From West to East- iglide on tour reaches the Atlantic!

Let’s go back a few days to see iglide on tour’s journey through North Carolina and Virginia.

From Nashville, the iglide car drove East through the Smoky Mountains towards Charlotte, North Carolina, officially marking iglide on tour’s arrival at the East Coast! 

From West to East- iglide on tour reaches the Atlantic!

Although Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina, Charlotte is larger both in size and population, the largest city in the state. North Carolina is the furniture capital of the world, and is home to some of the most renowned furniture companies in the world today. During it’s time in the state, the iglide car found some sizeable examples of the state’s most famous exports!

From West to East- iglide on tour reaches the Atlantic!.2 From West to East- iglide on tour reaches the Atlantic!.3

In Charlotte, the car came across “Metalmorphosis,” built in 2007 by artist David Černý. The giant mirrored head weights in at 14 tons, and stands 22 feet high, created of layers of steel that rotate individually, deconstructing and re-building itself right before your eyes. The statue is so popular that it even has its own live webcam!

From West to East- iglide on tour reaches the Atlantic!.4 From West to East- iglide on tour reaches the Atlantic!.5

While in North Carolina, also known as the “Tar Heel State,” the car made a visit to a customer that specializes in woodworking equipment. igus’ lines of bearings, linear systems, and cable management systems are all exceptionally tough against flying wood chips, sawdust, and other debris that is unavoidable in these types of applications. In fact, igus has developed a special Energy Chain cable carrier to protect cables and hoses against even the harshest debris-filled environments.

The RX tube from igus is the perfect solution for ultimate cable protection – even against chemicals or hot metal chips. The tube’s smoothly rounded contour prevents chip accumulation,  is almost air-tight, and can be opened easily at any point. Check out this quick video to see how much protection an RX Tube can provide:

https://youtu.be/Su8y8oWmKYw

From Charlotte, iglide on tour headed to Richmond, Virginia, a city filled with American history. In 1609, Western settlers colonized in Jamestown, located to the Southeast of Richmond, creating the first permanent Western civilization in the United States. During the American Civil War, Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States, and was the site of many battles. Currently, these battlefields serve as public parks scattered across the city, many still holding canons used during the war more than 150 years ago to serve as reminders of the lives lost there.

Richmond is a small city with a centrally located downtown area and quaint colonial suburbs. Downtown Richmond is also home to America’s first shopping mall!

During its stay in Virginia, iglide on tour made one more stop, this time to visit the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics students of Hanover High School. igus works closely with many students across North America as part of its YES (Young Engineers Support) Program, which donates products to students all over the continent who are working on engineering projects. The entire iglide team had a fantastic time talking with students, who were very excited to get inside the tiny orange iglide car!

The YES Program donates products to thousands of students each year, including participants in FIRST Robotics, BEST Robotics, and a variety of other popular STEM Competition programs. To learn more about the YES Program, please visit the YES page on the igus website.

From Virginia, it was time to continue North for iglide on tour – check back to see what adventures were in store next!

Look for us on the road,

Kayla

Honky-Tonkin’ through Music City, USA

Last week, iglide on tour took to Music, City, USA – Nashville, Tennessee – let’s go back and see what happened!

After leaving Cleveland, Ohio, the car drove over 500 miles to Nashville, the capital of Tennessee. A large center for music, publishing, healthcare, and transportation industries, Nashville is also home to a large number of colleges and universities. The city’s name came from Francis Nash, a general during the American Revolutionary War.

Honky-Tonkin' through Music City, USA

The iglide car was able to make its way to the Grand Ole Opry – known as the home of American country music, and though the car couldn’t quite fit through the doors, the bearing-filled dry-tech box took its spot inside. The Grand Ole Opry began as a weekly radio broadcast in 1925, and is still among the longest-running radio shows in history. Live concerts by country music’s biggest stars are performed each week on what has been dubbed “The Show that Made Country Music Famous,” attracting millions of visitors every year.

Honky-Tonkin' through Music City, USA.2

On a tour through the Opry, the dry-tech box was able to get a backstage peek at the venue, including onto the stage itself, where a circle of older looking wood surrounds the main microphone. This circle of oak is in fact part of the original Opry center stage, which was recovered after the venue flooded in 2010. This circle, where many of the most famous names in country music have stood, was built into the replacement stage to continue the tradition.

Honky-Tonkin' through Music City, USA.3

A number of igus’ Motion Plastics solutions are found backstage in many venues around the world to help move stage equipment, sets, lighting, and more reliably and quietly. The liftband energy supply system can vertically expand more than 42 feet, lifting at more than 3.2 feet per second.

The E-Z Triflex Energy Chain included in the system allows cables and hoses to be installed and exchanged very quickly and easily, and nylon tapes allow for a nearly unlimited filling weight, allowing even the most complex stage equipment or set pieces to be moved as needed for the best possible performance, night after night, and in the Grand Old Opry’s case, decade after decade!

Honky-Tonkin' through Music City, USA.4

After leaving the Opry, iglide on tour headed downtown to check out Nashville’s Broadway, a renowned entertainment district and gathering place for country music lovers of all kinds. The street is lined with small bars and music venues, as well as dozens of cowboy boot Shops.

Honky-Tonkin' through Music City, USA.5

Many of the bars lining Broadway have a real “honky tonk” feel – that is, they cater to the die-hard country music fans that live and visit Nashville with live performances nearly every night of the year. One of these venues was the portable Nashville Pedal Tavern, which seats 16 patrons – who pedal the bar around the streets of Nashville while enjoying their drink of choice! When the iglide car pulled up beside this pedal-powered pub, one woman was so excited to see the orange car she started a dance party for it, only stopping to pedal away once the traffic light turned green.

Honky-Tonkin' through Music City, USA.6

During its time in Nashville, the car attracted much more than just dancing drinkers, however. Around each corner people would ask about the car’s story, and where it was traveling over the course of it’s journey, which had brought it nearly 37,000 miles to Tennessee!

Honky-Tonkin' through Music City, USA.7

From Nashville, the car carried on in the American South – stay tuned to read about the next adventure of iglide on tour!

Look for us on the road,

Kayla

The iglide car crosses the border! Michigan to Ontario, Canada

Let’s look back a few days as iglide on tour took on the USA/Canadian border yet again!

After leaving Chicago, the iglide car racked up a few more miles and headed to Kalamazoo, Michigan, marking the 10,000th North American mile of the tour. The car started in Anchorage, Alaska with 25,000 miles on it, and has reached 35,000 in just six short weeks! Time flies when you are driving the iglide car across the country!

The iglide car crosses the border! Michigan to Ontario, CanadaThe iglide car on the first day of the North American tour in Alaska. Little did the car know that it would have racked up 10,000 more miles six weeks later.

In Michigan, the car made a large number of customer visits to an incredibly wide range of companies. The iglide car met customers that use igus products in medical beds, amazing welded assembly systems, and, being in Michigan, a number of automotive applications!

While iglide bearings are used in a number of applications inside the iglide car, and millions of other automobiles manufactured each year, a number of igus products are also used in the manufacturing process itself!

igus’ line of Energy Chain cable carrier systems are used in a huge range of applications, including on manufacturing robots, like those in car-building plants. Energy Chains guide and protect cables and hoses that supply energy and other resources, without the risk of snagging on the many other moving parts in any busy plant. Triflex Energy Chain Systems allow for multi-axis movement – like the twisting motions of a robotic arm – without compromising cable protection.

igus’ line of linear products, known as DryLin, are also widely used in manufacturing plants. DryLin linear bearings and slides use the same self-lubricating properties of our iglide bearings, making them a reliable, clean solution. They will not attract dirt and dust, as they don’t require sticky lubricants, and unlike traditional ball bearing systems, any dirt and does that does find its way into the bearing will either be pushed aside by the sliding motion, or will meld into the plastic material without increasing the coefficient of friction.

Despite the wide range of applications and industries, the iglide car is still well received at all customer visits.

The iglide car crosses the border! Michigan to Ontario, Canada.2Customers are always so intrigued by how spacious the little car actually is. They are always surprised at how much legroom there is! 

The iglide car crosses the border! Michigan to Ontario, Canada.3

From Michigan, iglide on tour headed North to Detroit, and crossed the International Ambassador Bridge into Canada. The suspension bridge is privately owned by Grosse Point billionaire Manuel Moroun thorugh the Detroit International Bridge Company in United States, and the Canadian Transit Company in Canada. The bridge is the busiest international border crossing in North America in terms of trade volume. More than 25% of all merchandise trade between the US and Canada cross over this bridge.

The iglide car crosses the border! Michigan to Ontario, Canada.4 The iglide car crosses the border! Michigan to Ontario, Canada.5When the cars cross the bridge they cross over the Detroit River, they pass through two countries on one bridge. 

As the car crossed the border, the bridge’s border control was only concerned with one thing – how to enter a German license on their computer system! They loved the idea of the tour, and were curious about where the car was from, and where else it had been. They even took a car-shaped sticker to remind them to follow the blog as well!

The iglide car crosses the border! Michigan to Ontario, Canada.6

Once the car arrived in Canada for the second time along the tour, it was able to see a different side of Canada from the Yukon it explored early in the tour. Expecting to see bison, pronghorn, and mountains, the car instead saw miles of cornfields and dozens of wind turbines. The only animal to be seen was a muskrat!

In Canada, the car made more visits to customers, traveling with igus team members from both the USA and Canadian offices. With skilled staff memebers all over North America, the iglide tour has been like a bit of a family reunion!

The iglide car crosses the border! Michigan to Ontario, Canada.7

After a few more wonderful visits, it was time to travel back over the border to Detroit, where the iglide car spent the afternoon sightseeing.

The iglide car crosses the border! Michigan to Ontario, Canada.8

In Detroit, the car drove to the monument to boxer Joe Louis, known as “The Fist” in the middle of downtown. The statue is a memorial to the famous boxer, who is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. Commissioned by Sports Illustrated Magazine, it represents the power of Louis’ punch both in and out of the ring.

The iglide car crosses the border! Michigan to Ontario, Canada.9

After a long run of international travel, the iglide car headed south, towards Cleveland Ohio, where we met with members of the press who have been following the iglide tour since the beginning!

Look for us on the road,

Kayla

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minnesota is known for its cheese curds, farmland, and distinct accents. The state of Minnesota is also home to the largest mall and state fair in the USA. The iglide car was fortunate enough to get to participate in all of these Minnesotan activities.

Minenapolis and St. Paul are the “Twin Cities” of Minnesota.” Minneapolis is the larger of the two, and lies between banks of the Mississippi River. The smaller of the twins, St. Paul, is the state’s capital city.

Minneapolis is abundantly rich in water, with 20 lakes, the Mighty Mississippi, and a number of creeks, waterfalls, and wetlands. It was once the word’s flour million capital and a hub for timer. Today, the city is primarily a business center between Seattle and Chicago. For being rated the country’s 14th largest metropolitan area, the city is very quiet and still. Traffic is minimal, and most restaurants are emptied by 9 PM.

In Minneapolis, we visited a number of customers, including a manufacturer of commercial and residential lawn mowers. They use iglide bearings in a variety of applications on their mowers, and choose iglide because of their ability to stand up to flying dirty, soil, and other debris that could clog and seize traditional ball bearings.

iglide plastic bearings are also able to stand up to fertilizers and other chemicals that is unavoidable in the agriculture industry. Some iglide materials, like iglide T500, can even stand up to hydrochloric acid! Good luck trying that with a standard plastic material!

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Another customer visit was to an engineering firm that works in many different industries, including wind turbines. Because of their light weight and green properties, iglide bearings are a natural fit inside. Because they are up to 8 times lighter than metal bearings, iglide bearings can reduce the weight and drive requirements of applications, and they also require less oil power to create than comparable steel bearings.

After visits to customers, the iglide car took off for the Minnesota State Fair. This year, the fair set a record for their highest attendance ever – with 252,092 people walking through the gates with 2 days to go!!

Everyone had a great time at the fair, especially those hungry people that wandered in! You could buy any type of food imaginable on a stick- from beef jerky to alligator, even a salad on a stick!

Strolling through the fair, a lumberjack show and carving contest drew quite the crowd, the competitors even had a race up and down the tree trunks using their rope skills for support.

Minneapolis, Minnesota.2 Minneapolis, Minnesota.3

From the State Fair, the car headed out for some shopping at the Mall of America – 4.3 miles of store front, or 7 Yankee Stadiums of shopping under one roof! Inside, there is even an amusement park with a fully looping roller coaster.

Minneapolis, Minnesota.4 Minneapolis, Minnesota.5

From Minneapolis, iglide on tour heads south to Iowa, Look for us on the road!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR

We left Vancouver and headed back to the US for our next destination, Seattle, Washington. Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of North America and the fastest-growing major city in the United States. This city is full of character with it’s vibrant city-center and is home to Pike’s Place Market, the Space Needle, fresh, locally-sourced raw oysters, and a Ferris wheel at Pier 57.

Pike’s Place Market is an open market with everything from seafood to fresh fruit to dried flowers. The market opened in 1907 and is one of the oldest continually operating public farmer’s markets in the country. Thousands of tourists swarm the market daily to purchase fresh food and goods, steps away from one of the country’s most iconic coffee shop.

The iglide® car in front of the famous wall of gum in down town Seattle

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR

Before leaving Seattle and heading off the Portland, the car was brought to the celebrated Space Needle. The Space Needle is a landmark of the Pacific Northwest and a staple of the Seattle skyline.

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.2

There is an observation deck from which to view the whole city of Seattle. Just like the Eiffel Tower, it was built for a world’s fair in 1962. When it first opened, nearly 20,000 people a day were taking elevators to get to the top to see the entire Seattle metropolis.

We were able to visit a fitness machinery design company that integrated our bearings in their top of the line equipment. We were able to tour their test room and see the bearings used first hand. iglide® bearings can significantly reduce noise and maintenance in fitness equipment. Their low-friction, self-lubricating operation keeps operation quiet, and eliminates the mess of oil leaking onto the machines.  Smooth operation of the iglide plastics makes machines move smoothly, making customer workouts their best.  Because they do not require external lubrication, maintenance is also unnecessary.

Our bearings inside this piece of fitness equipment 

iglide L280® bearings are a great solution for exercise equipment, possessing a low coefficient of friction, and high wear resistance. It’s also ideal for use with rough shafts or in abrasive environments, so manufacturers can use less expensive shafts in their equipment as well.

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.4 Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.5 Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.6The car set up in the parking lot for a visit

After leaving Seattle it was time to head to Portland. Portland is a very unique city, famous for their food carts which celebrate food from almost every ethnicity you could imagine. The carts line over two blocks of the city and made picking what to eat for lunch very difficult. Some of us chose coffee from one cart, a salad from another, and desert from a third just to sample the incredible and unparalleled variety of food.

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.7Food trucks lining the streets in Portland

Next we visited Powell’s Books, a bookstore chain located in Portland. We headed to the headquarters, dubbed Powell’s City of Books, which claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. Besides boasting multiple buildings, inside the store each section has a color to indicate what genre the room is, because otherwise finding a book would be close to impossible.

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.8The car going over the Hawthorne Bridge, the most well known of the multiple bridges in Portland

Our next stop is San Francisco where the car will get to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge.

We will keep you posted,

Sascha and Kayla

Finding Germany in Brazil

On our way South to Brazil’s border with Argentina, we stopped into a city about 80 miles South of Curitiba, called Joinville. This city has one of the largest German populations in the country.

Finding Germany in Brazil

Brazilians of German decent are scatted throughout the country, but the overwhelming majority lives South of São Paulo. If you group all the German dialects spoken here, they would make up the second most spoken language, after Portuguese.

The first German settlers arrived in Brazil in the mid 1800’s, as a result of the German Revolution of 1848. Many of them arrived in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, where they founded the cities of Joinville, Pomerode, and Blumenau. Even today, they are keeping their German heritage alive. In Pomerode, German is the first language taught in schools, and German traditions, such as the annual “Pommernfest” have been kept alive and well. The car even got it’s photo taken with Blumenau’s Oktoberfest Princesses!!

Some of the houses are unmistakably German, and date back as far as 1860.

Finding Germany in Brazil.2 Finding Germany in Brazil.3

Besides getting our fill of Germany away from Germany, we stopped and visited customers along our travels South, this time to an agricultural equipment manufacturer. The company takes advantage of igus components in the cabins of their self-propelled sprayer systems.

Agriculture is a big part of Brazil’s economy – they are one of the largest producers of agricultural products in the world. Every year, millions of tons of sugar, coffee, grains, and more are harvested. For this, a wide variety of high performance machines are needed, and igus can stand up to the challenge! They are resistant against high shock and edge loads, rough, dirty environments, and can handle any temperature under the Brazilian sun.

Finding Germany in Brazil

In addition to cabins, igus products can be used in a wide variety of applications in agricultural equipment. Click here to see more examples!

We are currently on our way to Florianopolis, on a route leading us around to the coast.  I’ll continue to keep you up to date on our travels!

-Sascha

 

Santos

While São Paulo is the economic center of Brazil, there is a major logistical problem – There is no direct access to the sea. Because of this, all goods manufactured in São Paulo and the surrounding areas is transported to Santos, the nearest port city.

Santos

Although São Paulo has 40 times the inhabitants of Santos, with respective populations of 20 million and 500,000, Santos is essential for the big city to thrive. Ships are docking every possible minute, making Santos the biggest port in South America. Surrounding the port are dozens of logistics companies, handling large portions of the world’s coffee exports, as well as steel, oil, car, fruit, and cotton. When the massive shipping containers arrive by truck, massive Reach-Stackers get ready to unload them.

Santos.2

After unloaded by the Reach-Stacker, huge cranes take over, moving the massive containers around as needed. Cranes like these require many different sources of energy, including power, hydraulics, and more. To protect and guide these required cables, many use igus’ line of Energy Chain cable carriers. Very large versions of these Energy Chains are used as an alternative to festoon or bus-bar systems, which could lead to cable damage.

Santos.3

Santos not only has the most important port in South America, but is also a major tourist destination. As our bearings have no problems with sand or salt water, we decided to take them to the beach!

Near the shore is a hill, which has become a launch-site of sorts for paragliders. Sometimes, the air above is so filled with parachutes it is amazing they don’t collide!

Santos.4

From the top of the hill, we stopped for a moment to take in the great views of the entire city.

Santos.5

Just an hour drive from Santos is the small city of Guaruja. Here, you can experience white sand beaches, bars, palm trees, and sunbathers, much like you’d see in a Caribbean resort, not just outside Brazil’s biggest city.  Right now, being winter, it is a lovely calm place, but I can imagine the summer, crowded with beach-goers.

Santos.6

We are still heading South, traveling alongside the countless Argentineans heading home after the World Cup finals. Even after Germany won, the streets were alive with happiness and excitement from everyone!

https://youtu.be/-rPZMymayyM

I’ll keep you up to date as we head further South!

-Sascha