One country, one passion

Samba, Caipirinha and football: most people associate these words with Brazil. So far, our colleagues are not dancing samba and drinking Caipirinha for the whole day. It’s world cup and everyone in Brazil from young to old and men to women, everyone is crazy about it (but lets remember the World cup in Germany. Everyone, even those not interested in football at all, were suddenly watching it).
A unique world cup feeling could be felt by all, the Brazilian football obsession, at public viewing in Sao Paulo.

The cheerful atmosphere turned tense when Chile caught up and forced Brazil into penalty shootout.

In the end everyone was relieved and in the “party-mood”, when Brazil finally made it.

I don´t want to put my focus on the world cup today as we will deal with it regularly on the immediate tour. I want to present you another cup. Hidden and pushed into the background is the RoboCup world cup that will take place in Brazil (Joao Pessoa) from the 19th to 25th of July. igus® is taking part putting forward a robot, that will have to compete against the best robots of the world in several disciplines. One of these disciplines is robot football.

The University of Bonn, in cooperation with igus®, constructed a Humanoid robot that makes use of several iglidur® bearings and plastic components that were made by igus® using the laser sintering process.

In the next step the robot will be equipped with igus® chainflex too.
While iglidur® bearings ensure smooth, noise-free motion and help to reduce the weight of the robot, igus® chainflex cables will be a space saving solution that ensures the energy supply. The plastic parts, for instance the body, that were made by igus® in the laser sintering process, make the robot extremely light in weight and robust. This gives him a big advantage over competitors.

I´m referring to it as “the robot” as he still lacks a name. On http://goo.gl/mkYJ54 you can help him to get one. In the course of the following weeks, we will tell you more and more details so that you can get to know him a bit better. Then put a name on our Facebook page. You can win a prize if both igus® and the University of Bonn agree on your name.
As I already mentioned, I´m in Sao Paulo right now. Sao Paulo is the economic stronghold of Brazil and with 20 million inhabitants the largest metropolitan area in the southern hemisphere.

Unfortunately, the car is 700 kilometer north of here in the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro. The customs in Rio is specialized on such imports and therefore much faster than the one in Sao Paulo.


The car at customs in Rio

In the course of this week, we are taking a plane to Rio de Janeiro, from where we start the tour. We will take drive south until we reach the border with Argentina.

I will keep you guys up to date,

yours Sascha

The route in pictures, a quick re-cap

We started in Tokyo…

Want to see information on iglidur parts? Go straight to igus website: http://bit.ly/1nBjNSC

…where we took part in the automotive exhibition…

…and also participated in a traditional festival…

…before we started exploring the greatest city on Earth…

We also went to the German Embassy

One member of the embassy even held a speech at our press conference…

…besides Kenny, the country manager of Japan.

As soon as the conference had finished, we mad our way to Isesaki…

We then went onto the West Coast…

Then we drove south to Kyoto…

…the next venue was Osaka…

…and Hiroshima.

From Hiroshima, we continued to travel down South until we reached Mt.Aso, the largest active volcano of Japan.

From Mt. Aso, we went back up North to the coastal city Nagoya.

From Nagoya we continued north to the famous Mount Fuji…

We then headed straight to Sendai, where we received a donation…

From Sendai we headed back towards Tokyo. On the way we dropped by at the factory to say goodbye.

Goodbye Japan

During the last three weeks, we explored some of the major parts of Japan. We drove about 1300 kilometres south until we reached Mount Aso, the largest active volcano of Japan. From there, we made our way 1700 kilometres north again. If you add this to the daily driving, then you come to a total number of about 5200 kilometres. Our bearings endured this distance as easily as they did the previous 17000 kilometres.
Whilst driving north, we passed the Miyagi prefecture. Miyagi is north of Tokio and hit the headlines in 2011, when the Tsunami damaged large parts of the coast. Ishinomaki was one of the cities that suffered near the sea shore, about 80% of the buildings got destroyed.

The sign marks the height of the 2011 Tsunami wave

A lot of work has been done within the last three years with all rubble being removed and new building being erected.


The sign shows that this house can stand a possible Tsunami. In an emergency case, people can climb up the roof

Life goes on. At the first glance you can’t tell that this city grew out of ashes again. However, if you know about the tragedy, then you can still see some leftovers of the Tsunami with huge parts of the former urban land still abandoned and some of the remaining houses derelict.

As some citizens never turned back, neither did some employers. Many facilities that got destroyed were never built up again (or at least not in the city). Some people not only lost their homes but also their work. Some of them are still living in temporary houses that are often too small to provide sufficient privacy.
The Hatachi fund is one of the foundations that are helping in particular children with the aftermath of the disaster. Hatachi means in Japanese “twenty-years-old”. They accompany children until they are twenty years and therefore officially adult. Hatachi serves as an umbrella for a various kind of foundations. Each is specialized on a certain aspect of aid. One of them is the “Chance for Children foundation” (CFC), which focuses on education.

igus Japan will support their work with one euro for each driven kilometre.

The money will be used, for instance, for study rooms where children can learn, play and get help with their homework. Also, they give out an “education-voucher”. The children use this voucher as a method of payment. A wide range of institutions such as cramming schools, sport clubs, music schools, museums etc. accept the voucher. They change it later with CFC to actual money.

This section of the tour has come to an end. I want to use the chance to say “adigato gozaimasu” to my Japanese colleagues, who were showing me great hospitality and support. It was a great tour.

We are on the way to Tokyo. From there the car will departure to the other site of the world. The next time I will write to you will be from Brazil.

Yours Sascha.

 

 

 

Driving North

We are still driving north. Soon, we will reach our most northern destination Sendai.

On our way we passed Fukushima, where the Tsunami of 2011 hit a nuclear plant. It is well known that this resulted in the meltdown of three of the plant’s six nuclear reactors. The clean up is still in motion and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. As the radiation is very high in the proximity of the reactor, robots are replacing humans wherever possible. One model of a robot, that is in use to remove rubble, uses our triflex® R chain. triflex® R ensures the energy supply by guiding and protecting the cables. triflex® R are three-dimensional cable carriers for robots of which not only offer multi-dimensional movements but are also very easy to assemble, in particular in combination with the tensioning device (triflex® RS).

triflex® RS is a very compact universal module that is mounted on fastening points available on the robot. Thanks to the low installation height and the triflex® R chain guide parallel to the robotic arm, applications with extremely low installation space can also be realized.

Heading north led us mainly along the coast.

At one point we reached the grave of the first Shogun of the Edo period (Kunozan Toshogu).

He established the Tokugawa clan that had been ruling Japan from 1600-1868. The Shogun (literally “military commander”) was the leader of the Samurai and technically appointed by the emperor. Although the emperor in Kyoto was still the legitimate ruler of Japan, the Shogun controlled Japan. Thus, de facto, they ruled the country. People who worship the shogun sometimes donate something to the grave or shrine respectively. For instance, one company donated these barrels full of Sake (famous Japanese rice wine).

Another one donated plastic figures that are manufactured in the region.

Further north, we visited the national symbol of Japan, the famous Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is with 3776 meters the highest mountain in Japan.

The altitude is not so special, but rather that the volcano (last eruption 1707) is standing completely alone making the mounting look huge.

The mountain has been added to the world heritage list in 2013 and has also been selected as a “cultural” heritage site rather than a “natural” heritage site. As per UNESCO, Mount Fuji has not only inspired artists and poets but also been an object of pilgrimage for centuries. Unfortunately, we could not spare time to take the car up the mountain although our bearings would not have been fazed having to face snow and cold. They are used to harsher environments.

One of our customers with the iglidur® on tour flag

Alternatively, we visited the nearby lake Kawaguchi.

The tour in Japan is already coming to an end. In the course of the week the car will leave the land of the rising sun to take the long way to Brazil.

I keep you up to date,

Yours Sascha.

Fire and Ashes

When you travel thousands of kilometres, it is important that the seat is robust and comfortable. iglidur® bearings enable the driver to maintain a comfortable sitting position. Worldwide, manufacturers are using igus products to improve their seating in vehicles.

A seat manufacturer from Japan, who makes use of iglidur®

Seating manufacturers make use of iglidur® in several elements including seat height adjustments, backrest angle adjustments, crash-active headrest and adjustment motors.

 

iglidur® bearings are convincing with smooth motion. We make use of iglidur® for the seat in our car too. Our bearings help adjusting the seat without making any noise.

Although it can be said to be dependant on the weight of the person, the bearings must endure a high static load. With 100N/mm² iglidur® bearings could even carry the heaviest sumo wrestler. However, the quality of being able to carry a heavy weight does not compromise on the weight of the bearing itself; they remain light (about seven times lighter than conventional metal bearings). They are a cost-effective and reliable bearing solution for any kind of seat.

Japan comprises of four large islands, of which includes the mainland with Tokyo and Hiroshima. From Hiroshima we travelled right to the southern island Kyushu.

Kyushu is the third largest island, famous for its numerous hot springs. Pillars of white steam can be seen everywhere. Hot springs seem frequent, whilst we were in Taiwan, one of our bearings we immersed in boiling hot spring water for more than one hour, the result; the bearing was no different to before it went in! The clouds you can see in the background are not those of the usual kind, yet from hot springs in the mountains.

The unique geography of Japan (being situated at the edges of three tectonic plates), encourages the high percentage of springs. Here, the Pacific Plate, Philippine Plate and the Eurasian Plate are meeting, resulting in Japan not only a centre for hot springs, but also to one of tsunamis and active volcanoes. As our bearings can easily endure high heat (For instance: iglidur X is suitable for temperatures of +250 °C (long-time) and up to +315 °C (short-time), we took the car to Mount Aso; not only the largest active volcano in Japan, yet one of the contenders among the largest in the world. As the soil near a volcano is very fertile, the surrounding is very green.

Already from far away, while passing the lowland below the volcano, you can see the pillar of smoke.

The last eruption of Mount Aso was in 2011.

An eruption at our visit would have been surely more dangerous for us than our bearings. They are all dirt and heat resistant.

From Mount Aso, we travelled North again where we passed a chain of small islands near the mainland.

From there, we drove straight about 800 kilometres to the coastal city Nagoya.

In Japan, we have already coveredabout 3000 kilometres.

I will keep you up to date,

yours Sascha.

From Kyoto to Hiroshima

Visit the igus website for further product information:  http://bit.ly/1nBjNSC

Despite the onset of the rainy season, we are very lucky with the weather. A few times each day, we can transform our car into a cabriolet and enjoy the sun.

India, China, South Korea, Taiwan and finally Japan, we made use of the convertible top almost every day. So far, it has not been a challenge for our bearings to face dust, dirt, smog and extreme humidity.
iglidur® G, our all-rounder, replaced lubricated fibreglass-filled PA6 polyamide bearings and heavy metal bearings.

iglidur® G is the most sold igus® bearing. It is cheap, easy to assemble and has a long life. It is the perfect choice for applications with a high force and slow to medium motions. One of the customers that we visited as we ventured south, plans launching an electric car in the near future. He will make use of iglidur® G in several applications.

iglidur® G in the operation and sealing of the convertible top

Before I want to leave Kyoto and travel further on South, I would like to introduce you to some traditional dances and shows that we could experience there. We had the great opportunity to see the Kyoto Takigi-noh dance show. The dance, called noh, is the most ancient theatre dance in Japan, where no emotion is expressed within the body or voice. They have been performing the same show at the famous Heijan Jingu shrine for the last 65 years. As the show is only once a year, we really had luck to be in Kyoto at this time.

Another form of dance or music respectively, which comes originally from China, is Gagaku. Gagaku is a type of classical music that has been performed at the imperial court in Kyoto for several centuries.

After the end of the Tang-Dynasty, it almost completely disappeared out of the mind of people. Only a few people have kept Gagaku alive.

From the traditional centre of Japan we headed south towards Hiroshima. Sadly, Hiroshima is well known for a disastrous tragedy that happened there on the 6th of August 1945. In the wake of the second world war, the USA dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This watch is kind of famous in Japan. It stopped working exactly in the second of the explosion

Hiroshima was the base of the fifth division and a logistical hub for the Japanese military. It has been the only use of nuclear weapons in a war so far. In the explosion and the following years around100000-150000 people died.

The red ball marks the centre of the explosion, which is located 600 meter above the industrial park

The majority of those who survived were children. In advance, they were brought to a city nearby due to the thread of bombings. With the assault Japan surrendered. This marked the end of the Pacific war. Nowadays, the USA and Japan are very close allies. As Japan was going a very pacifistic way after the war, thus has no real military, the USA guarantees their security.
Hiroshima was completely rebuilt. The huge memorial near the centre reminds people of the bombings and how the local population built up a city out of ashes.
It got proclaimed as a city of peace by the Japanese parliament. Many international peace treaties are worked out in Hiroshima.

Nowadays, it is a thriving port city with a population of about 1,2 million people. From Hiroshima we will continue driving south and at one point leave the mainland.

Yours, Sascha.

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