Review – Application – Foldable motor scooters

While in France, at Sophia Antipolis in Alpes-Maritimes, we were invited by XOR Motors for a visit. The start-up company was founded in 2007 by Fabrice Marion. XOR stands for “Xtraordinaires Objets sur Route” (“Xtraordinary Objects on Road” in English), and specifically it is about innovative, foldable electric scooters, which have to meet all the following criteria: they must be powerful, clean, practical, affordable – and the fun factor should also not be neglected.

A shared affection for innovative ideas (from left to right): Fabrice Marion, founder of XOR Motors, Karl Weinmeister, Nils Schneider (both iglidur® on tour) and Christophe Riandet (igus® France)

The term “clean” signifies the environmental friendliness. All the engines leaving the XOR Motors factory are exclusively electric and have a very high efficiency. About 90 percent of the energy consumed are delivered to the wheel, which is of considerable value compared to a petrol engine. In addition, 99 percent of the materials used in the scooter are recyclable, including the storage battery. The entire structure is, for example, made of aluminium. The biggest highlight, however, is: XOR Motors manufactures the first high-performance motor scooters that can be folded and thus kept very small when they are not in use.

And right here, igus® comes into action. Because, XOR Motors equips all hinge points of the folding with iglidur® plain bearings. They are inexpensive and extremely lightweight compared to conventional steel bearings, and resistant to weather because they are corrosion free. Moreover, they are self-lubricating, which offers the advantage that the customer need not worry about his plain bearings. You may say, install and forget them.

iglidur® plain bearings are installed at all hinge points of the folding. This saves weight and regular maintenance.

We are grateful to XOR Motors for the interesting time. Their passion for scooters is contagious.

Review – Application – Italbox

Next we visited the company Italbox in Portugal, in the city of Águeda. The enterprise manufactures shower units and they do it very successfully. A large part of the production goes to hotel facilities throughout the world. Armando Conceicao, who founded the company in 1999, at that time only offered three different shower unit models for sale, which were manufactured in a 300 square meters facility. Today Italbox could no longer fit into such a facility, the product range is huge and everything happens on the premises: Design and development, manufacturing, assembly and quality control. Even supplemental machines, for instance, that are used to punch holes in aluminium profiles, have been developed by the company itself. Decoration of the glass surfaces is executed by sand‐blasting with extremely fine sand ‐ naturally in house. The only thing that is not done on site is the chrome plating of the components for the good look.

Review – Application – ItalboxThe most beautiful bath design cannot distract from the fact that Karl keeps his shoes on when he takes a shower

Thus Italbox owns many patents, naturally also in its own name. The association with famous Italian designers is certainly desired, however Armando Conceicao, who personally guided us through his facility, emphasises that the name was more or less a chance occurrence. At the time, he submitted several names and this one was accepted. However, far as the products that leave the plant are concerned, this Italbox by no means leaves to chance. Tests have a high priority. And this took us back to the first igus® application.

Review – Application – Italbox.2In the upper photo you can see an aluminium rail, bottom left in the profile. In the bottom right photo one of the carriages can be identified, into which the glass door is inserted

The carriage sits in the rail for the glass doors. Rail and carriage are made of aluminium; one carriage has four rollers of iglidur® J and two liners of iglidur® J200. Two of these carriages are inserted in the rail and a head‐high glass door is placed on the carriages. The rollers are made of bar stock with a lathe tool designed for this purpose.

Review – Application – Italbox.3Initially Italbox used a single long carriage to bear the load of the glass door, until this was shortened, and later replaced by two short carriages. This also makes the design easier visually. The photo shows the development from left to right

To test the wear resistance of the design, and thus the rollers as well, Italbox performed its own practical test. 20,000 cycles were required, after 100,000 cycles the experiment was aborted. Result: No visible wear.

Review – Application – Italbox.4On the left an innovative hinge with an igus®, type iglidur® A180 bearing, on the right a hinge with standard plastic bearings. You see the real difference only after 200,000 cycles at the latest

The glass doors of the unit are held in place by chrome‐plated hinges. At first, plain bearings of standard plastic were installed here, now the igus®‐component iglidur® A180 is standard at Italbox. The material absorbs virtually no water at all and thus maintains the required tolerances over the long term, this makes it ideally suited for this type of application. Another plus is the absence of the stick‐slip effect that can occur where at the commencement of a movement, a lot of force must be exerted due to the high friction resistance. This effect does not exist with the igus® components, this is ensured by the solid lubricants inside the material. These are the same lubricants that make regular maintenance unnecessary.

In the test the bearings, which by the way can be ordered as standard products in the igus® catalogue, were clearly convincing: The system had to hold for at least 20,000 cycles, after 200,000 cycles the fatigue test was aborted without the slightest indication of wear. The igus® bearings passed the test with flying colours!

Review – Application – Italbox.5Italbox stands for sophisticated design and also shows it from the outside igus® and the “iglidur® on tour” team thank Armando Conceicao and his interpreting employee Aydin Rodigues for the tour through the Italbox plant, which was just as interesting as it was detailed.

Kind regards,
igus® and the “iglidur® on tour”-team

Review – Application – Radpak

First stop on our road trip through Poland was the company Radpak in Wloclawek. The specialist for packaging machines was founded by Tad Radzanowski in 1991 and offers its customers individually adapted complete solutions, including process control systems and extending to final packaging and palletising. Radpak has cartoners, lidding machines, cup fillers, case formers, box filling machines, VFF&S machines, Case Packer machines and sealing systems in its product line, as well as auger fillers and scales. Just as we arrived a machine was being prepared for delivery to the USA.

Rückblick – Anwendung – RadpakRadpak is expanding and builds with igus®. Multiple e‐chains® guide the lines of this packaging system. In the photo detail below an igubal® pillow block bearing including lead screws can be seen

Participation at international exhibitions have brought Radpak a worldwide clientele. Many sales came about due to the favourable price, as they explained to us, and only thereafter due to the uncompromising quality offered by the Polish enterprise. To ensure that ultimately there is a win‐win situation for both sides a genuine contribution is made by the reasonably priced igus® components with their self lubricated characteristics and the resulting zero maintenance. Worldwide sales is only a rewarding proposition if a component does not give up the ghost suddenly and unexpectedly and must be repaired or replaced. This is why Radpak builds on igus® components.

Rückblick – Anwendung – Radpak.2A precise look at a drylin® W double rail. Through the double rail segments are adapted to different products

For packaging machines a high clock speed predominates in order to deliver as many products as possible in a short time. The e-chain® protects the line against damage and extends its service life. Consequently the moving lines are routed in e-chains®. Pillow block bearings from the igubal® series support the lead screws, via which the machines can be adapted to the different product sizes. Thanks to the drylin® linear guide, segments of the packaging system are adapted to the different product sizes. The product, such as a bar of soap is first packed in individual packages, and then packed in large quantities in boxes. Sometimes these steps are executed in separate machines.

Rückblick – Anwendung – Radpak.3Radpak employees and the “iglidur® on tour” team. The packaging machine behind them will soon start off on its voyage to the USA

The “iglidur® on tour” team thanks Radpak for the memorable experience on this afternoon and for the delicious hazelnut‐vanilla flavoured coffee.

Kind regards,
igus® and the “iglidur® on tour”-team

Review – Application – Thorax Trainer

In Denmark, we paid a brief visit to the Scandinavian cross-country skiing specialist Thorax Trainer, which brings the trails into customers’ homes with its ingenious sports equipment (also named the Thorax Trainer). The athlete in training moves the poles in the same manner as when cross-country skiing outdoors; the motion sequences and workout intensity are extremely realistic. And this is precisely what the Thorax Trainer developers focused on achieving.

Rückblick – Anwendung – Thorax TrainerWhen driving the iglidur®-car all the way across Europe, it is good to get in a couple of kilometres on the Thorax Trainer.

We tested a new Thorax Trainer model. The resistance is generated by a flywheel, similar to that which is used on spinning bikes. The force transfer essentially occurs via the conventional cross-country skiing poles. The ingenious part about the design is in the detail – on the new version, each of the poles is attached to a drylin®-W double rail with a carriage.
The maintenance-free, self-lubricating material from igus® makes the machines extremely quiet running and, as we have heard from experienced skiers, offers a realistic sense of being out in the snow. This is a huge advantage over the standardised ball bearing guide rails used to date.

Rückblick – Anwendung – Thorax Trainer.2The top picture shows a standardised ball bearing guide rail (left) and a drylin®-W double rail, which replicates the feeling of snow (right). The bottom picture provides a close-up of the carriage.

In 2013, the Thorax Trainer developers won a competition for the best plastic plain bearing applications. Their creative design led to them receiving the Gold manus® award. And quite rightly so, we believe.

We would like to thank the Thorax Trainer team for the welcome opportunity to get a little exercise. Keep up the good work and always stay active.

Kind regards,
igus® and the “iglidur® on tour”-team

Review – Application – MPPB

In Poland, we enjoyed a brief stop at the boat manufacturer MPPB. J. W. Slepsk in Augustów. The company was founded by owner Jozef Wiszniewski and originally started out in the construction sector. Today, MPPB successfully develops and produces items including boats and yachts in a broad range of designs. One thing that all the models that come off the production line in Augustów have in common is the preferred production material of fibreglass.

Rückblick – Anwendung – MPPBThe Polish boat constructors prefer to use modern materials for their boats and yachts. The drylin® range from igus® fits into this concept perfectly

The boat constructors use two individual rails from the drylin® range with multiple housing bearings on each side for the canopy mechanics. The bearings are positioned at the folding points of the canopy, which is manually moved and can be locked with a bolt.

Rückblick – Anwendung – MPPB.2The canopy when open and closed. A drylin® W individual rail is used on each side. The arrow in the bottom picture indicates one of the housing bearings, which are positioned at the points where the material folds

The main reason for MPPB’s decision to use an igus® solution is the excellent resistance of the high-performance plastic against salt water, solar radiation and other environmental influences. A further factor is the maintenance free nature due to the self-lubricating properties of the material. Once installed, the capitan no longer needs to worry about his canopy functioning correctly.

Rückblick – Anwendung – MPPB.3All hands on deck: the MPPB crew and the “iglidur® on tour” team, both of which are extremely proud of their vehicles

We would like to thank MPPB for allowing us to look over its crew’s shoulder during their work. It has sparked a desire in us to go to sea.

Best regards,
igus® and the “iglidur® on tour” team

Review – Application – KUKA

On visiting KUKA Roboter GmbH we were in the presence of a true pioneer in the field of robot and automation technology. The Augsburg-based company developed the FAMULUS, its first industrial robot with six electromechanically-driven axes, back in 1973. In 1996, it then played a role in ringing in the era of real mechatronics with a PC-based control system. Today, KUKA Roboter produces and sells automated production solutions for the automotive, medical and solar technology, aviation and aerospace and machine tool sectors among others.

The robot expands its work area thanks to the linear axis

For many years, the KUKA developers have entrusted igus® chains with the cables for their linear axes. The fact that these are highly robust and reliable, however, is not what tipped the scales in their favour. Instead, Hans Brix, linear axis developer, says that it is the exceptionally long unsupported length of the igus® chains, which allows the greatest possible extent of movement by the robots.

KUKA has now laid the chain with the cables on the support structure for the first time. As a result, the trough system is no longer required and the design is far more compact, quickly saving several square metres of space.

Rückblick – Anwendung – KUKAA comparison of two systems: in the image on the left, the cables run in an external guide trough. On the right, the e-chain® has been placed on the robot’s support structure. This saves space and reduces costs

igus® generally fills its e-chains® with the cables desired by the customers and then supplies them as complete units that can be simply and quickly installed on site. To date, KUKA has always used a middle-ground option and filled the chains with its own cables. This too is possible if desired by the igus® customer.

Rückblick – Anwendung – KUKA.2KUKA employees and the “iglidur® on tour” team agree: igus® e-chains® last; igus® scarves provide lasting warmth

We would like to thank all the KUKA Roboter GmbH employees that we met for their friendly reception and, in particular, Hans Brix for giving us an interview.

Best regards,
igus® and the “iglidur® on tour” team

Review – Application – Robotic Drilling Systems

At Robotic Drilling Systems, we obtained an insight into see the future of fossil fuels drilling operations. The Norwegian company based in Sandnes has developed a series of robots that automatically drill for crude oil and natural gas. To drill to certain depths, the pipes and drillbits is assembled piece by piece. This usually occurs by hand and the individual segments are extremely heavy. Now though, this new world strongest electrical robot can do this itself. It detects the ambient conditions and adapts itself to them accordingly.

Rückblick - Anwendung - Robotic Drilling SystemsA robotic drilling system during a demo run: the drilling segments are on the left. The robot picks one up, rotates it, positions it over the hole and inserts it into position. readychains® inside the robot are involved in every movement

The robot picks up a drill segment, rotates it in the air, positions it over the hole and then inserts it in place. The process is then repeated. The movements do not appear complicated but there are actually seven axes that have to work together in precise harmony to ensure perfect motorics. Five different sized energy chain systems from igus®, known as readychains®, play their part in ensuring that everything works seamlessly.

Rückblick - Anwendung - Robotic Drilling Systems.2It can also do other things: here, the robust robot is being specially used to grasp the rather delicate dry-tech® box with igus® product samples

The engineers at Robotic Drilling Systems chose the ready to insert and install readychains® from igus® for three reasons: they work reliably, they are available in several sizes and they can be assembled extremely quickly. Ready. Chain. Go!

Rückblick - Anwendung - Robotic Drilling Systems.3Group photo with the car: the Robotic Drilling Systems team and the “iglidur® on tour” team. The robot with the dry-tech® box waves from the background

We would like to thank Robotic Drilling Systems for the friendly reception and, in particular, Orjan H. Larsen for giving us so much of his time.

Best regards,
igus® and the “iglidur® on tour” team