Daman to Bombay To Pune

Traveling between customers, from the desert near Pushkar to the seashore at Daman, we’ve already made it more than 1,000 miles north to south. I’m seeing that every 60 miles or so we travel further south, the food changes. Actually, I usually don’t know what I’m eating these days, to be honest. I don’t mind as long as I can see my colleagues are willing to eat it, and as long as its tasty – and it always is! There is such a huge variety in food that I’m wasting something new each day.

Along with the food, the language also changes every few hundred miles. Its’ not just the accents – my colleagues from Delhi aren’t able to understand the locals a little more than a hundred miles away. The climate and surroundings are changing as well – driving South we saw the desert slowly turn green, with palm trees sprouting up more and more the further we traveled; everything around us became a green, tropical environment.

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Right now, I’m on the way to a customer visit in Pune. Pune is the automotive hub of India, as well as one of the main educational areas. The University of Pune alone has 811 colleges across India – 811(!!), at least according to the Times of India. If you’d rather get your information from Wikipedia, we’re talking almost 500,000 students. Comparatively speaking, Germany as a whole had 2,500,000 students in 2012/13. In particular, Pune is renowned for engineering, which is working hand in hand with the major automobile manufacturers in the area like Mercedes, Tata, Volkswagen, and more. Mercedes, if you’re reading this, I think you should manufacture and sell our car! So many people have asked us about the price and told us they’d like to buy it that I’m thinking we’re kind of trendsetters and soon everyone will have a small orange car!

Ok, now only the last few days. On our Ahmedabad route we traveled to our customer PWS.  The company has been around for 100 years, and is a mid-size company, with about 100 employees, but they lead the Indian market in the manufacturing of filling machines for things like juice and packaged food. We found them outside the city a ways, the factory and office together in a very old building next to a fancy five-star wellness resort. At first glance you’d never expect a high tech company be hiding there.

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As the company is working in the food industry, they require products that are corrosion-free to operate safely. Of course, in this industry, machines need to be cleaned thoroughly and regularly, requiring a need for chemical resistance as well.

igus supplied PWS with a lubrication free, corrosion free plastic liner in a stainless steel housing that they use for linear movements. Our plastic liner has fulfilled PWS’s requirements of being corrosion free and resistant to chemicals, and additionally, they’re easy to assemble, and maintenance-free. The liners enable the filling machines to have a smooth up-and-down motion for putting lids on containers.

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After our customer visit, we jumped on the highway and headed for Daman. It total, the journey was only about 250 miles, but it took AGES. We were stuck in a traffic jam, so we were very late to arrive at the coast. For me, this was a big step on our tour. This was an informal reminder that we’ve made it to the half-way point in our trip through India – the first leg of the world tour.

The next day was Sunday, which means no customer visits. I wanted to spend the day getting some nice photos of the iglide car, so we went to the beach and split up to find a good spot to shoot.

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When I got back to the group, it was a strange scene. One of the backup drivers had the glorious idea to park his vehicle (a very big one, let me mention), not on the street, but ON THE SAND. How do you get a multi-ton car out of the sand? Well, only with a group effort.

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Eventually, after several tries, we got it free. We were able to get the car back on the road to continue the journey, next stop Bombay!

The trip to Bombay was awesome. The whole journey was through stunning landscapes. A modern highway leads you through a mix of desert and jungle, with mountains on one side and traditional villages on the other. Just amazing.

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I was bummed we didn’t have more time in Bombay. We arrived late at night, and had to leave for Pune the following day, so I had no time to explore the city, which we all know from the movie Slumdog Millionaire. The glance I got, the city seemed to be a booming metropolis, with very modern looking buildings and skyscrapers, construction on every corner. I learned after we left that Bombay is the financial hub of India.

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I’m in Pune now as I write this. Tomorrow we’re driving back to Bangalore (500 miles), which will wind down our Indian tour. From there, the just have a few more visits.

As usual, I’ll keep you up to date.

Sascha

Let’s go south! Jaipur to Ahmmedabad

iglide in the desert, and a visit to a manus winner are my topics for the day! Let me first introduce you to one of our local customers in Ahmedabad.  With 5 million citizens, Ahmedabad is the largest city in the Indian state of Gujarat, which is, by the way, the only state in India where alcohol is strictly forbidden by law.  Anyways, on a small street in bustling Ahmedabad is the EEWA Engineering factory, a traditional family company, and one of our customers.

Let’s go south! Jaipur to Ahmmedabad

EEWA Engineering was founded in 1947 and employs about 20 people. The company specializes in custom machines, mostly for sealing and packaging, which are sold worldwide. EEWA has been purchasing igus parts for decades, but became our regular customer only about 2 years ago.

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A few years back, The CEO of EEWA, Mr. Prakash, asked igus India for technical support for one of his machines, which was too heavy as it was. On the first visit, an igus sales manages spent nearly half a day at the factory, advising and supporting Mr. Prakash, who was able to lower the weight of the machine using igus plastic components. Mr. Prakash was so happy with the support he received from igus that since that first visit, he has become a regular customer.

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On the recommendation of an igus sales manager, EEWA participated in the igus manus program in 2013, which awards innovative applications for iglide plastic bearings. EEWA entered the competition with a hot-stamping machine that utilizes a DryLin SLW linear slide, , as well as DryLin W and DryLin N systems.  The DryLin W, which moves the stamp in the machine moves vertically about 30 times each minute.

The products that the machine need to stamp vary in size, so the application must be flexible. The SLW system ensures that the height of the stamp can be easily adjusted.

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Additionally, DryLin N ensures the handling of the base plates. According to the size of the product, as well as where the stamp is to be placed, everything must be in the right position. DryLin N enables the adjustment of the base plates on both the X and Y axes.

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In the stamping process, the igus products are coming into contact with chemicals. Because of this, Mr. Prakash required a product not only light in weight, but also with chemical resistance, making DryLin a perfect fit. All in all, he has equipped more than 20 machines with igus products so far, and my impression is that many more will follow suit. He’s so fond of igus that he’s even suggested we extend our business!

If you are reading this, Mr. Prakash, I’d like to thank you again for your hospitality, the delicious tea, and the encouragement you gave me during our interviews.

Now, moving back a few hundred miles, let’s leave green Ahmedabad with its parks and shopping malls and other reminders of modern society and go to rural India; Pushkar to be exact. Let’s explore the foothills of the Indian desert!

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Our car sped along the dusty, sandy slopes, and our car and the iglide products inside made it through without a problem.  They made it through better than I did, that’s for sure.  I forgot the sunscreen!  It wasn’t a pretty sight, me, the pale European from rainy Germany in a desert without sunscreen!

It was really interesting to see our surroundings change as we traveled. Camels began to appear alongside cars and trucks, the greenery starting disappearing, until eventually we were surrounded by the desert. We also saw monkey as I’ve never seen them before. Really, there’s not much more I can describe, its best to let the photos speak for themselves.

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I’m writing this post on our way to Daman, located in the coast a little more than 90 miles North of Bombay, We’ve combined this trip with visiting our amazing customers, so on the way we left one of our escort vehicles behind. The driver forgot to get gas, and is now stranded somewhere on the highway! I’m getting the feeling this is going to be a long day…

Don’t worry; I’ll keep you guys up to date!

-Sascha

And we’re off! Agra to Jaipur (310 miles)

What a day!

We’ve finally taken off on our tour of India, and the first day was already an exciting one! We took our car off-road, had the pleasure of meeting some Indian farmers, saw the Taj Mahal, and got a glimpse of Jaipur, known as “the pink city,” at night!

And we’re off! Agra to Jaipur (310 miles)

Our first stop was due to be the Taj Mahal, where we hoped to get a picture of the car in front of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Taj Mahl is in Agra, about 125 miles South of Delhi, and is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the symbol of India.

I’ve become used to never-ending traffic jams, and I was shocked to pull onto an empty highway. The road was also in great condition, better than some German highways, that’s for sure!

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Our first stop was due to be the Taj Mahal, where we hoped to get a picture of the car in front of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Taj Mahl is in Agra, about 125 miles South of Delhi, and is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the symbol of India.

I’ve become used to never-ending traffic jams, and I was shocked to pull onto an empty highway. The road was also in great condition, better than some German highways, that’s for sure!

And we’re off! Agra to Jaipur (310 miles).3

Because our cars are commercial vehicles, we have to pay taxes in each state we travel through. If you move to a new state, its up to you to find the new tax office. In Agra, we couldn’t find one, and while still trying to find one, the police stopped us. After going through all our documents, and paying a fine, we were able to get on our way, but only to reach more problems.

We already knew that there is no good way to drive up to the Taj Mahal, and being prepared, we found a road that goes close-by  with a good view from our Indian friends, but unfortunately, it turned out to be closed to all vehicles! Apparently, it was an order of the Supreme Court of India, so there was really no way to get through. My colleague and I split up, he got in touch with some knowledgeable locals, I went in search of new ways to get our photo. Eventually we found a place with a view; not as good as our original plan would have given us, but certainly better than nothing.

And we’re off! Agra to Jaipur (310 miles).4 And we’re off! Agra to Jaipur (310 miles).5

The next stop along the journey was Jaipur, the pink city! Seeing a picture makes it easy to guess where the name came from; all the buildings are pink! Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajastan, and with 250,000 inhabitants is small by Indian standards. As soon as we left Agra, we had entered into more rural territory. We changed our route a bit to take some photographs, and took up a path along the fields. It was incredible!! in the fields you could see roj (I just know the Hindi name for them, but it’s a type of deer) running in the fields as farmers worked. Two of the roj and a bunch of children came to greet us. All the people were very friendly and curious, particularly the children. They kind of interrogated me, nicely of course, asking my name, where I’m from, what I was doing there, etc.

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Well, our little trip through the fields was on purpose, but later on we took the car off-road without planning it! We came up with the idea to go into a fort before reaching the hotel, so we changed our route a bit. It was pitch black at this point, and the road turned to dirt, filled with potholes and bumps everywhere. I actually really enjoyed it! It was the first time to really test the limits of our car, and of course, everything went fine. Our bearings can really stand up to extraordinary environments, enough to let this well-known ‘city car’ make it through rural India!

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Finally, after a long but really exciting day we reached the fort, and the hotel a bit later.

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I’m writing this as we’re on the road to Ajmir. Curious to see what we’ll experience today! Anyways, I’ll keep you up to date.

-Sascha

Taj Mahal Photo Special!

The iglide car has reached one of the Seven Wonders of the World! Despite the fact that we tried everything, we couldn’t get the car close enough to the Taj Mahal to get a great photo. After talking with some locals and asking for advice, they lead us here to the closest possible point.  

I feel bad that we couldn´t get a better picture, iglide with a world wonder! To compensate, I decided I’d add a few more of my photos of our trip to the Taj Mahal for you instead.  

 

 

 

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