Chicago, IMTS, and the iglide car

The iglide car has been very busy as it travels from city to city across the entire United States. Let’s take a look back at the tour’s time in the Windy City!

Chicago – The New York City of the Midwest. The iglide car headed to Chicago, where igus had set up a booth for IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show. Being one of the largest trade shows in North America, over 100,000 people had pre-registered. Hundreds of people buzzed through the igus booth over the course of the 6 day show. In fact, the booth was so busy it was often one of the last to close at the end of each day due to the busy activity.

Once the iglide car appeared outside the show, it began receiving lots of attention as well – from IMTS visitors and press editors from all over the world. The car even had a special treat- being filmed by a German media company, who are using the iglide car in an upcoming television program! They said the car (probably due to its tiny size) was the perfect fit for their film.

Check out the igus booth at IMTS! 

After leaving IMTS, iglide on tour traveled to more igus customers – this time in the Chicago area. The iglide car saw many customer applications where igus’ plastic bearings are used, including in the door systems of large busses.

iglide bearings are used in many automotive applications; 56 have been under the ultimate test over the past several months in applications inside the iglide car, but in fact, iglide bearings can be used in even more automotive applications – just as our customer uses them in large bus door hinge systems. iglide G300, the original iglide bearing, is a perfect solution in hinge systems, as they are able to handle high static loads with ease, are insensitive to dirt, corrosion resistant, and can also compensate for misalignment.

Even with all the activity surrounding IMTS and more amazing customer visits, the iglide car still managed to sneak away and have some fun. The stopped by the famous Chicago Theatre, as well as Millenium Park, which is located in the “Loop” community of Chicago. The park rests right on Lake Michigan, and was opened to the public in 2004.

Although the car couldn’t fit (hard to believe) into the Art Institute of Chicago, our bearings were able to sneak inside and take a peak at the different art displayed in the museum. Some of the most famous paintings in the world are hanging on the walls in this museum. For example, works by Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Rene Magritte and Georges Seurat.

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat, is an oil on canvas pointillism painting. Pointalism is a type of pairing where the whole canvas is made by dots to form a whole image. This painting is showing people relaxing along the Seine River in Paris. 

The car also drove down the famous Michigan Ave, equivalent to 5th Ave in New York or Rodeo Dr. in LA. While driving it passed skyscrapers such as the John Hancock Building, the Willis (Sears) Tower and the Trump Building.The John Hancock building has The Signature Room restaurant and lounge on the 95th floor with panoramic views of the city that are indescribable. This building is the seventh tallest building in the US and has America’s tallest swimming pool located on the 44th floor.

The view from the Hancock Building’s Signature Room, located on the 95th floor. 

The Willis Tower,  originally called the Sears Tower, is a 108-story skyscraper. In 1973, when it was competed, it was the tallest building in the world, surpassing the World Trade Center and keeping its title for 25 years. It is now the second tallest building in the U.S. next to the Freedom Tower in New York City.

The Willis Tower

Chicago is known for their famous skyscrapers and also for their unique foods. Garrett’s popcorn is a local favorite. The must have item on their menu is Caramel and Cheddar mix (The Chicago Mix) popcorn. While it might sound… interesting to say the least, people walk out of the store with buckets of it!

Another must eat is the Chicago Style hotdog. The ingredients are yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green pickled relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt on a poppy seed bun – the ultimate Chicago classic!

Once the car was able to fully experience the culture of Chicago it was time to head to to Michigan.

See you on the road!

Kayla

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,

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

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,

Kayla

San Francisco and Los Angeles

Before arriving in San Francisco, we stopped at Muir Woods Park to see the famous California Redwood Trees, just north of the city. The trees seem as tall as skyscrapers, and their trunks have such an enormous width that four people can pose for pictures inside some of the hollowed out trunks.

San Francisco and Los Angeles

While attempting to get the dry-tech box posed in front of the towering trees, it tipped over and fell off a bridge into a creek. But fear not, the dry-tech box survived the fall and the water, as the bearings are sturdy and waterproof. Sascha came to the rescue, jumping over the railing, and climbing down the bank to fish out the box.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.2

From Muir Woods we approached San Francisco. The car drove over the famous 1.7 mile-long Golden Gate Bridge into the hazy city. As we drove, the iconic fog began to roll in and cover the arches of the bridge.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.3 San Francisco and Los Angeles.4

After touring the city the iglide car had two customer visits, the first was in San Jose to a company which specializes in designing and manufacturing medical laboratory equipment. Next it was time to head to Santa Clara, where the car visited a potential customer that designs specialty bicycles, which hopes to reduce the weight of their bicycles, in addition to other advantages igus bearings can provide.

In San Francisco, the car had no problem scaling the steep (vertical) streets, reaching the top for panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the storied Alcatraz Prison, and then driving down the well-known zigzagging Lombard Street. The hand-break was constantly in use, essential on the streets of San Francisco, putting igus bearings to the test. We were able to ride on the cable cars, which are a form of public transportation in the city, racing up and down the hills, as cars dodge the fast-moving trolleys, and passengers hang off the side of the cable cars. The car also visited Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory for a little treat.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.5Lombard Street

San Francisco and Los Angeles.6Alcatraz

San Francisco and Los Angeles.7

San Francisco has a retro feel, teaming with tourists, hipsters, and eclectic personalities. The Dungeness crabs, mussels, and fish and chips were delicious and fresh, fished from the San Francisco Bay, which hosts America’s Cup sailboat race, and is known for its vicious currents. We said goodbye to the cool mist of San Francisco and drove south to Los Angeles. We drove along the Pacific Coast Highway, stopping at Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara. From there we headed to our destination of Los Angeles.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.8

We had two customer visits in the Los Angeles area, the first with an electric car designer and manufacturer, known for their innovative and sleek style. The engineers at this beautiful design facility where highly intrigued by the iglide car, and the parts we had on display. Our next visit was to a company which provides measurement solutions designed to improve product quality and productivity for many different kinds of manufacturing equipment. One manager said if she had to sum up igus in one word she would use “excellent”, noting the reliability of the iglide line.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.9 San Francisco and Los Angeles.10 San Francisco and Los Angeles.11The iglide car was a huge hit at our customers’… Everyone was clamoring to get inside and have their photo taken! 

After the customer visits it was time to take the car on an adventure through downtown Los Angeles. After battling the infamous 405 traffic, weaving through all six lanes on the highway, the iglide car wanted to partake in the excitement of the Walk of Fame. The car posed with the Hollywood sign, made an appearance at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, and even spotted a celebrity or two.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.12The car with the Hollywood sign in the distance. 

San Francisco and Los Angeles.13

We are now hitting the road to Las Vegas; look for us on the strip!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla