Coming to then end of the South Korean tour

Our journey through South Korea has come to an end. The trip was short – but very sweet! We explored the entirety of the country, and visited many of our beloved customers.

Coming to then end of the South Korean tour

Busan was our last stop in South Korea, the country’s second largest city, and one of the busiest seaports worldwide. Busan is also home to one of our customers, UNICK, a automotive parts specialist. The company’s core is their production and distribution of solenoid valves, which are frequently used to control elements in fluids.

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The valves are supposed to shut off, release, distribute, or mix fluids. For a solenoid valve that is located in the gear shift, they rely on an igus piston ring. The self-lubricating ring ensures a smooth linear motion.

Mr. Park, the Head Engineer at UNICK, said he appreciates the high wear resistance, low price, and the fact that the ring is easy to assemble. He also stressed the high reliability, and mentioned that he hasn’t had any problems so far with igus components.

As we had time to spend 2 days in Busan, I had the chance to see what the city is all about. I really like that is it located in a mountainous area at the coast. They are many places where you can overlook the city and the sea. I’ve heard, though, that come summer, these views won’t let you see the sand – just people and umbrellas!

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From Busan, we headed back in the direction of Incheon, located close to Seoul where we have our South Korean igus branch. There, I’ll have to leave the car for a few days again before heading off to Taiwan! On the way back to Incheon, we visited a village completely the opposite of thriving Busan. The village is calm and preserved as a traditional Korean one.

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I want to take this moment to say a big THANK YOU! to my Korean colleagues. Thank you for your great hospitality and support; it was an awesome trip!  The next post will be in Taiwan – I’ve heard the country offers incredible natural scenery like high mountains, canyons, and tropical beaches. I’m looking forward to seeing the iglide car there!

See you in Taiwan!


Traveling Back South

We’ve already visited the major areas of South Korea, from beautiful coastlines in the East, to the famous mountain range in the North, and we’ve even made it up close to the dangerous North Korean border. Now, we’re across the country, in the South. On our way, we stopped in for a visit at Hanmac Electronics, one of our South Korean customers.

Traveling Back South

Hanmac molds plastic parts for appliances like refrigerators and washing machines. They rely on igus bearings for a plastic component located at the bottom of a washing machine. The plastic plate contains two rollers that rotate throughout the washing process. keeping water in circulation, and avoiding tangled clothes.

Each of the rollers is placed on a shaft embedded in two bearings. Before discovering iglide bearings, Hanmac had tested several other bearings, but all failed as they couldn’t not ensure fast, constant motions, while being water and chemical resistant. They eventually chose iglide H bearings, which are specifically produced for underwater applications. This was able to free Hanmac from further bothersome, expensive tests.

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Mr. Yong Lee, the Chief Engineer at Hanmac, stressed the durability and chemical resistance of iglide H, as well as his support for igus! He says he is a big fan of our 24 hour or today shipping policy!

South Korea is a very modern country with a well developed infrastructure. This is not only nice for relaxing drives in our iglide car, but its good for the car, too! I felt it was time to stress the car a bit more, so I decided to take it for a little off-roading. Of course, the iglide bearings are all used to contend with dirt and dust in rough applications, so they are still in tip-top shape!

For the weekend, we’re planning on staying in Busan. Located in the South of Korea, Busan is the second largest metropolis in the country, after Seoul. Moreover, Busan is the world’s busiest cargo seaport. I’m looking forward to exploring soon!

I’ll let you know what happens!


Moving North, and The South Korean Press Launch

Classical music, chandeliers, and delicious food… I’m not talking about a romantic 5-star restaurant, but the Press Conference for the iglide tour in South Korea!

Moving North, and The South Korean Press Launch

Ernie Kim, the Country Manager, welcomed journalists, and kicked off the fourth conference for “iglide on tour.”  Only 3 speakers were scheduled; Hyungtea Kim, the iglide bearings Product Manager, followed Ernie, introducing several applications in the iglide car, as well as presenting our igus range of products. Last but not least, I spoke about the retrofitting of the car, and shared my experiences over the past 3 months (three months already?!?). All in all, it was a great press conference, with even more journalists than expected.

We traveled to the traditional port city of Donghea – home to a beautiful white sand beach that stretches for miles, and many small seafood restaurants lined up along the shore. All our bearings are corrosion-resistant and can stand salty sea water, and we had a lovely view of Korea’s famously pretty seashore.

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From Donghea, we headed North along the coast. The landscape gradually changed, getting more and more mountainous. We stopped to take in some of the most beautiful mountain views I have ever seen at the Taebaek mountain range, located inside a National Park. The distinct shape of the mountains, dozens of waterfalls, and diversity of wildlife makes this area a major travel destination from all over Korea. We climbed more than a mile up the Seoraksan Mountain, one of the most famous in Korea.

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Surely, I don’t need to tell you that the Korean penninsula is split in half by the most heavily armed border in the world; North and South Korea are still at “open war” with one another. After the Korean War in the 1950’s, a mile wide strip of land was established as a buffer zone. Also called the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, the buffer was worked out between the Koreas, China, and the United Nations as part of an agreement. We were allowed to enter the DMZ with the iglide car after a lengthy registration process.

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In the photo above, the barbed wire fence is what marks the border between South and North Korea. Being this close to the fence – such a focus of International Relations and politics – has been one of the highlights for me on the trip so far.

We are currently in Seoul, where you do not get the feeling that there is any threat of an attack from the North. Look a little closer, and you can see that the situation really is quite serious. Just look at this rocket launcher, located on a hill above Seoul, likely serving to intercept rockets incoming from the North.

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That’s all from me at the moment, I will be back with more updates soon.


iglide advantages

Did you know you can lower costs by using iglide bearings in solar power plants?

iglide advantages

On our way from Asan to the East  Coast, we passed a huge hybrid solar field. This field in particular created more than 40 megawatts, making it the largest in Asia.

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The company that runs this field is using iglide G300 flanged bearings in the hinges of the solar panels. The panels move with the sun, and the iglide bearings ensure the smooth motion of the panels, and will not seize up with dirt, dust, pollen, and other outdoor debris.

Operating and maintaining a solar field is very expensive. To save costs, the company decided to switch to iglide plastic bearings. All igus bearings are self-lubricating and maintenance-free, and are much lower in cost than traditional metal bearings. igus iglide bearings offer long life at low acquisition costs.

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Customers from all over the world rely on igus products, including ContentsLab LLC. The company’s solar power system can be installed either on its own, or in combination with a wind turbine to use borh renewable forms of energy in a hybrid way. iglide G300 plain bearings are used at all bearing points of the system.

Now in South Korea!

We’ve arrived in South Korea! I’m hoping our tour of the country continues as smoothly as its started off.  It was a new experience to have the iglide car ready for me to jump in and drive as soon as I arrive – No 2 days spent in the customs office, and no struggle for a driving permit. igus Korea set up a shaman ceremony for the car when we first arrived – complete with a pig’s head. That must have worked to protect us against bad luck!

Since we started our tour, we’ve driven more than 6,200 miles across roads, deserts, through mountains and along the ocean shore. Our iglide car is still running perfectly on the 56 plastic bearings we’ve installed – and we’ve got another 1,200 miles planned through Korea over the next few weeks.

Now in South Korea!

We took off from the igus branch in Incheon the day after I had arrived, and we headed off towards Asan.  After being in crowded China, I’d say that Asan, with its 290,000 citizens is a nice little village. We made a stop at one of our customers, Leepack Co. Ltd.

Leepack is the leading Korean manufacturer for intermittent rotary packaging systems. The company’s product portfolio ranges from filling units and vacuum packing systems to rotary fill-and-seal machines. Because their machines are dealing with food, they need products that are corrosion free. igus products have been able to help Leepack in many ways besides corrosion resistance. Mr Lee, the company’s Vice President, had this to say about what he likes about igus products:

He also talked about how long his company has been relying on igus solutions:

In Asan, I went out to dinner with some of the Korean igus team, and I had the chance to enjoy a real Korean barbeque. I loved it! Basically, it is a table filled with meats, vegetables, and fish, with a grill in the center to cook whatever you choose. One of my favorite new dishes is kimchi. It’s a traditional Korean side dish of cabbage soaked in brine and spices. You can eat it with everything – personally, I love it on grilled meat!

As for the tour, we will be meeting up with more South Korean customers and exploring the country over the next 3 weeks, I’ll be sure to keep you updated!