iglide on Tour Comes to an end at the Hannover Fair

After 62,283 miles (100,240 km), four continents, over 30 countries and 14 months of travel, iglide on Tour has come to an end.

Just to recap the tour, the car was equipped with 56 of our bearings in a range of different applications including; the convertible top, throttle valve, alternator, window regulator, windshield wiper, handbrake, brake pedal, gear shift and seat adjustment.

The car ended its tour on display at the Hannover (Messe) Fair in Hannover, Germany. Hannover Messe is the world’s biggest industrial fair. Typically there are around 6,500 exhibitors and 250,000 visitors.

As promised, the applications were removed from the car on stage at Hannover and presented to the audience.

The results were as expected; none of the 56 assembled bearings had a trace of wear or tear.

The individual bearings weren’t dismantled from their individual components because of the danger of damaging them, but they were examined by igus experts and they all were working properly.

The car received high attention at the fair. 44 top journalists from engineering and automation media joined the press conference about the tour. People were even seen taking selfies with the car.

The car has traveled through extreme conditions while on tour; deserts and potholes in India, dirt and mud highways of Alaska, 80% humidity in Iowa, winter in the Netherlands and the congested streets of some of the biggest cities in the world (NYC, Chicago, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro and Beijing.) It traveled by boat, by plane and even via helicopter to make it to all of its destinations. This tour truly put the bearings to the test.  Our bearings were able to withstand all of these different environments to prove that plastic bushings are not only equal, but better than metal.

The iglide car has been re-retrofitted with new bearings and is free to be used to make local customer visits in Germany.

Maybe the car will come back to the U.S. for another visit?

Stay tuned!

Across Eastern Europe

We’ve been spending our time tracking along Eastern Europe, taking in the cold weather and the beautiful scenery along the way. In the Czech Republic, we visited some customers and met up with the eForce Prague Formula team, who organized a race against the iglide car, take a look at the vehicles involved and see if you can guess who won!

Across Eastern Europe

Guess again – in an unlikely (more like straight lucky!) turn of events, the eForce Formula car had a small technical error, leading iglide to victory!!

No competitors here – just friends!

After the race, we spent some time with our customers, showing them the iglide car and explaining about our whirlwind journey – its hard to believe that our little car has now been on the road for a year, and has crossed the 80,000 km mark!

Across Eastern Europe.2

Next up, we hit the road for Trencin, Slovakia, along with our colleague, Martin who joined in for the ride. Unfortunately, we had to cancel plans for the afternoon as heavy snow started piling up, making it impossible to continue! We decided to turn back to our hotel, which was only a few kilometers down the road, but took us nearly an hour to reach!

Across Eastern Europe.3

After the snow subsided, we took some time to see the sights in Slovakia, including Nitra Castle – built in the 11th century!!

Across Eastern Europe.4

From Nitra, we drove South to Hungary, beginning our tour of the country in Dunakiliti, a small village in the Northeastern tip of the country. There, we visited automotive customers, and Pannonhalma Archabbey, the second largest abbey of it’s kind. From Dunakiliti, it was off to Budapest, Hungary’s capital. The city’s amazing illuminated skyline stopped us in our tracks in the evening, and you can clearly see why!

Across Eastern Europe.5

Where to next? Stay tuned to find out where iglide on tour is due to travel!

Until then,

Karl

Giving back before moving forward!

As we finished our Scandinavian leg of our tour, we had to take the time to make our donations to organizations in our participating countries. First up was Sweden, where €2355, or $2727, was donated to “Frihamnen – Hemlösas Hus,” or Homeless Houses Freeport, which provides help for homeless people, and works to eliminate homelessness from Sweden. Mr. Anderberg (3rd from the left in the photo below), the organization’s chairman, joined us to accept the donation.

Next was Norway, where igus GmbH and our Norwegian distributor ASI Automatikk donated to a local children’s hospital. We drove 910 km across Norway, which we rounded up to 1,000, then donated 20 Norwegian Krones for each, coming to a total donation of 20,000 NOK, or $2,630. With the money, the hospital can expand their playground, and purchase some new toys for their patients!  (from L to R: Geir Berven (ASI Automatikk AS), Elmar Reder (igus GmbH), Grete Nygård Spilling (nurse), Kjellfrid Tolfsen (nurse), Turid Stadheim (nurse), Karl Weinmeister (iglide on tour).

After making our donations to these great organizations and sadly removing our local moose decal, it was time to leave our Scandinavian hosts and head toward Szczecin, Poland.

With Poland’s head of iglide bearings, Marcin (Martin to some of us!), as our giude, we set out to explore beautiful Poland for the first time, such as the Europe’s largest wooden pier in the seaside town of Sopot, where we took some time to explore the local area.

We also had some time to take in some local historical sights. We visited the European Solidarity Center, as well as a section of the incredibly massive Malbork Castle, the largest castle by surface area in the world!

(top: Malbork Castle, bottom: European Solidarity Center)

We’ll keep you updated as we continue along the road!

-Karl

Snowy Sweden and Denmark

We arrived in Sweden very early in the morning on just a few hours sleep to meet with Dirk Schaar, editor of the German Magazine MDA Technologies, and Oliver Cyrus, igus’ head of PR and Advertising, who both joined in on the drive. Our first stop was the Swedish capital, Stockholm. We visited Riksdag, which is Sweden’ house of parliament, and the stopped by the Stockholm Palace, or Sveriges Kungahus, the official residence of the Swedish royal family.

Top: Nils, Dirk Schaar (MDA Technologies), Karl, Oliver Cyrus (PR and Advertising at igus), Sandor.  Bottom: The iglide car at the back of the Sveriges Kungahus.

Being in Sweden, it seemed essential that we stop by the ABBA museum as well! 😉

Being in Scandinavia for this part of our tour, we had decorated the iglide car with a sticker of a moose, but over the weekend we had a chance to get up-close and personal with the popular animals at an “Älgsafari” or a moose safari!

We had a lot of fun, but had to get moving to finish up our tour of Sweden and make it back to Denmark. We spent the next day in Copenhagen to do some sightseeing – it was tough, as we were looking for a landmark only 4 feet tall!

We found her! Den lille havfrue (The Little Mermaid) in Copenhagen

In the city center, we had hoped to visit Tivoli, one of the world’s most famous amusement parks. Unfortunately, the park and its surrounding gardens are closed for renovations until the spring. We did, however, find Amalienborg, the winter home of the Danish royal family, where we took a final group photo with Dirk and Oliver before they left home for Germany.

Snowy Sweden and DenmarkRelaxing the the Amalienborg octagonal courtyard

Stay tuned to know where we head next!

-Karl, Nils, and Sandor

New Year, New Travels!

We took a short break to celebrate the Holidays in Germany with our families, but reunited to ring in the New Year in Berlin!

New Year, New Travels! New Year, New Travels!2

We then took off North from Berlin to Denmark –  one of the oldest continuous monarchies in the world, considered to be the happiest country on Earth, and also one of the world’s largest exporters of wind turbines, with more than a third of the country’s power provided by wind!

New Year, New Travels!3Welcome to Denmark!

That same wind that powers the country was so high that we had no choice but to take the ferry out of Frederikshavn, an important harbor town in the Northern tip of Denmark. The ferry took us through the North Sea under very high winds, with waves as high as 20 feet!  While the iglide car was tucked safely below deck, two of my colleagues got a bit seasick and had to take cover as well. More to come as we make our way into Norway!

New Year, New Travels!4

Until next time,

Karl

Travels Through Switzerland

As iglide on tour’s time in Switzerland wrapped up, we celebrated the anniversaries of igus and iglide at the Swiss headquarters. The team donated two Swiss Francs per kilometer driven, totaling 3,182 CHF, or $3,295 based on our travel.

Travels Through SwitzerlandGilbert Giger of the VEBO Cooperative receives a check from Lutz Alof, CEO of igus Switzerland. 

igus Switzerland wanted to support a local organization, and found the VEBO Cooperative in Oensingen, in the northern part of Switzerland. VEBO is an association that helps handicapped people, and provides them with accessible workshops, opening the doors for employment.

In addition, igus Switzerland also donated 30 kgs of rice to celebrate the 30 years of iglide, and also to help the VEBO staff canteen, which feeds all its employees.

Travels Through Switzerland.2The people of VEBO were very pleased to meet the iglide car as Urs Trösch, the Director of the Service Department, receives the donation from Lutz Alof.

From VEBO, the tour took off from Switzerland to Germany, where we will spend a few days before our Christmas and New Year’s break. In total, we drove 1,125 miles and and spent a great week in Switzerland.

Travels Through Switzerland.3Crossing the border into Germany

Back in Germany, we visited the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. It was originally built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a Middle Ages-inspired private retreat. However, when the king died before the castle was fully completed, and it quickly became a popular tourist destination. Over a million people visit the castle every year, making it one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations. The castle even became a symbol for the Romantic artistic era, and served as the model of Sleeping Beauty’s castle of Disneyland fame.

Travels Through Switzerland.4Two famous structures – one large, one small.

Stay tuned to see where we head next!

Karl, Nils, and Sandor

Photos of the day!

Where would be the best spot in Switzerland for a press conference? How about the top of the Schilthorn – the nearly 10,000 feet high summit in the Bernese Alps?!

Perfect!

Now… how do we get the iglide car up there?

Helicopter?

Helicopter!

…And before we knew it…

Photos of the day!The iglide car carrives at a platform 9,744 feet above sea level

With all the wind, the car lost its tiny hood in flight! No big deal – all the bearings are still where they’re supposed to be!

Photos of the day!.2New hood on order and 56 plastic bearings still intact! 

Both Swiss journalists and members of igus’ team in Switzerland participated in the event, and were more than a little surprised at the choice of venue!

Photos of the day!.3

And not to be left out, the dry-tech box joined us to take in the unbelievable views from above the fog.

Photos of the day!.4

The iglide car’s tour de France

We have finished iglide on tour’s “Tour de France,” finishing the route in Strasbourg – the official seat of the European Parliament. After the final customer visits, there was a tragic accident, where the iglide car was sliced clean in half!

The iglide car's tour de FranceA buttercream car cake – delicious!! 

While in France, we took the time to see a few of the local sights, including the massive 100 foot tall Christmas tree in Strasbourg’s central square, Place Kléber.

The iglide car's tour de France.2

Not too far away was the “Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg,” the sixth-tallest church in the world, and one of the world’s most famous examples of Gothic-era architechture. The cathedral is massive – 466 feet tall, and the tallest building still in existence built entirely in the Middle Ages.

The iglide car's tour de France.3

Check back to see where in the world iglide on tour heads next!

Photo of the Day-18

Déjà vu! The iglide car had seen the Statue of Liberty in New York City over the summer, and now again in Paris!

There are actually four replicas of the statue across Paris, including this one near the Grenelle Bridge on the Île aux Cygnes, a man-made island in the Seine River. This replica of Lady Liberty, which was a gift to America from France in the late 1800’s, stands just under 38 feet high, and faces Southeast toward her American sister.

Photo of the Day.00The Statue of Liberty and the dry-tech box – both international superstars! Wink