iglidur® has a new team for the European side of the tour

Hello everybody and welcome to the European side of “iglidur® on tour”.

My name is Karl and I am the representative of iglidur® on tour throughout Europe. Within the next six months, I’ll take pictures, record videos, conduct interviews and post all information onto the blog. You are going to read about the places we discover and the culture we experience. Due to the fact that I’ve got a master’s degree in mechatronics, I will have a closer look on the technical aspects as well. Our customers and their applications are our source of innovation. Therefore, I’m curious to get the story of how igus® products solved their problems and made life easier. In addition, igus® developed web tools to simplify the configuration of our products based on our test results and the requirements of the costumer. I want to know how helpful such tools are to make the right choice and get the best solution.

All in all, I will report on a daily basis but I’m looking forward to hearing from you as well! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or to contact us, if you have any feedback or want to know something more in detail.


The iglidur® car, dry-tech®-box and me. We will get to know each other very well within the next 6 months.

The iglidur® car had its routine maintenance before it started its journey. Therefore, the dry-tech®-box will have a look around Frankfurt.

The Main Tower is one of Germany´s highest skyscrapers with a total height of 240 m, used as office building and open to public. 26 Elevators take visitors to a platform at 198 m height with a speed of 25,2 km/h. These elevators are the fastest in Germany. The drytech®-box made it to the top and had a look at the bank district of Frankfurt am Main.


The dry-tech®-box on top of the MAIN TOWER. It’s cold and windy at a height of 198 m.

At the end of the day, our iglidur®-car left the service centre refreshed and ready to conquer Europe. We are on the road with the next stop ahead. Who we are and where will we go? Find out in my next post when I introduce my colleges and the tour schedule.

So let’s join the igus® family and be part of the innovations around the world!

Karl

The Finale for North America

2 months, 13,670 miles, 30 out of 50 states and one smart car later.. the North American tour has come to an end. This tour has been an overwhelming success for our customers, for our company and for our little orange iglidur® car. Through this journey we visited 43 companies, met with hundreds of customers and received many new potential projects. I can safely say, igus® is a company that prides itself on quality for their customers and this tour proved that message to them. From first hand experience I can say that customers were beyond impressed by the iglidur® car tour. It made engineers who have never heard of igus® come outside, look at the dry-tech® box and say, “I have been looking for this exact product for a project I have.”

The unique part about the US is that the car has driven through various climates and a variety of terrains. It started in Anchorage, Alaska winding through the mountains and sliding on mud roads. Many people say their cars (meant for those conditions) do not make it through the Alaskan Highway, but the iglidur® car surpassed all expectations. It then drove down the sunny west coast and crossed into the Midwest. The car drove through deserts, hail and wind stormsand dry heat. Then it was time to head east where the roads arebusier and the drivers are aggressive. The car ended in one of the busiest cities in the world andprobably the most dangerous city to drive through in the US. From the mud and dirt in Alaska to the congested, pot-hole filled streets of Manhattan, the bearings did their job.

The road conditions of Alaska

The iglidur® car in the Yukon


Do you see the iglidur® car in Times Square

The iglidur® car cruises past the Naked Cowboy in New York City

On Friday, October 3rd, the iglidur® car made it to igus® Inc. in East Providence, RI (before heading to NewYork), after driving 13,670 miles across North America. We had a very busy day with local press visits in the morning from the Providence Journal and WJAR Channel 10 News. Also, Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, Mayor Allan Fung of Cranston, RI and Congressman David Cicilline, all stopped by to join the festivities and to experience a little piece of the tour. Friday night ended with a reception to celebrate the success of the North American tour, iglidur® 30, and igus® 50.


Vice President, Rick Abbate, and Senator Jack Reed at igus® USA

Throughout this tour I spent many hours with igus® employees all over the country and I want to personally thank everyone who I had the utmost pleasure of meeting and working with on this tour. The people I have met on this trip have turned into family.

Thank you to the people who loaded my 6 suitcases in and out of the van countless early mornings and late nights, to the person who drove around for an hour trying to find me a laundry mat, who dedicated their long weekend to drive with us through Wyoming and South Dakota, who invited me into their home, who stayed up until 2 in the morning to repack the van so I wouldn’t have to, (these are just to name a few) this tour wouldn’t have happened without you. It takes a team to make something like this possible. And that is what igus® is, a team.

Now it is once again time to pass the torch to the next group of adventurous souls who will be taking the iglidur® car throughout Europe for its final leg of iglidur® on tour. The three gentlemen are Karl Weinmeister, head of the blog, Nils Schneider, filmographer and driver, and Sandor Meierjohann, filmographer and driver. To all of you, I wish you the absolute best and will be following your exciting journey!

It has been my pleasure being apart of this tour and being able to share this experience with all of you,

*For the last time*

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

 

Wisconsin

The first stop in Wisconsin was the city of Milwaukee, the largest city in the state and the 31st most populated city in the United States. Milwaukee is a funky little city with so many different activities. There is the art museum, beautiful Lake Michigan, Miller Park Baseball field which is home to the Brewers, a downtown area with a canal running through the middle, the Milwaukee Public Market as well as dozens of eclectic restaurants and bars.

As mentioned above, the iglidur® car drove through the city to experience some of Milwaukee’s highlights, stopping at the art museum, Miller Park, public market and drove along Lake Michigan. The Public Market, located in the historic Third Ward, is half food and half local vendors selling hand-crafted items on the sidewalk. The market also has street performers and plays live music outside to be enjoyed whilst shopping.

Downtown Milwaukee; the canal lined with restaurants and shops

The market’s founders drew inspiration for the development from the Pike’s Place market in Seattle (which the car got to visit a few weeks ago).


The car posed with Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes in North America

The car stayed at the Pfister Hotel, rated among the top ten most haunted hotels in the country by Travelocity. It was owned by Guido Pfister and his son Charles, and opened in 1893 after its $1 million construction. It currently has the largest hotel collection of Victorian Art in the world.


In front of the hotel

The halls of the hotel are eerie; doors creak open, and as you walk you can feel the presence of ghosts around the corner. There have been many encounters by guests of the hotel, but it is rumoured that the ghost of Charles Pfister leaves the hotel’s staff alone, and they have a good relationship.


Not a still from “The Shining” but a look at The Pfister’s eerie halls

We were sad to leave Milwaukee and the haunted hotel, but it was time to head north to Appleton to visit customers.

Just outside Appleton, we stopped in at a manufacturer of car wash systems which use igus Energy Chain cable carriers. As the car wash moves, the Energy Chains keep the cables and hoses that supply the car wash safe and tangle-free. The iglidur® car took a drive through the wash, looking pristine on the drive to the warehouse after getting its wash.


Energy Chainsworking hard to clean the iglidur® car


The car inside the customer warehouse, where igus cable carriers are being filled and sent out for use inside car washes

Our next customer visits were to companies that specialize in agricultural and lawn equipment. These customers take advantage of iglidur® plastic bearings to run consistently and reliably in their equipment to help their reputation for dependable, long-lasting equipment.

Because of their resistance against chemicals, iglidur® bearings are not affected by the chemicals and fertilizers that can be prevalent in agricultural applications, and they are also unaffected by unavoidable dirt and dust that can clog and seize traditional ball bearings.

Manufacturers and at-home engineers both love that igus has no minimum orders, and more than 90% of all orders placed ship within 24 hours.

From Milwaukee, it’s off to Chicago for the IMTS trade show – Look for us on the road!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla.

Picture of the day- Chicago!

The iglidur® car is loving its long stay in Chicago! Today the car drove over to see the Chicago Theatre which is an emblem of the city located in the theatre district. It opened in 1921 as the flagship theatre for the Balaban and Katz theatre corporation. Today the theatre is part of the National Register of Historic Places and hosts a variety of different arts including comedy, films, stage plays, speeches and magic shows.

For more automotive information, see the designated igus area here: http://bit.ly/1r0PFkr

 

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 iglidur® car was fortunate enough to get to participate in all of these Minnesotan activities.

Minneapolis 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 centre between Seattle and Chicago. Although the country was rated the 14th largest metropolitan area, the city is very quiet and still. Traffic is minimal, and most restaurants are empty by 9PM.

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

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

 

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

 

After customer visits, the iglidur® 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.

 

 

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.

 

 

From Minneapolis, iglidur® on tour heads south to Iowa.

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

 

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City

After driving through California, it was time to head north to Las Vegas! The palm trees and breezy Pacific Ocean quickly turned to cactus and expansive desert. The car arrived in Vegas and was able to drive down the brightly lit Las Vegas strip, home to many world-famous casinos.

 

We took a helicopter ride over the city that evening, excited to see the city from above. Las Vegas is built in the middle of a desert, meaning that the city is the center of the action, surrounded by the suburbs where thousands of people live, and then nothing; just desert. To see Vegas from a bird’s eye view was pretty overwhelming. While in the helicopter we wore noise canceling head-phones to protect our ears from the loud noise of the propellers. The head-phones featured a narration of our ride, which included many facts and interesting tidbits about the city below. From this guided tour we learned that there are over 300 weddings a day in Las Vegas, including the weddings of many celebrities who chose the infamous strip as their wedding destination. The Luxor hotel (shaped like a pyramid) has a light beam that shines into the sky and can even be seen from space. Most interestingly, we learned that there are more hotel rooms in Vegas than all of Europe. To give an example of the magnitude of these hotels and casinos, our hotel alone had 4,000 rooms.

From Las Vegas, it was off 190 kilometres to one of the Seven Wonders of the World; The Grand Canyon. We took a bus tour that dropped us off at two locations, the first being the Sky Walk which, was opened in 2007 by the Hualapai Tribe, a recognized tribe of Native Americans, originally from the mountains of northwestern Arizona. The Sky Walk consists of a horseshoe shaped steel frame with a glass floor that extends almost about 21 meters from the canyon’s edge, allowing visitors to look straight down to the canyon floor, a somewhat terrifying experience, as nothing but a sheet of glass separates you from the long fall to the bottom.

 

A second viewpoint from the canyon gave a scenic overlook of the canyon. As the sun set behind the mountains, the sky turned a bright orange, lighting the canyon in a breathtaking way, which no photo can do justice.

 

 

From there, it was onto the next stop for iglidur® on tour, Salt Lake City, the capital and largest city in Utah. The drive was unbelievable; the iglidur® car journeyed through kilometres of canyons, taking a pit stop at Zion National Park. Driving through a 8 kilometres stretch of road, wrapping around mountains and canyons to reach…

 

 

 

…Cairns, which are rock towers that mark trails for hikers.

 

We made our own cairn with an iglidur® R bearing to match the red rocks of Zion.

We’ve also had some amazing customer visits in the recent days that show the variety of industries that use igus. One visit was to a company that specializes in equipment to aid in the mobility of people with disabilities, including a new hydraulic ankle joint in a prosthetic leg. Modern prosthetics allow patients to walk more naturally and comfortably than those with traditional prosthetics, partially because of new materials used in their development and manufacture. iglidur® bearings are used in many prosthetic limbs for several reasons, like their light weight, immunity against water, dirt, and other environmental factors, quiet operation, and their ability to dampen vibrations.

 

Because they are made from plastic, rather than traditional metals, iglidur® bearings are very light in weight, which can drastically reduce the weight of prosthetics, making them more comfortable to wear, and allow for a more natural gait, as the patient isn’t compensating for the excess weight of a prosthetic device.

Bearings used in these sorts of devices are made of iglidur® plastic materials like iglidur® Q, which a great choice because it is extremely resilient under high loads and exceptionally shock absorbing, making it an excellent buffer for impact load, like those that occur from walking or running. These are also very quiet, eliminating excess noise – no squeaking or creaking from the bearings with every step!

 

Possibly the most important, these plastic bearings are used in these devices because they are not affected by the dirt, dust, pet hair, rainwater, and other external factors that can be deadly to a traditional lubricating bearing. When using a metal lubricated bearing, this dirt and dust is attracted to sticky grease, clogging the bearing and causing the bearing to seize up, or freeze in place. Similarly, water can wash away this lubricant, leaving the bearing unable to move properly. In a prosthetic leg, for example, a bearing seizure can cause the joint to lock up, and could even cause the user to fall and get hurt. Self-lubricating plastics, on the other hand can work perfectly in even the dirtiest, rainiest environments, keeping prosthetics running!

 

 

After visiting customers, iglidur® on tour took to the road again, on the way to Salt Lake City, with a sightseeing stop at Salt Lake Temple, one of the largest Mormon Temples in the world. Traveling through the city, it was surprisingly calm, as winter is the busy time of year with tourists traveling from everywhere to ski the area’s beautiful mountains.

 

Traveling just outside the city, there are a number of small ski communities, such as Park City, home to the Sundance Festival, an annual celebration of independent films from all over the world. Park City is also full of ski lodges andshops, with an adorable main street lined with restaurants that all looked delicious. There is even a ski lift that picks up residents in the old city and brings them to the mountains. It runs in the off season as well, bringing people up to the mountains, which have water slides and other recreational activities.

 

One of the many restaurants lining Main Street

 

Banksy, a famous artist, has left his mark on a wall in town.

From Salt Lake City, iglidur® on tour is heading to Denver Colorado, through the Moab Desert

Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,
Kayla

The man, the myth and the orange car

After eight months of leading iglidur® on Tour, it is time for the newly famous Sascha to go back to a life that does not involve driving across the world in a bright orange car. I have been lucky enough to get to know Sascha and see the man behind the car and the iglidur® on Tour operation. After witnessing the daily commitment needed to make this tour what it is, I can safely say that igus® could not have chosen a more exemplary individual to take on such a demanding task. Sascha is the perfect choice; someone who loves to travel and experience different cultures, who never backs down from a challenge, and is always professional.

Off the job Sascha is easy going, selfless, witty, a team player and extremely kind hearted. He has carried dozens of suitcases up and down hotel stairs, into elevators, and in and out of vans. He always looks out for his iglidur crew by opening doors, lending an ear, arm, hand or the shirt off his back, buying coffees for everyone, and is constantly smiling, looking to make light of any situation. He is a problem solver, and will always find a silver lining, even when the team has driven 17 straight hours. Best of all he can always make everyone laugh by attempting to rap to American music with his German accent.

 

Whilst working, Sascha is incredibly professional and enthusiastically interacts with our customers by speaking about the tour and igus products. He always says that he sincerely enjoys speaking with customers and getting to know their company by explaining how igus can provide them with the best solutions for their product applications.

 

iglidur® on Tour has become the amazing adventure it is because of the tone Sascha has set. Everything is well organized and planned, leaving enough time for customer visits, while also making sure that there is enough time to take the car out for adventures and sightseeing. He has an amazing eye for the camera and knows exactly what moments are important to capture.

 

It has been such a pleasure to work alongside Sascha whilst he showed me the ropes. In the U.S. we cannot speak more highly to his character; good humour, and professionalism.

We will all miss you Sascha, thank you from all of us for an outstanding job with this tour. It is no easy task but you came, drove, and conquered.

Best regards,

Kayla.  

Yukon & British Columbia

Where have igus parts been used within the car? Find out here: http://bit.ly/1uWKWUU

We have started our journey into the Yukon, driving along the famous Alaskan Highway. The Yukon is known for its miles and miles of undisturbed wilderness, which includes many species of animals, countless lakes, creeks, and other unexpected surprises along the way.

The Yukon Territory is the shape of a right triangle, bordering the state of Alaska. There are very small towns and villages along the way, with hours of driving in between. We spoke with some local people, one man told us that he was sick and had to drive over twenty-three hours to the closest hospital. There is also very limited internet and cell phone reception in these towns, so if anything were to happen, you have to use your resources – a survival of the fittest lifestyle is important when living in an area like this.

The iglidur car has travelled miles and miles through rocky, muddy, winding roads. Many other vehicles many have broken down, but the iglidur car has had no problem travelling through these conditions. Surely this is because of the iglidur bearings we had retrofit into the car, like iglidur G in the brake pedal.

iglidur G is the all-around (the world!) performer, excellent for most applications; maintenance-free, self-lubricating, wear-resistant, and cost-effective. It is resistant to dirt and dust, which is all the car has seen since it arrived in Alaska!

We’ve made a few stops in Whitehorse and WatsonLake over the 3 days it took us to drive through the Yukon. Along the way, we were able to see a mother black bear and her 3 cubs…

As well as a heard of antelope, wild horses and bison, a porcupine, multiple moose, and a reindeer! It was amazing to be able to see these animals completely surrounded by their natural habitat.

There are so many hidden gems in the Yukon. One of the highlights for us was the hot springs in Liard, which is the second largest hot spring in Canada.


This hot spring is unique, as the hot springs are on one side, so on that side, the water is extremely hot, but cools down as you move further away. We swam in the hot spring for over an hour – just the relaxation we needed after 3 longs days of driving.

As we headed out of the Yukon and into the Rocky Mountains, we left behind the gravel roads and found ourselves surrounded by turquoise rivers winding for miles along massive mountains. But, as usual, this was no challenge for our iglidur car as it continued cruising through winding, twisting roads up into the cliffs. While the car is still running great without any problems, the exterior is looking a little rough.  What started out as a bright orange on arrival in Alaska has now turned a light brown!

The iglidur Car with the Rocky Mountains

Keep your eyes peeled for us in Vancouver, where we’re heading next!

We will keep you up to date,

Yours Sascha

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