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.

Minnesota

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.

Wisconsin

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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Michigan

October 5th-9th

The car started its U.S. Tour in Michigan after crossing the border from Ontario, Canada. The car spent seven days in Michigan and visited 6 customers around the Detroit area.

 An automotive and aircraft seating design and build company uses our bushings and slides in various pivots and linear motion.

One 
automotive exterior accessories company specializes in ladder racks, running boards and luggage racks. They are a new prospective customer of igus.

A robotic automation and assembly lines for the automotive and aerospace industry, 
currently uses DryLin® in a fixture for an airplane wing.

A production systems OEM, for the automotive and aeronautical industries, currently uses 
both dry-tech® and Energy Chain Systems® products.

An OEM manufacturer of robotic automation systems (used in almost all areas of production) currently purchases E-Chain® for their 7th axis systems and are in the process of testing Chainflex®.

There is also interest in bearings from several different departments. Triflex R® was very interesting to them for their robot applications.

A robotics integrator and machine builder of plastic and fabric processing systems and metal processing technologies uses igus’ Triflex RS® system. During the visit, new Chainflex® applications were also discussed.

The car’s weekend destination was Chicago. Chicago is one of the biggest cities in the U.S. and rests on Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes. Last year, the car made an appearance at the IMTS Tradeshow at McCormick Place, and was excited to be back and spend more time in this diversely cultural city.

Over the weekend the car drove to Navy Pier, passed by Millennium Park, and watched the Chicago Marathon.

The Chicago Marathon started in 1977 with 4,200 runners and now has grown to host 45,000 runners. The race is 26.1 miles and hosts runners from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Over 1.5 million people watch as the runners race through 29 different neighborhoods, starting and finishing at Grant Park in Downtown Chicago. After the race, the city was packed with runners of all ethnicities and ages sporting foil wrappers (capes) to keep the runners warm after the run.


Part of the Chicago Marathon

Physicians and fitness experts say the HeatSheets, as they are known, serve an important function for runners who compete in cool-weather marathons. Marathoners use these sheets for the same reason campers and hikers pack them as survival equipment, and for the same reason they are a staple of emergency medical-supply kits: They help prevent hypothermia by reflecting body heat.


A runner wearing a heat sheet

Although the car couldn’t drive into Millennium Park, it can easily be seen from the street. The park is located in the “Loop” District of Chicago and was built to celebrate the new millennium. Today, it is the second highest tourist attraction in Chicago after Navy Pier.


The Bean in Millenium Park

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

Ontario, Canada

September 21st– October 2nd

Over our two weeks in Ontario, the igus® car visited 12 companies, mostly from the automotive industry, and the provincal capitol of Ontario, Toronto.

The first automotive customer we visited builds material handling cells for the automotive industry.  They currently buy igus® E-Chain® and have recently purchased a Triflex® RS system for the first time to be used on a robot.

“I choose igus over your competitor because you’re responsive, and you get samples to me like that (as he snaps his finger). And your guys are awesome when they come to us. You keep our cables out of the frey.”-customer

Another customer builds linear press systems for the automotive industry. They use igus® E-Chain® and cable exclusively on their machines with chains on the X, Y and Z axis in most cases.

One customer picked up our dry-tech® box and said, “this is so great how you use this. I gotta grab one of these.”

An automotive parts supplier for pedals, hood hinges, and hand brakes as well as other mechanical assemblies has done some testing with iglide® bushings in their hand brakes.  They also buy cable and E-Chain® at times to repair in-house equipment.

At this particular company, it was hard to reach the engineers for meetings, but once the car pulled up to the facility, the engineers came right outside and were able to speak with local igus® sales representatives about our products and how they can be used for their specific applications.

A global automotive supplier, that makes components for the automotive industry, has used iglide® bushings on seat pivoting mechanisms inside cars.

Some of their engineers were not aware that other divisions already use us on products and prototypes for many years, this was a great way to gain confidence in our products.

This customer also owned this type of car, and was so excited igus was coming, he even wore an orange shirt.

After another successful week of visits in Canada, the car got to spend the weekend in Toronto, the provincial capitol of Ontario. Toronto is a dynamic metropolis with a vast skyline with the iconic CN Tower as the focal point.

The car drove along Lake Ontario, stopped by a Toronto Blue Jay’s game, passed the CN Tower and drove through Kensington Market.

Ontario, Canada

Although the car didn’t make it to the top of the CN Tower, our mini igus® car was able to squeeze in the elevator that goes 553 meters above Toronto. The CN Tower is a communications and observation tower that was declared as one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World in 1995.

Inside the tower is a restaurant and two floors used for observing the city. The first level has a glass floor over looking Rogers Centre, where the Jay’s play their home games, and an outside enclosed walkway.

The second floor is used for the “edge-walk” tour where guided tours are given to people who are harnessed to the tower and walk on the edge of the platform while dangling above the city (the mini car did not participate in the edge-walk.)

Kensington Market is a characteristic, multicultural neighborhood in downtown Toronto. The neighborhood is covered in murals of graffiti among dozens of eclectic shops and cafes.

After Ontario, the car crossed the border back into the U.S. into Detroit to start its week in Michigan.

A huge thank you to our customers in Canada for making this leg of the tour an overwhelming success. Also a special thank you to igus® Canada for your warming hospitality these past three weeks.

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

Province of Québec, Canada.

September 14th- 20th

Our first week in Canada was spent in the province of Québec. The week was busy visiting 7 customers, exhibiting at the REAI (Automation industry) Golf Tournament, and making stops in Québec City and Montreal.

 

REAI, is an organization of Québec’s automation companies working to promote technology and capabilities internationally.  igus works closely with many of the members providing technical assistance as required. The event presented new igus technologies in a unique setting on the green and occasionally having to duck from flying golf balls.

The customers throughout the week ranged from machine tool, material handling, automotive, testing, and transportation equipment.

Our machine tool customer ‘s main market is making machines for the aerospace industry. They use igus e-chain and chainflex cables on their gantry systems that operate in very demanding environments and experience high duty cycles.

Another customer visited is an OEM of large material handling systems.  Their machines are used in handling and preparation of heavy-duty materials. Their main industries are pulp, paper, aluminum and mining. Our e-chains, chainflex cables and dry-tech bearings are used in all moving systems depending on the application requirements.  90% of the machines are built custom to the end users requirements. Our extensive offering of motion plastics products and quick delivery from stock are certainly helpful to customers in this industry.

Our next customer is an OEM of steering systems for ATV, snowmobiles, and smaller vehicle market. They use iglide bushings in a wide range of applications. No maintenance or lubrication and long life make iglide bushings a great fit.

All igus products, e-chain, chainflex cables, iglide bushings and drylin linear bearings are used for all types of motion for an OEM of non-destructive testing equipment.  The testing equipment is used in oil, gas, mining and military applications.

An OEM of mechanical systems used in the transportation industry uses iglide bushings, e-chain, chainflex cables and drylin linear products in their assemblies. High cycles and dirty environments make it a necessity for highest quality products designed to perform in their application.  igus products provided a cost effective solution to this customer with dry-tech products that are lubrication and maintenance free.

Mid week, one of the visits was right outside Québec City. The car managed to do a brief one-hour tour of the city. Seeing Le Château Frontenac and eating crepes were the priority.

One customer we visited also recently celebrated their 30th anniversary, like igus, so a “co-company 30th anniversary cake”, was made to celebrate the special occasion.

After the busy week, the weekend was spent visiting Downtown and Old Montreal. The car drove past the metropolitan skyscrapers and to Old Montreal where the buildings reflected a more European style of architecture.

The car also made a stop at the Notre-Dame Basilica and Le Vieux-Port (Old Port), where “Le Grand Poutine Fest” was happening. Poutine, is a Canadian dish, originating in the province of Quebec, made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy-like sauce.

The car’s next destination is Ontario, Canada.

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

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

Qingdao to Jinan (250 miles)

Today I want to give you a closer look at the truck accompanying us during the Chinese leg of the tour.

I think the truck was a great idea on the part of the igus China team; it seems to be attracting a lot of people. Both the car and truck together draws a huge crowd. Basically, it’s just a normal truck that has been modified so it can be turned into a trade show booth in about 5 minutes! The truck is big enough that we can showcase a wide range of products.

For our customers, we offer the “whole package.” On the truck, not only can someone have a direct look at our products, but also have time to talk one-on-one with product experts.

Qingdao to Jinan (250 miles)

Every day, dozens of potential customers are giving us their contact details in order to learn more about our products, as well as receive the now famous igus cups as a reward!

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Usually, after visiting the booth, the visitors turn their attention to the iglide on tour project. For everyone, we offer a quick drive in the car. Most people think the tour is a great idea, but often add that it must be a real adventure to drive this particular kind of car across all the places we’ll encounter on the tour.

Two days ago, we arrived at the Yellow Sea on the coast of Qingdao. To be honest, I hadn’t heard of this city before, but I learned it is a famous beach vacation mecca for Chinese and other Asian tourists. I can tell that this city is growing fast; all around is construction.

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The city has a very nice beach. I imagine that it must get totally overcrowded here in the summer months. Even though it is winter, the beach is still filled with People.

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In Qingdao, we met with one of our suppliers who delivers goods to us for our exhibitions; guess what his name is and where he’s from?!

Sascha Kurtenbach was born in Cologne, but has been living in China for about 10 years. Although he speaks the language fluently, he explained to me that he only know about 3,500 written symbols, which isn’t enough for him to read a local newspaper. He told me most Chinese people know about 5,000 symbols, and someone like a university professor would know about 10,000. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to learn this language; so far everything sounds the same to me.

In my last post I told you I wanted to introduce you to the people helping us along our world tour. As the truck was in focus today, I’ll let you meet its driver, Mr. Wang.

Mr. Wang is 35 years old and a father of two children. He is from Henan province, where we will be traveling soon to visit a famous temple. Even though he has been working as a driver for more than a decade, Mr. Wang says he’s never seen a truck like ours. I asked my colleague to ask his opinion about the tour and the truck. Mr. Wang said it is special to be a part of a project like this one, where he gets to do more than just driving. When the truck has been transformed into the display booth, he helps us hand out information and talks with customers, guiding them to the right person to answer their questions. A great member of our team!

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That’s all from Eastern China so far, I’ll keep you up to date!

-Sascha