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MDA Technologies 3/2014

MDA Technologies 3/2014

Machine elements Around

Machine elements Around the World with Plastics Dirk Schaar “iglidur on tour” is the motto under which German company igus takes a converted car equipped with plastic plain bearings around the globe. The campaign is more than just a demonstration for the company‘s anniversary. See for yourself. What makes a young man who just completed his studies at the University of Bonn (Germany) take an orange Smart across four continents in nine months? It‘s an unprecedented challenge and an idea that he couldn‘t say no to: plastics specialist igus from Cologne (Germany) wants to document the performance of its polymer plain bearings called “iglidur”. For the 50 th anniversary of the company and the 30 th birthday of iglidur, a very special campaign was to draw attention. Igus‘ engineers are always ready to come up with something unusual. A small car equipped and converted with plastic plain bearings in many different places in coordination with the Institut für Fahrzeugtechnik of the university for applied sciences in Cologne was to take a demonstration run around the globe. This is where Sascha Laufenberg comes in: he has the honor of driving the Smart through the streets of many countries. On January 20 th , 2014, it was finally time: before many journalists, guests and many igus employees, the project was presented in detail. “With our long experience in the area of ‘motion plastics’ – plastic parts used in drives, bearings and supplies – we are sending a small car around the world. 56 elements were replaced by igus plain bearings, to demonstrate the performance capacity of our Tribo plastics: reducing cost and improving technology,” explains CEO Frank Blase. Then he sent Sascha Laufenberg on the road. His first stop was the Frankfurt airport, from where he left for Delhi, India. Before the first leg This kind of elaborate project will, of course, require lots of preparation and specifically the knowledge and know-how of experts. The most important phase of the expedition therefore was its preparation. Since November 2013, a team from the university of applied sciences in Cologne under the management of Johannes Thomé and igus‘ plain bearings developer Michael Krug had been working to convert the Smart car. They were working to replace as many bearings as possible with Igus plastic plain bearings, within the time set for it technically and iglidur on Tour Author: Dirk Schaar, editor-in-chief, MDA Technologies 01 Before the tour: Johannes Thomé converts the vehicle 22 MDA Technologies 3/2014

About Company name: igus Established: 1964 Headquarters: Cologne, Germany Turnover: €427 m Employees: 2,400 worldwide Products: motion plastics, plastic components for moving applications: energy chain systems, cables, polymer bearings, linear bearings, lowcost-automation 04 On tour through South Korea according to the TÜV provisions. The metal bearings at the brake pedal, the windshield wiper and the window lifters, the shifting module, the seat console, the hand brake, at the starter generator, the throttle flap and the hood were replaced with igus’ polymer bearings. Many modules had to be taken apart entirely and reassembled precisely to maintain function. Standard plain bearings could often be used. Sometimes however, precise spare parts had to be developed with CAD models, before the corresponding components could be milled or turned from iglidur semi-finished products. A number of the 45 different iglidur catalog materials were used, for a total of 56 igus components installed inside the car. Even visual consistency was observed in case of the seat latching elements. 30 years of experience For igus to even attempt to test their plastic bearings in a world-wide tour is due to the company‘s 30 years of experience with plain bearings. Since 1983, they have been dealing with the research, development and continuous optimization of tribopolymers for the iglidur brand for industrial applications. Due to the 1,750 m 2 test lab, in which about 10,000 plain bearing tests were performed in 2013 alone, the company was able to develop outstanding expertise in plastics technology. With more than 12,000 articles, the Cologne company offers the largest range of frictionoptimized polymer plain bearings in the world. More than 200 M plain bearings were installed in cars in 2012 alone. Every second igus plain bearing is already being used in cars today. The benefits of plastic plain bearings are clear: the bearings made of plastic compounds can do without external lubrication, they are free of corrosion, and do not require any maintenance. “In spite of their low weight and low costs, they are wearresilient and extremely resilient,” Markus Feth, industry manager Automotive at igus GmbH, points out. Dampening properties help minimize, noise sounds in the inside. The application areas are far from being utilized to capacity, however, is that polymer plain bearings still offer up great potential. Practice will show This potential is now to be further uncovered by “iglidur on Tour” as well. This trip will take Sascha Laufenberg and his Smart not only across four continents and three oceans, thousands of kilometers across asphalt, gravel, mud and sludge – the many stops at igus branches around the world, and specifically at the sites of partners and customers, are to lead to a dialog with global igus experts. The iglidur car will thus establish direct contact among the global network of the plastic fans among the OEMs and suppliers and develop it even further. “And once all the technical and driving challenges have been mastered, the vehicle will stop in Cologne for the company‘s 50 th anniversary on 15 th October 2014, before setting out on its tour through Europe. The final designation is the Hanover Trade Fair 2015, where the installed parts will be exhibited”, Frank Blase says. Sascha Laufenberg and the Igus country teams have already completed the first legs of the tour. After the launch in Cologne, a five-month drive through Asia (India, China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan), about 22,000 km driven, more than 150 customers visited and great photographs in front of the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall of China, the team transferred across the sea to Brazil – just in time for the soccer WCH. At the moment, they are continuing to drive through the USA – from cold Alaska through Canada to hot California and then on to the East Coast. Europe is still waiting on the tour plan afterwards. The project is drawing attention not only on site, but particularly also online, as Sascha Laufenberg knows: “Our focus is mostly on our tour-blog and on Facebook. I report in detail on what happens there. Visitors can find new posts every day, and follow the tour as a whole. It‘s the heart of ‘iglidur on tour’. ” www.igus.com 02 The Igus crew at Auto Expo in Delhi loves it (Sascha Laufenberg – 4 th from the left) 03 Unfortunately, this is as close as iglidur could get to the Taj Mahal For more information on the tour, also see: blog.igus.de/iglidurontour and facebook.com/igusDe MDA Technologies 3/2014 23

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