment where iglide® and some E-Chain® products are currently in use. The technical sales team recognized the opportunity for Chainflex® products in the future at this manufacturer, as well as Triflex® which was discussed with engineers visiting the booth.

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A number of new projects were generated for iglide® products utilizing DryLin® R, Xiros products, PRT, and various slide tables.

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The last visit in Minnesota was to a systems engineering firm specializing in automated manufacturing and material handling equipment. This long-time customer recently installed a robot in a commercial setting which interacts directly with customers to deliver products on demand (in 30 seconds!) using E-Chain®.

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During the visit, applications for an articulating robot project and vending machines were discussed, along with applications for ReadyCables, E-spool, slide tables, and a high temperature application for iglide® X6 bearings.

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As the winter began to descend upon Minnesota, the igus® car saw some snow, and started to drive West, toward the Rocky Mountains. Next stop; Denver, Colorado!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

Wisconsin

October 19th-October 22nd.

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The first traveling trade show in Wisconsin, was a joint visit with two customers in attendance. The first is a technology development and product design firm. They currently use igus® E2 and all iglide® products. Two new potential projects were recognized with one of the customers. The first is a ReadyCable application, and the second would utilize the Triflex® R RSE-40 retraction system, to be used on a medical device they are Engineering.

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The second company is a security and audio video integrator who is not a current customer, but have experienced cable management challenges and took an interest in our Triflex® TRL and E-Spool.

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They were also interested in a project for Drylin® telescoping slides, which would be used to pull drawers out of cabinets for a robot pick and place system. There was also interest in gantry systems. This company was keen on the idea that they can do their own programming to suit their specific needs instead of buying from other suppliers that already have the programming paired with the System.

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One of the engineers mentioned that PRT tables, iglide®, and DryLin® products would be of particular use for custom security camera applications the company designs.

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The second visit was to a manufacturer in automated machinery used to make residential glass for windows and doors. They took an interest in Chainflex® M for non-flexing applications, Triflex® R for Robo Sealer, and twisterband for sealer machines. Some of the engineers also realized the advantages of iglide® and igubal® for conveyor applications.

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Another highlight from this visit was a meeting between our technical sales and assembly employees who had questions regarding the use of our products with their applications.

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The traveling trade show also visited a plasma cutting machine company, which mainly uses igus® E-Chain® and Chainflex® products. Two new potential projects were recognized as a result of the visit for E-Chain® and Chainflex®. The first is a project for an RSE application into a TwisterBand, and the second is an opportunity for a drive cable.

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The igus® car then visited an internationally acclaimed/recognized medical company, which provides medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, and performance solutions Services.

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igus® is currently assisting in their design for a new generation model of their main MRI machine. The visit also triggered a new Triflex® R opportunity.

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An engineer who stopped by the booth, inquired about high-speed material in addition to our Xiros product line. We provided material data for iglide® L500 and L250 materials.

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Continuing through the state as the cold weather began to set in, the igus® car visited a robot integration company that currently uses E-Chain® and iglide® products.

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During the visit an E-Spool application came to light as well as a potential application for Chainflex® cables, lead screws and belt drive tables, for manually positioning sensors inside a bagging machine.

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Some of the engineers also took interest in DryLin® Q and PRT tables.

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Finishing off it’s visit to Wisconsin the igus® car had the privilege of visiting a leader in American motorcycle manufacturing, popular around the world.

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Two projects resulted from this visit, including a project for foot levers using iglide® JSM-1416-20, which would be used in manufacturing 38,000 motorcycle models a year, using two bushings per motorcycle.

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The second potential project is for in-house fixtures using igus® lead screw tables.

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Next the igus® car moved onto Minnesota!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

Illinois

Illinois – 10/12-10/16

After stopping in to see the sights in Chicago, the car visited six igus® customers as it traveled around Illinois, including manufacturers of fitness equipment, food packaging technology, and automatic assembly Systems.

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One of our first stops was a visit with a manufacturer of automotive robotic cells, which has been using our Triflex® multi-axis cable carriers, and was one of the first users of our new Triflex® RSE retraction system. igus® self-lubricating linear systems are also being used by the company on some automated machinery for a car manufacturer.

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Next, we stopped by a gantry system manufacturer which caters to the aerospace and auto industries. Recently, this customer, which has been purchasing igus® Chainflex® cables for years, has started ordering fully-harnessed ReadyCable® systems, which include the cable carrier, cables, connectors, and accessories, all fully tested and ready to plug in. This visit also sparked some new ideas about using DryLin® linear products in a new door application.

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When the car visited Ingersoll Machine Tool, a manufacturer of large scale machine tools used for metal cutting and composition fabrication, the igus® team was given a tour of the facility. igus® E-Chains® are used to guide cables along multiple axes of motion throughout the machine.

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An automatic medical equipment company we stopped by chatted with our product experts about the possibilities of igus® E6 Energy Chains® for use in cleanroom and medical environments, and reviewed the performance of the E2 chains they are already using in their applications.

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A few customers we visited are involved with the food industry, both in processing, and packaging. Both rely on iglide® plastic bearings, which are available in food-safe materials. One of these customers also found new potential for using our Energy Chain® and cables in a new toaster application which would require cable management.

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One of our last visits through Illinois,  we stopped in at a leader in manufacturing fitness equipment, who happen to use iglide® bearings in their machines. Their engineers talked with our team about our new Tribo Tape, a self-lubricating film, for a treadmill application. Another new possibility is for using Energy Chains in the seat of a machine.

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After Illinois, it was up further North to Wisconsin, stay tuned to hear where the car travels next!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

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