igus Car’s Encore Performance in North America

Rhode Island and Massachusetts:

September 9th-12th

After roughly 11 months of the igus cars’ departure from the U.S., it is back for an encore performance in North America. Already conquering Mexico this past July and August, our igus car is taking on Canada and the U.S. for the next 8-10 months, driving to visit customers and sites it missed last time.

The first week the car arrived in Rhode Island from Mexico, it made local visits in the Massachusetts area, visiting customers in the medical and storage industry.

igus Car's Encore Performance in North America

One of the medical companies uses our DryLin and iglide products in their analytical instruments, genetic and diagnostic testing.

Our Chainflex cables and energy chains are used in the automated sampling storage management systems. These are ultra low temperature storage systems used for medical storage purposes.

The car received an overwhelming amount of attention at the visits. The car even met an employee who was 6’10. He squeezed himself into the igus car and we even had to open the convertible top for his head to fit in the car “comfortably”.

From Rhode Island, the car left for Quebec, Canada and is spending three weeks covering Quebec and Ontario. Stay tuned for the next post from Canada!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

Rio de Janeiro

As we crossed from the Norther to the Southern Hemisphere, we also changed from summer to winter. Even so, it certainly doesn’t feel like winter here in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro

It’s close to 90º, and despite my SPF 50, my entire face is sunburned. Good thing the iglide bearings in the car can handle this heat better than I can – they’re still working perfectly, which isn’t surprising as they’re used so often in harsher environments than these. One of our bearings, iglide T500, can even work in long-term temperatures nearing 500º! Despite the heat, Rio de Janeiro is completely beautiful.

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One of our first customer visits in Brazil was outside Rio, at a factory that manufactures equipment for Brazil and Latin-America’s biggest TV network. At their factory, they were creating a custom chairs for a TV singing competition that will sound familiar to some of our readers. The chairs use igus’ PRT slewing ring bearings to rotate around smoothly, used by the TV show’s ‘singing coaches.’ The coaches will hear the contestants sing – without being able to see them. If interested in working with that contestant, the coaches will rotate their chair around to face them (sounding like any show we have here in the US??) The PRT slewing rings from igus are used because they are almost completely silent, so they will not compromise the sound quality of the TV program, and they are also maintenance-free, so the coaches can turn to face as many potential rock-stars as they want without worry.

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We also had some time to explore a bit of the city, much of which is located between mountains, including the Pao de Acucar, or Sugarloaf Mountain, which rises 1,300 feet above the harbor below.

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If you aren’t feeling quite ready to climb the mountain, you can take a cable-car ride to the summit, where there is a breathtaking view of the City.

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From the top of Pao de Acucar, you can also get a glimpse of the ultimate symbol of Rio de Janeiro, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, located on the peak of Corcovado Mountain.  The 130 foot statue was built to celebrate 100 years of Brazil’s independence from Portugal, celebrated in 1922.  We visited the statue around sunset. The giant amazing statue, coupled with the sky’s changing colors was a sight I don’t think I will ever forget.

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As a tourist in Rio, there are 2 very obvious passions of the Brazilians. Obviously, with the World Cup happening, the first one is football. I found an amazing place to join in the football obsession, at the FIFA Fan Fest at the Copacabana!

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The Copacabana is one of the world’s most famous beaches, and when Brazil’s football team is playing, the Fan Fest extends across the entire thing.

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At the Fan Fest, you can also experience Brazil’s second most notable passion – Samba. Before and after the matches, and throughout the night in the city, you can hear Samba music everywhere. They even have Samba schools throughout the city!

We also came across a Brazilian favela. These neighborhoods are notorious for crime and corruption – until recently many were governed by gangs and criminals instead of Brazilian government. Over the past few years, gangs are starting to be expelled from the area, and local police stations are being built.

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Despite its problems, Rio is a city with many facets, and surely one of the most beautiful cities worldwide.

Soon, we will leave Rio and head South until we reach the Argentinian border.

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Until then,

Sascha

Down into the Japanese Islands

When traveling for thousands of miles like we are, it’s important to have a comfy seat! Worldwide, many manufacturers use iglide bearings to improve their seats’ performance and durability, including a customer we met with along our tour!

Down into the Japanese Islands

Many seat makers are utilizing iglide bearings for the seat height adjustment, reclining functions, crash-active headrests, and adjustment motors.  The bearings are perfect with their smooth motion. We retrofit our orange car with iglide, too. They help keep the seat adjustable without any added noise or mess.

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Depending on the weight of the passenger, the bearings must endure high static loads. With the ability to support 100N/mm2, iglide bearings could carry even the heaviest sumo wrestler across Japan. While they are very strong, the bearings are also very lightweight, weighing in at 7x less than conventional metal bearings.

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Japan is comprised of four large islands, including the mainland, where Tokyo and Hiroshima are located. From the mainland, we continued our tour onto the island of Kyushu, the third largest of the islands.

Kyushu is famous for its hot springs – everywhere you look you see pillars of steam coming from the ground. The number of springs is due to Japan’s unique geography. Japan is situated at the edge of 3 techtonic plates, the Pacific, Phillippine, and Eurasian plates. This not only makes Japan a great location for hot springs, but for volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis.  We took our car to visit Mt. Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan.

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The land surrounding the volcano is extremely fertile, so it becomes very green and lush. The volcano had its last eruption in 2011.

From Mt. Aso, we headed back North; driving about 500 miles straight towards the city of Nagoya. This racks in nearly 2000 miles in our Japanese tour alone!

I’ll let you know where we head from here,

Sascha

Re-introducing the ‘iglide on tour’ car!

Hi everyone! We’ve all been enjoying the exciting journey of our iglide car across India, China, and now traveling onto South Korea. We’ve enjoyed seeing exotic landscapes, interesting customers, and the fun incidents that happen with any road trip, but what about our little orange car?

If you haven’t heard, we at igus are celebrating the 30th anniversary of our iglide self-lubricating plastic bearings. Seeing as this anniversary ties in perfectly with igus’ 50th birthday, we decide to celebrate in style. Our ‘iglide on tour’ car was stripped down entirely, then reassembled before hitting the road, specially retrofit with 56 plastic iglide bearing components to be put to the ultimate test – 60,000 miles in 9 months around the globe.

The bearings our team installed into the car are working in applications from the windshield wipers and window regulators, to the throttle valve and gear shift. From now on, we will continue to follow Sascha and the iglide car on their travels, but also explore more about what those 56 iglide bearings are doing, and why they’re a great solution for cars, trucks, and tons of other applications.

Lets’s take a look at the first place we’re using iglide inside:

Before sending an orange customized car on a 60,000 mile world tour, igus replaced 56 of the car’s standard parts with iglide plastic bearings, including one bearing in the throttle valve.

The throttle takes the place of a carburetor on newer vehicles, and works by directly regulating the amount of air able to enter the engine, indirectly controlling the engine’s charge (the combination of fuel and air).

In the throttle valve, a combination aluminum/plastic bearing from an unknown manufacturer was stripped out, and retrofit with a standard iglide X6 bushing. The X6 material is extraordinarily resistant against high temperatures, and has a lifetime 6 times longer than its predecessor, iglide T500, in high temperature applications. The X6 bearing is able to withstand the long-term application temperatures that a bearing would experience inside the throttle valve. The material is resistant to temperatures of up to 482ºF, and short term application temperatures of 599º are possible. Very low temperature applications are also possible with X6, as low as -148º – much lower than any car would typically encounter. The iglide X6 material also has up to 50% better press-fit with higher temperatures, meaning that it is resistant to relaxation up to 329ºF. At this point, the bearing should be axially secured, whereas iglide T500 must be secured at 275ºF. All plastics will relax once they reach a certain temperature, meaning they will shrink down to the size of the space they are pressed into.

The iglide X6 material is also resistant against a number of caustic materials, most importantly the gasoline and diesel fuels that the throttle comes into constant contact with, and it also possesses a very low moisture absorption rate to minimize the risk of the bearing swelling and eliminating necessary clearance. X6, like all iglide materials, has very low wear and friction characteristics, and is self-lubricating and maintenance-free thanks to the materials inclusion of tiny particles of solid lubricant that coat the shaft as friction occurs.

In this particular application, the bearing in the throttle valve moves in an oscillating fashion against the partner pin which is made from steel. The function of the bearing is to provide the rotational movement of the throttle valve mechanism. The iglide X6 material, like all iglide bearing materials, has been extensively tested in a variety of real-life application settings. The results from these tests have been compiled into an extensive database, which was used to create a lifetime prediction calculator for iglide bearings.

Celebrating 30 years of iglide with a tour around the world

To celebrate 30 years of their iglide plastic bearings, igus is sending its little car on a big trip around the world. Last year, 200 million iglide bearings were installed in cars and trucks, and now igus is truly putting them to the test. The iglide car has been retrofit with 56 iglide bearings in areas including the alternator, gear shift, window regulators, convertible top, pedals, and more.

Starting in India, the car will be shipped across oceans, then drive across countries, stopping along the way at igus customers, subsidiaries, partners, and trade shows, connecting igus worldwide. On July 20th, the car will arrive in the US via Anchorage, Alaska, where it will begin its journey from ocean to ocean on a ten-week North American tour before continuing on to Europe. The tour ends in Germany at the Hannover K Trade Fair, where the car will be stripped down to see how the bearings fared their worldwide journey.

For more information, visit www.igus.com/iglideontour.