Pictures of the day!-207

Open house at igus in Cologne!Pictures of the day!-207
Top Left – Donation of 25.000 Euro from igus to Tatort – Straßen der Welt e.V.; Left – Sascha Laufenberg (Former “iglidur® on tour” representative) with Klaus J. Behrendt and Dietmar Bär (Actors of Tatort – Team Cologne); Right – Selfie with Nils, Sandor, Frank Blase (CEO of igus GmbH), Gerhard Baus (General manager of iglidur® bearings), Felix (Host) and I; Bottom – Panorama with Kasalla on stage

TÜV driving-approval!


We have taken the last step but the test did not run as smoothly as expected! For a short time it even looked as though we were not going to make it.

TÜV driving-approval!

When the inspector from the German Association for Technical Inspection (TÜV) arrived everyone was confident and initially everything went fine, as expected!

The visible bearings have been inspected firstly.

TÜV driving-approval!.2Johannes Thomé is showing the location of the bearing enabling to unlock the seat.

For all the other bearings we had images and graphics. With these we were able to demonstrate where bearings are located, what forces they are facing and their ability to endure them.

TÜV driving-approval!.3 TÜV driving-approval!.4Johannes Thomé is showing details on bearings used in the window lifting mechanism.

For some modules, tests were conducted. For instance, concerning the windscreen wiper the test result showed that they were not locked properly. Consequently they had to be modified. Fortunately this could be done within a few minutes.

TÜV driving-approval!.5Johannes Thomé is working on the windscreen wipers

In comparison, the case of the convertible top appeared to be more arduous:

The convertible top has been a challenge for the students of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences during the whole project. As well as the bearings (two in the locking cylinder, four for the deflection of the top and six more in the kinematics), the sliding blocks have been replaced. They are guiding the convertible top while opening and closing it. When the demonstration started Muprhy´s law set in. During the test the sliding blocks got stuck. The top would not fully close but it is a necessity for getting the driving approval.

The sliding blocks that are guiding the convertible top got stuck during the test

Fortunately, we still had the original sliding blocks that could be put in place again within the space of a few hours.

The last test aimed to measure the clamping force of the window lifting mechanism. There, the guide pulleys guiding the cable are located on iglidur® bearings.

The window lifting mechanism of our car has no reversing function. The reversing function usually stops the lifting of the window when there is something between window and car body. As the car is not equipped with this automatic protection, the lifting window is not supposed to exceed the force of 100N (Newton). Unfortunately we came to the result that the window only stops lifting at 150-200N. Under these circumstances it is not possible to get approval.

TÜV driving-approval!.7

Eventually, after a frantic search we found a solution. There is one situation in which 100N can be exceeded. Two conditions have to be fulfilled. Firstly the only automatic window is on the driver side. Secondly this window has to be only moveable when the engine is running. As both conditions are fulfilled we were allowed to pass the test also with 150N-200N.

It was a close call but luckily the car got the certification. All is well that ends well. Next stop, New Delhi, INDIA!

Fourth week of remodelling!

Time is getting short…

Fourth week of remodelling!

…and our car for “iglidur® on tour” is entering the last phase of the remodelling! At the windshield wiper mechanism bearings still need to be replaced! Sliding blocks fot the convertible top still have to be manufactured! Our car still needs to be outfitted and so on. There is still a lot of work ahead but on the 20th of January the journey is supposed to begin. The flight to India is booked. Time is running out!

Here some details of what is still ahead:

1.) The sliding blocks that are guiding the convertible top have been redesigned with CAD and the 3D drafts have been printed. Now comes the time to investigate wether the drafts of the new sliding blocks are fitting accurately or not. If not then the convertible top will not move at all and further corrections will have to be made.
The part of the sliding blocks which enables clearance to the top was a real challenge for the university students as the redesigned and remanufactured piece was not flexible enough. Though, they came to the ingenious idea to use spring steel instead and to put a sliding layer on it.

Second picture: The piece enabling clearance to the top is marked with an orange line

2.) At the windshield wiper mechanism bearings are going to be replaced that enable the windshield wiper to move. The bolt where the windshield wiper is located on is mounted moveable in two bearings.

3.) The car is still “naked” and has to be cased again in its sexy, orange car body.

The four parts where bearings are going to be replaced are marked in orange

Although there is still a lot of work ahead and time is running out, it should be mentioned that a lot has been accomplished since the last post. Here some selected novelties:

The gears-mudule: At the gears-module four bearings have been replaced. Two thick-walled metal bearings, which serve to lock the gear in place, have been substituted by igus® bearings. The bearings not only can move around the shaft but also endure the changing radial force. For the shaft they had to take low mechanical properties into account as it is made out of plastic and has for instance low strength and stiffness. Usually this plastic-to-plastic combination leads to a very high rate of attrition. A lot of heat is created that cannot be dissipated. In this case they used an igus® bearing P210 which can endure this hostile environment.

Furthermore two bearings at the upper part of the gear stick have also been replaced. The original “clip bearings”, that were lubricated, have been substituted by dry igus® plastic bearings. These bearings aim at balancing out forces that emerge at the swivel angle when shifting between forward gear and the reverse gear.

The brake pedal: Here they changed two bearings. While braking the pedal slides along two igus® plastic bearings that are located on a bolt. This bolt connects the pedal with the module that is fitted to the car body.

The seat: Due that we are not allowed to change things that could affect the safety of the driver they only changed a bearing at the unlocking mechanism which serves to adjust the seat. igus® bearings are guiding the bar that unlocks the seat in order to be able to move the seat forwards or backwards.

Fourth week of remodelling!.8

The window lifting mechanism: Before the remodelling, the pulley which is guiding the cable, was directly located on a bolt. Now, an igus® bearing is connecting the pulley and the bolt and enabling frictionless moving.

Fourth week of remodelling!.9

Hand-brake: It is the same with the hand-brake. Before the remodeling the hand lever was directly on the bolt that connects the hand lever with the module that is fitting to the car body. Now the hand lever is gliding over an igus® bearing that had been placed between.

Throttle valve: Last but not least the throttle valve is now placed on a moveable bolt that is embedded in two igus® bearings.

Fourth week of remodelling!.11

Whether the car will be finished on time or not you will get to know on the press conference on the 20th of January in our main office in cologne. Until then let´s keep one´s fingers crossed for the guys in the University.

Interview with Johannes Thomé

Interview with Johannes Thomé

Johannes Thomé, born in 1984, had accomplished an apprenticeship as an automotive mechatronics engineer before he began to study. After he acquired his Bachelor degree at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences in automotive engineering he decided to deepen his knowledge with a master study. Simultaneously he works as a research assistant at the Institute of vehicle safety, vehicle technology and design.

Johannes Thomé is in charge of the remodeling and preparation of the car for the world trip.

Hi Johannes, thanks for giving this interview. You have been working on the car for weeks now.What parts have you replaced so far?

So far bearings at the brake pedal, control gear, seat bracket, hand-brake lever, starter, throttle valve and all bearings of the convertible top.

Interview with Johannes Thomé

You guys already did a lot. I guess there are also challenges and problems occurring when remodeling a car in a way like this. What has been the biggest challenge so far? 

It is hard to say what has challenged me most. I kind of like challenges and I´m thinking positively, always following the phrase: “The impossible gets done at once, but miracles take a bit longer.” Seriously I think that the main challenge is the convertible top. It is very difficult and a lot of work to assemble it so that it is working perfectly again. The kinematics has to be very precise so that the convertible top doesn´t jam while moving. To disassemble the top in its smallest fractions was risky as we later have to put it perfectly together again. Nevertheless, the lifting mechanism is already incorporated and working well. In this context I would like to mention Mr. Michael Krug of igus® who is doing a great job in the framework of this project by adjusting bearings and helping us to always choose the perfect product. The cooperation is really good!

Interview with Johannes Thomé.2 Interview with Johannes Thomé.3 Interview with Johannes Thomé.4

Johannes Thomé is replacing an original bearing by an igus® bearing

Which parts make you skeptical and question their durability?

To be honest, the strut bearing gave me headaches. We thought about replacing it by an igus® standard bearing but due to the high dynamic forces it would have to endure we decided against it. It is not that I don´t have confidence in igus® plastic but i think that an around-the-world tour is not the best scenario for a first test. That this bearing works is crucial for the safety of the driver and safety is always the main priority. We don´t want to risk it without testing it before. After the world tour we will come back to this and conduct some tests.

Interview with Johannes Thomé.5

The bearing at the suspension strut which eventually won´t be changed

What modules do you still have left where you will replace parts?

In the upper part of the convertible top are two bearings on each side we will replace.
Furthermore the convertible top is guided by sliding blocks. Currently I´m working out by hand with CAD a new, adjustable version of these parts. The initially planned 3D scan is due to the complexity not feasible. With the help of the CAD-models the parts are then going to be printed with a 3D printer in conventional ABS plastic. Afterwards we test their accuracy of fit. Then after perhaps some further changes we can use the fitting CAD models to cut the new bearings from igus® bulk material.
Last but not least we have the door window mechanism where we will change the guide pulleys that are guiding the cable.

Interview with Johannes Thomé.6

The sliding blocks that are guiding the convertible top

What of the work do you personally like the most?

I really like the work on modules that usually no one is dealing with. For instance the kinematics of the convertible top or the gears-module. As the word already implies is a module a close entity which is not intended to be opened again. Malicious gossip are calling mechanics just “parts-replacer” due to the quantity of modules in a car. I wouldn´t say it as drastically as this but it is really that manufacturer are putting more and more parts together to closed modules, they are rivetting and punching a lot. In conventional workshops is often no technical possibility to put the modules under the microscope and to deal with them. Here I have the chance to do this which is kind of nice and challenging work for me.
Furthermore is the remodeling also a good change to my office work.

Interview with Johannes Thomé.7 Interview with Johannes Thomé.8

The gears module of the car

Thanks for the interview and good luck with your further work.

Thanks, you are welcome.

THIRD Week of remodelling!

Now we go for the real thing!

THIRD Week of remodelling!

Our car for „iglidur® on tour” shows us what´s inside!

Now that our car has disclosed its secrets the remodelling goes one step further! The bearings at the brake pedal already have been replaced! Following you will find more novelties:

Now it is time to start dealing with the “starter”. On the one hand it is used to accelerate the crank shaft of the engine and on the other hand to produce electricity.
In our car the “starter” is fixed to a movable bolt. Allowing the bolt to move enables radial- as well as axial movements to balance out vibrations. This ensures that the strap, which connects starter and crank shaft, is tightened all times. The bolt, holding the starter, is fixed by two bearings. They enable the movements and are going to be replaced by igus® bearings.

THIRD Week of remodelling!.2

The bearings that will be substituted by igus® bearings

The bolt that carries the “starter”

Also the suspension strut is brought to focus. Its purpose is to prevent smashing our heads on the ceiling when going over a bump. More precisely we are going to examine the rolling bearing which is located above the suspension to ensure that the axis can be moved. As it is frequently in use it has to be able to endure pressure and friction over a long period of time.

This bearing is planned to be replaced with an igus® bearing which is specifically manufactured to endure pressures up to eleven Kilo-Newton (which is about 2420 pounds)! Nevertheless there are two challenges with this bearing: The original bearing has not the same size which means that it needs to be clarified if we still can use this special igus® standard-bearing or if one needs to be manufactured first. Furthermore, the suspension is screwed with the rolling bearing.Thus the igus® bearing has to be adapted. Will the suspension works afterwards or shall we already prepare ourselves to face a terrible headache? And will it still be able to steer the car when the bearing has been replaced?

THIRD Week of remodelling!.4

The original bearing (right) and the possible igus® bearing (left).

THIRD Week of remodelling!.5

Johannes Thomé is showing where the bearing is located

The throttle valve got examined too! Throttle valves are located in the suction pipe of a car. Modern engines not only need fuel but the right mixture ratio of both fuel and air. How much air is being sucked is determined by how fast we accelerate and drive and regulated by the throttle valve. It is placed on a shaft, which is moved by a small electro engine, and embedded in two bearings.They will be replaced by igus® bearings.

THIRD Week of remodelling!.6

The throttle valve which is located on a shaft.

Last but not least the hand-brake. The hand lever is connected to a module that is located on the car body. It is going to be investigated if the hand lever is connected through a replaceable bearing or just a metal bolt. This decides on whether we can put in an igus® bearing or not.

The hand-brake

Conclusion: It comes to details but it still remains exciting!

SECOND week of remodelling!

What happened here???

SECOND week of remodelling!

Our car for “iglidur® on tour” stripped off!

In the course of the next weeks the car will be totally dismantled.

During the first step it will be lifted so that the engine can be lowered and examined. This is done in order to check if we can replace bearings in the “starter”.

Simultaneously the modules that have been already dismantled are going to be examined closely too. In cooperation with the German Technical Control Board (TÜV), igus® employees investigated which parts are replaceable. Thus the question that arises is „How can they be replaced best?“

Some are absolutely no challenge for the specialists at the University of Applied Sciences. For instance the bearings at the brake pedal. They can be easily substituted by igus® “standard bearings”.

SECOND week of remodelling!.2

The brake pedal where two bearings will be replaced

On the contrary other parts offer surprises as well as challenges like for instance the convertible top:

A positive surprise: The convertible top contains steel bearings! They will be substituted by igus® plastic bearings which will be one of the many parts sent on a 100000km (approx. 62100 miles) journey! By doing this we are proving that we have confidence in our products and that our plastic bearings are on a par with steel bearings.

SECOND week of remodelling!.3

The convertible top and a set of igus® bearings

A challenge: Bearings in the convertible top are riveted and therefore can only be replaced forcefully. Furthermore those bearings, which are “guiding” the top, are an on-off production meaning that igus®-substitutes need to be manufactured! Will the convertible top still work? Will it still protect us from rain, mud and extraordinary weather conditions on this incredible long trip?

SECOND week of remodelling!.4 SECOND week of remodelling!.5

First image: The module which contains riveted bearings / Second image: Students are examining the bearings “guiding” the convertible top

Also the “door window mechanism” consists of rivetet bearings. Will it still work after they had been removed? Is it also possible to recreate the sliding carriages and to adapt them to the giving system?

SECOND week of remodelling!.6

The mechanism for the door-window with riveted bearings

CONCLUSION: It remains exciting!


FIRST week of remodelling

At least 21 countries in nine months! Our car for “iglidur® on tour” is going to drive not only on conventional roads but also on dirt roads along fields, mountains, forests to visit customers, branches and exhibitions. India, China, South Korea, Japan, USA, Canada, Brazil and almost entire Europe are destinations of this extraordinary tour.

In the Cologne University of Applied Sciences students are working under the instruction of Johannes Thome to get the car ready for the trip. Over the course of the next four weeks various parts of bearings in the car are going to be replaced by igus® parts which will be put on the test when travelling about 100000km. During the exhibition in Hannover in 2015 they are going to be removed again to demonstrate how they endured the tour.

ERSTE Woche Umbau


Currently students already had removed the chassis to get access to the modules they work on. In the next step they analyse how certain bearings in the car could be replaced. For instance they exposed the front part to be able to deal with the linkage of the windscreen wipers and the steering gear. The chassis of the back as well as of the doors had been removed too. There bearings which are helping to lift and lower the window will be replaced by igus® bearings.

ERSTE Woche Umbau.2

The chassis of the car (left) and the front part where they are going to work on the linkage of the windscreen wipers and the steering gear

ERSTE Woche Umbau.3

The chassis on the sides had been removed to work on the window opener

In the course of the next weeks the project will be accompanied to document how the car will be prepared for this unique adventure.