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.

Video of the Week – iglidur on tour – Our Journey So Far

 


A car with plastic bearings travels the world to celebrate 30 years of iglidur

To celebrate 30 years of iglidur materials, polymer specialist igus has retrofitted a car with iglidur bearings which is currently travelling around the world. The iglidur bearings have replaced bearings in applications such as the windscreen wipers, brake pedal pivot point and throttle valves, thus demonstrating the durable and robust nature of the iglidur materials. The self-lubricating iglidur bearings provide a more efficient solution for car designers looking for dirt and chemical resistant bearings that operate more quietly than their metallic counterparts. Whilst reducing weight and eliminating the need for maintenance.

The iglidur car has nearly completed the first leg of its tour, travelling through India, China, Taiwan and Japan visiting customers and spreading the ‘plastic for longer life’ ethos, and of course, doing a bit of sightseeing! Through its already vast journey, iglidur has proven its reliability by travelling in some harsh environments, from dirt tracks to wet and humid locations throughout.

About customs and traditions

Most people associate Kyoto with the famous Kyoto protocol which sets obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emission. Fewer people actually know that Kyoto is the birthplace of Nintendo (initially, they only launched a card game and had nothing to do with game consoles) and probably even fewer know that Kyoto had been the capital city for more than thousand years.

Visit our website for more information about igus bearings here: http://bit.ly/1nBjNSC

Kyoto is the perfect place for gaining invaluable insights into Japanese traditions. These traditions and customs are partly still visible. For instance, you should abide to some customs when visiting customers. Usually, the colleague that has a higher rank is introducing the lower ranked. It can also be said to work on the opposite too where usually, you hand over your business card to the individual who is higher up within the organisation first. Also, as you may already know, to bow for salutation is still common in Japan and of which I have just learned that the bowing has three levels. The first level, bowing about ten percent, is common between friends and colleagues. The second level has a bowing of about 30 percent, which is more formal. You use it mainly when meeting older people and people that have a higher rank. The third level, a bow of about 45 percent, symbolizes deep respect or an apology. I always make a bow of 30-45% whilst greeting a customer (just to be on the safe side). They don’t mind if a foreigner doesn’t know about customs or forgets them, but I would like adapt to the culture I am living in right now. A customer of whom are a major manufacturer for textile machines, is a sure place in which I could practise my bowing.

They are manufacturing customized machines and are about to set up new ones abroad. Of course, these machines need to be maintained, which can turn out to be very expensive. Thus, they are looking for maintenance-free products that can help increase the life of their machines. iglidur® and drylin® can help them extend the lifetime of their machines due to all our products having self lubricating properties and are therefore maintenance free. With igus® they don’t need to send their employees to customers abroad so often due to technical problems which again, helps save money.
Many manufacturer of textile machines are relying on igus® products. Often, not only iglidiur® bearings are essential to help to improve the quality and lifetime, but also other products such as igubal®. igubal® self-aligning bearings include rod ends, ball and socket joints, clevis joints, pillow blocks, flange bearings, pressfit bearings, and spherical balls that are all highly vibration dampening. This circular knitting machine, of MAYER & CIE GmbH & Co, relies on igubal® spherical bearings. They prevent any failure through the sticking together of textile fibres by their maintenance-free feature and the omission of lubricants.

As Kyoto is the traditional centre, it is not surprising that the city offers many cultural sights.

Everywhere, at least nearby the centre, you can find stunning temples or shrines.

One of the most famous temples is Kyomizu-dera.

The temple is UNESCO world heritage site and unique in the way it was built. They didn’t use a single nail. The huge terrace of the temple offers impressive views of the city.

The terrace is associated with an old Japanese phrase which means translated “to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu”. You can compare it to the English phrase to “take the plunge”. If one were to survive a 13m jump from the stage, one’s wish would be granted. Two hundred thirty-four jumps were recorded and 85.4% survived it. Of course, nowadays it is forbidden to jump from the terrace

Nearby the temple, hidden in a small street, is a restaurant that absolutely doesn’t look like a restaurant. There is no sign advertising or welcoming guests. It is one of the very traditional restaurants that are only open to an exclusive circle of members. In order to become a member, you need at least two recommendations and an interview with the owner of the restaurants. The owner, an old lady at the age of 70-80, proves the candidates knowledge about traditions and his behaviour. She decides who is worth to have dinner in her restaurant. Due to some relations we had the chance to have dinner there. At the beginning she seemed to ignore my “misbehaviour” but later she was sitting next to me at the table and correcting me when I did something wrong. For instance, when I forgot to put the spoon out of the soup she was doing it for me, or when I used my mobile phone she asked a colleague to tell me that I should put it away.  During the dinner we had the opportunity to meet two Geishas.

Geishas are traditional female entertainers who act as hostesses and whose skills include performing various Japanese arts such as classical music, dance and games.

It is not that everyone can just call them but only a few people can do so. Also, you cannot just become a Geisha. You must attend a selective school for it. What looks strange for most people is the white skin.

The use of white make up comes from an age where people knew only candles as the only source of light. At candle light the white face appears rose and natural.
Japan is a very modern country indeed, but at the same time you can find many old buildings and traditions that can be traced back hundred of years ago. I’m excited to explore more of this fascinating country.

I will keep you up to date,

yours, Sascha.

 

The first 500Km

We started to head out of Tokyo straight after the press conference, towards our first destination; Isesaki, which is around one hour east of the capital city. Once in Isesaki, we visited the first of our beloved customers. As iglidur® approached upon the business property, it was fantastic to be greeted by the whole R&D department, with around 20 members gathering to not only take a look at the car, yet be informed about the numerous igus® products involved.

The customer has a current need for the use of bearings within his exhaust system, and is thus testing those of igus’. One application area could be in the throttle body. iglidur® bearings, guiding the throttle valve, could be said to be a classic worldwide application, where a wide range of customers have been relying on self-lubricating iglidur® bearings for their throttle valve for many years.

iglidur® bearings endure high temperatures without any problems and are a cost-effective and light alternative to heavy metal bearings. Suspicious? The following video clip, made in Taiwan, is showing very lively how resistant igus® plain bearings are against heat:

https://youtu.be/FsuDpgZZlvc

Although Isesaki was only about one hour drive from Tokyo, it altogether took us 2-3 hours to get there. Initially, we had to pass the suburbs of the greatest city on earth, yet some of these “suburbs” are as large as major European cities. Sooner or later when you eventually leave Tokyo, all the scenery turns to green landscapes.

The route in which we embarked upon lead us right to the city centre. In winter, the mountains turn into a famous skiing-area whereas in summer, there is a real contrast in season where you can experience the real countryside of Japan.

As in most developed countries, the rural part gets more and more abandoned. Despite a shrinking population, the big cities are growing. The majority of people growing up in the countryside leave their villages behind. With their villages, they also leave behind traditional dishes, all of them incredibly delicious. Although the picture below at a first glance looks likes potatoes, it is actually grind fish. Somehow, it gets the potato look and even has a similar consistency.

One evening we went to a restaurant/bar where an old lady, cooking and serving at the same time, made traditional “grandma” food… which simply was the best in the world.

Karaoke, invented in Japan, is a must in traditional bars. It was evident that the people gathering there had been doing Karaoke their entire life. Everyone, including the very old cook of the house, had a pleasant and unique voice. It was surely not contributing to my self-confidence when it was my turn to get up to sing something.

From the old Grandmothers bar, we continued our journey on heading towards the sea. On the way, we had the chance to visit an UNESCO world heritage site.

The village is preserved in a very traditional way with wooden houses that have a roof made out of straw.

From the world heritage site we ended up at Hakui, which is located at the sea. As iglidur® is water resistant, we took the opportunity to take the car to the shore of the Japanese sea.

igus® bearings are all water resistant as well as corrosion free. Based on this, we offer special bearings that are exclusively manufactured for meeting the demand of under-water applications.  iglidur® H, our water specialist, is the perfect choice not only for water but also fluids and chemicals respectively.

Anyway, I will keep you up to date,

Yours, Sascha.

Video of the Week – Second generation readycable finder

Faster searching, faster assembly and faster purchasing

Energy chain and cabling specialist igus, has launched its next generation online readycable finder  which allows users to find the right drive cable according to the manufacturer’s standard, as well as select the desired length and quantity even faster than before. Users are provided with a price comparison indicating savings and the most cost-efficient cable for the application purpose.

The readycable finder also provides technical information about cable properties such as oil-resistance, jacket material and bending radius.  The readycable interface allows users to change their product information whilst providing a running total price in the shopping cart.

For more information on igus products and to request free product samples, please contact igus on 01604 677240. For regular updates, follow us on www.twitter.com/igusUK, watch our videos at www.igus.co.uk/youtube connect with us at www.igus.co.uk/facebook.

Press conference-Tokyo

This morning was the official start of iglidur® on tour in Japan where, to mark this occasion, Thirty-two journalists came to a hotel in the centre of Tokyo to join the press conference.

Kunihiko Kitagawa (or Kenny, which is easier for non-Japanese), country manager of igus® Japan, was informing the journalists about the history of igus®, our iglidur® products and the immediate tour.

We intend on exploring the whole island, driving along the coast once around Japan with at least 4500 km lying ahead. For each kilometre, igus® Japan will donate one euro to a foundation that is helping children who have suffered from the Tsunami in 2011 (For instance, those who lost their home).
One highlight of the conference was the speech of Mr. Sickert, who was representing the German embassy. The German embassy helped us with the complicated registration of the car.

Mr.Sickert referred to igus® as a highly innovative company that is representing the German “Mittelstand”:
“With its highly specialised products, sales and production facilities on several continents and obvious knack for marketing, igus is a prime example of the successful Mittelstand”. The German “Mittelstand” comprises of mid-size companies that are considered as the economic backbone of the German economy.

After his speech, the journalists had the chance to ask questions and to get more information about our products.A wide range of igus® products were also showcased on several tablets.

Following on from the press conference we left Tokyo. Our first stop is Isesaki, where we are going to visit our first customers. Three weeks of customers, driving and adventures. Let the tour begin.

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