Customer Applications – KTM Technologies GmbH

Last week, iglide on tour visited KTM Technologies GmbH in Salzburg/Anif, Austria. KTM is a service company, focused on concept development, design, simulation, consulting, and prototyping for a range of industries. One of their more well-known developments is the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, or CFRP, sports car, named the “X-Bow.”

Customer Applications - KTM Technologies GmbHThe CFRP sports car “X-Bow” (photo credit KTM Technologies)

KTM Technology’s aim in the development of the X-Bow was the create a two-seat roadster with the best power to weight ratio possible. Therefore, A lightweight design was essential. Lighter vehicles require less energy to accelerate to a certain velocity than a heavier vehicle, and for that reason, lightweight materials like plastics have become more and more popular. iglide bearings more than seven times lighter than similar metal components, which helped KTM Technology achieve their goal of the lightest possible vehicle design.

Customer Applications - KTM Technologies GmbH.2

Inside the X-Bow, KTM chose a number of dry-tech bearings to perform in several different applications, including in the steering system, where iglide bearings were used to support the steering wheel and the door. These self-lubricating components ensure low-friction rotation of the steering wheel and door opening. igubalspherical bearings are also used, including to help connect the car’s body with the door joints. Because the spherical bearings allow for angular movement, a smooth motion occurs from the door spring.

Customer Applications - KTM Technologies GmbH.3igus’ dry-tech solutions are used throughout the X-Bow by KTM Technologies.

The X-Bow is available in a limited production only, limited at this time to 100 cars. The starting price of the X-Bow is $62,000. The car has approxomately 40 horsepower, and accelerates from 0-62.5 mph (100 km/h) in 3.9 seconds.

5 Advantages of Choosing Plastic Bearings

You wouldn’t judge a potential employee by their grandparent’s track record, would you? Then why let the opinions on flimsy traditional plastics affect the choice between a metal bearing and next-generation engineered plastics?

For years, engineers have chosen steel and bronze bearings, thinking there was no other option to overcome extreme temperatures, heavy loads, and high speeds, not to mention the chemicals, dirt, weather, and other environmental hazards. The truth is, plastics can live up to these demands, often better than their metal Counterparts.

Both plastic and metal bearings have their strongpoints, and before choosing what will work best in your application, it’s important to understand the ups and downs of the options available. With sintered bronze bearings, oil is applied to the bearing, and then drawn out as it rotates on a shaft. The oil creates a thin, greasy film that separates the bearing and the shaft, preventing wear and damage. The downside to this is that slow rotation speeds, irregular use, uneven loads, and many other factors can create problems in creating this oily film, raising the coefficient of friction, or COF, and the rate of wear of the bearing and shaft.

Using some of the benefits of plastic, metal-backed PTFE-based plastic bearings have a steel backing bonded to a porous bronze sinter layer, which is overlaid with the PTFE lining. The thin lining of the bearing can be scratched off by dirt and other contaminants, causing metal on metal contact, increasing the COF and causing high wear rates and damage.

The difference in shaft damage is clear – L: traditional metal bearing, R: iglide plastic bearing

Self-lubricating plastic options, like iglide bearings from Motion Plastics specialist igus, contain solid lubricants embedded in millions of tiny chambers of the reinforced material. As soon as the bearing begins to rotate, that solid lubricant is released and transferred onto the shaft, lowering the COF. Unlike sintered bronze bearings, there is no minimum speed required to release lubrication, and plastic bearings can be used on a variety of shaft materials.

All plastics are not created equal – high-performance plastic bearings are not the same as the plastic bearings from any injection molder. iglide plastic bearings come with the unique ability to accurately predict the life of the bearing, thanks to years of extensive testing in the igus test lab. The online “iglide Expert System” is a unique database, where engineers can enter their application’s maximum load, speeds, temperatures, shaft material, and other factors, and receive complimentary information on the best possible bearing choice, as well as the expected lifetime, based on real-world testing.

A look inside the iglide test lab at igus headquarters 

iglide plastic bearings bridge the space between simple plastic bushing and high-tech, reliable machine components. They offer a number of advantages, but here’s five to keep at the top of the list:

1. No more maintenance! On your bearings, that is. Their self-lubricating properties eliminate the need for hours with a grease gun, re-lubricating every bearing individually, and without that sticky grease, iglide bearings are resistance against dirt, dust, and debris, lowering the risk of bearing seizure.

        2. Lower your costs. Featuring extremely high wear resistance, a low COF, and the ability to replace costly alternatives in a wide variety of applications, making the switch from metal to plastic can reduce costs by up to 25%.

        3. Freedom from messy grease and oil. iglide bearings self-lubricate, transferring tiny particles of solid lubricant into the shaft without increasing the attraction of dirt, dust, and other contaminants.

        4. Consistent coefficient of friction (COF). iglide bearings are designed to maintain a low COF consistently over its lifetime. Compared to metal-backed bearings, which can be scratched easily, increasing the COF, iglide plastic bearings often outlast their metal counterparts.

        5. Corrosion and Chemical Resistance. Plastic bearings can be used in wash-down applications, under salt water, and in the spray of harsh chemicals and acids without compromising their performance. Water, which can be fatal to the lubricant film of a metal bearing, can be considered an added lubricant for plastic alternatives.


To learn more about igus’ line of plastic bearings, check out this free whitepaper, Plastic Bearings Have Staying Power.

To calculate the best possible bearing for your application, we welcome you to used the iglide Product Selector tool, or request your dry-tech sample box, available  for with more than 50 free bearing samples, along with a number of selection cards.

Across Iowa

From Minneapolis, the car headed south to Iowa. The state is known for their corn, which the iglide car has seen much of! Iowa is often referred to as “America’s Heartland,” and borders the Mississippi River.

In the 2nd half of the 20th century, Iowa’s agricultural economy expanded into a wide range of manufacturing, processing and financial industries, and anywhere with a large range of industries is a great place for igus to be!

We had time to stop at a few of our Iowan customers, like one manufacturer of packaging equipment that uses igus’ DryLin R linear bearings and iglide j plain bearings in their machinery.

Used in many ares of packaging, including in food and drug production plants, igus products are extraordinarily safe and long-lasting, as they are not affected by crumbs, sugar, or other material in these types of facilities. igus products also are not reliant on grease, and with no grease, there is no threat of contamination from bearings!

Across Iowa

While in Iowa, the car took a drive to the Original Field of Dreams, a baseball field and pop-culture tourist attraction, featured in the movie Field of Dreams.” Upon pulling in the long dirt driveway, the car was greeted by the farm’s owner, Don Lansing.

Across Iowa.2

With sun flower seeds in his shirt pocket and his Field of Dreams baseball cap on, Mr. Lansing told the story of the day Hollywood knocked on his door 25 years ago, interested in filming a movie on his property.  Mr. Lansing said “If you build it, they will come, and they sure do” in regards to how many people come from all over the world just to see this field used in the 1989 movie.After the movie came out, people from all over flocked to his field, making their way from as far as Eastern Europe and Japan to walk on this beloved field.

Across Iowa.3 Across Iowa.4

Before passing through Iowa, a stop at the Mississippi River was in order. The chief drainage system for the entire United States, the Mississippi flows for 2,340 miles across the country, making it the 4th longest river in the world.

Next stop from Iowa is north to Milwaukee!

Thanks for reading,



Wyoming and Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

The drive from Denver to Hill City, (Mount Rushmore) South Dakota was roughly six hours, a fairly short drive for the iglide car. On the drive, the car drove through Wyoming and passed animals that haven’t been seen on the tour before, including pronghorn and a camel farm (which was very unexpected for Wyoming). Wyoming is exactly what one would expect, acres and acres of plains with very minimal population. One town, Lost Springs, had a population of four. The car had a flash back to the Yukon at the beginning of the North American tour where it passed more animals than people on a given day. But this time instead of pine trees, mountains and bears it was plains, farms and cows.

The plains in Wyoming

Wyoming and Mount Rushmore, South DakotaFields of sunflowers

A western sunset

There are a lot of similarities between these stretches of road and iglide bearings. At first glance, they are nothing special; stretches of fields without a human for miles, and a small, light, plastic bearing. Upon closer inspection, however, those vast plains become beautiful landscapes, and iglide bearings reveal themselves to be an innovation in plastic bearing technology – lightweight plastic embedded with strengthening fibers and microscopic particles of solid lubricant. That means no adding grease or unexpected seizures. It also means reduced energy consumption due to their extremely light weight – iglide bearings weigh approximately 80 percent less than PTFE-lined bushings!


The car arrived in Hill City, about 10 miles from Mount Rushmore, and drove through the old west town, with a population of 950. The town was exactly what a classic old western film portrayed it to be, a frontier town. The facades on the restaurants resembled movies about the Old West, down to the rickety steps and creaky wooden doors. The shops were extremely old fashioned, selling rock candy, jaw breakers and home-made fudge, and the roads were lined with sculpted wooden animals.

The town of Hill City

Saloon style buffalo burger

The car’s next stop was Mount Rushmore, one of the most patriotic landmarks in the United States. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota. The presidents carved into the granite (left to right) are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. This was sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum. Doane Robinson was the one who conceived the idea of Mount Rushmore. He was a state historian of South Dakota and picked this location in South Dakota to promote tourism in the region.

From left to right, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln

Initially Robinson wanted four western heroes to be featured on the mountain such as Lewis and Clark, or Red Cloud and Buffalo Bill Cody, but Borglum wanted the sculpture to have a more national focus. The project took 14 years and was finished in 1941, with over 400 workers continuously working on it. The presidents were chosen because of their role in preserving the Republic and expanding its territory.

Roughly three million people venture to South Dakota each year to see this granite sculpture. As an American, to see this famous sculpture almost felt fake. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sculpture looked pasted into the mountain. Americans see this image many times in their life on posters and in books but few actually get to see it due to its location. Unlike the Statue of Liberty, which is in a prime location, Mount Rushmore is not. It is a more out of reach US attraction and to actually see it was unreal.


The next stop in South Dakota was Sioux Falls, another six hour drive east through the hay and corn fields of South Dakota. On the drive over the iglide car made a few stops. One was to visit “1880 Town”. For anyone who is familiar with “Dances With Wolves”, starring Kevin Costner, this is where a portion of the movie was filmed. Although the car stood out a bit next to the run down town the car learned that some of these pieces of machinery such as the train and an old cars may have broken down due to the rusty metal bearings inside the vehicle. The iglide car was happy that igus plastic bearings were retrofitted into 56 different parts of the car. The car joyfully said goodbye to the ghost town and knew that running on iglide bearings would keep the car from ending up like these vehicles.

The spiffy iglide car next to a run down vehicle, clearly lacking iglide bearings

This sign seems pretty legitimate

Sioux Falls, also called “The Heart of America”, is the largest city in South Dakota. the population in 2013 of 165,000 and is the 47th fastest growing city in the United States. The car was able to stop here, have a good meal and refuel for the home stretch to Minneapolis. The car only had four more hours left of the 14 hours journey from Denver, Colorado.

Wyoming and Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.2

Next stop, Minneapolis – look for us on the road!

Thanks for reading,