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igus® protecting our shores through binoculars

Last year, I had the pleasure of supplying the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) with bearings for binoculars at the St Albans station.

coastal binoculars

The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) is responsible for protecting the UK’s coastlines 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This was staffed physically in 1970, however, in the early 1990’s, the majority became automated.

The remaining watch stations are operated and manned by 2,500 volunteers. These volunteers are the “eyes” of the coast. They aid the coastguards by spotting distress flares, overturned vessels or boats in trouble. Each of the stations must stand on its own merit as a voluntary organisation. Unfortunately, they receive no funding, relying on contributions.

Bearings in binoculars

An NCI volunteer, Martin Seedall, made the initial contact with igus® after using igus® products for many years in other job roles. I established that the iglidur® G range would be ideal for this particular job after identifying the application information. The binocular mounting system is fixed indoors. It is safe from the environmental elements however it was still important to use the best materials possible for the system. The binoculars weigh over 9kg and are 650mm long. Not only that, they are expensive. Therefore it was essential that the mounting system was designed with the following things;

  • High precision
  • A small amount of friction
  • Quiet running

igus® polymer bearings were chosen as opposed to sinter bearings or glacier bearings thanks to these key features.

binocular mounting system

The small bearings sit inside the newly designed mount for the binoculars. After talking to Martin it became clear that the NCI relies on donations and contributions. Therefore I sent the 4 bearings as samples. I felt this was a small contribution to help keep the UK coastlines safe.

A few weeks later I received an email from Martin thanking me for the bearings. I also received a photo of the bearings in the new mount and a plaque. This was to acknowledge the companies that had helped contribute towards achieving its completion.

The igus® bearings can be tiny and underestimated but it is projects like this that igus® loves! Something that one person sees as insignificant can be very significant to someone else. This is true for all igus® products. People can overlook the importance of polymer bearings, energy chains and rod ends. However with igus® tribo-polymer materials, it may be exactly what you are looking for.

Read more about igus® polymer bearings here.

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