The iglidur®-car

Some of you asked me questions about our small orange friend. Of course, it’s a member of our team and need to be introduced as well.Das iglidur®-Auto
This is our iglidur®-car in front of the Ars Electronica Center – Linz. 

Our iglidur®-car is a normal compact vehicle but we modified it. First of all, we painted it in orange and gave it the official igus® style. With the outside ready to shine, we focused onto the inner aspects. The Univerity of Applied Science of Cologne in cooperation with igus® employees and the German Technical Inspection Association (TÜV) had a closer look and dismantled the iglidur®-car. Based on the generel question “How can they be replaced best?”, a total of 56 igus® bearings were exchanged in the following areas:

  • Seat adjustment
  • Brake pedal
  • Gearshift
  • Hand brake
  • Window lifter
  • Convertible roof pivot points
  • Windscreen wiper mechanics
  • Throttle valves
  • Alternator

Das iglidur®-Auto.2
Transformation of the iglidur®-car (Arrow indicates bearing): Top left – Window lifter, Top right – Alternator, Bottom left – Hand brake, Bottom right – Gearshift

All in all, it travelled more than 50.000 km from Cologne around the world: India, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Brazil, Alaska and USA.


The iglidur®-car has seen quite a bit. 

Now it’s time to conquer Europe and the tour starts in Austria!

Let’s see what happens,

Karl

From the south to the north and to the press conference

Classical music, chandeliers and a buffet that is one of a kind. No, I´m not talking about a romantic five stars restaurant in Paris but about the press conference for iglidur® on tour in South Korea.

From the south to the north and to the press conference

The voice of Ernie Kim, country manager of Korea, is supporting the atmosphere when he welcomed the journalists and opened the fourth press conference for iglidur® on tour.

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Only three speaker were scheduled. Hyungtea Kim, product manager for bearings, followed Ernie on his warming words. He introduced several of the many possible applications in the automobile as well as presented the wide range of igus® products.

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Last but not least, I informed about the retrofitting of the car and shared the experience I made during the last three months (oh my god, already three months????? The time went by incredibly fast).

All in all it was a great press conference with even more journalists than expected. It was the first time since the start of iglidur® on tour that a press conference took place in the middle of the tour. We have already been touring through Korea for almost one week.
As South Korea is kind of small (in comparison to the former trip-countries China and India) we could not only see different kind of landscapes but also  important historic sights. As our bearings are all corrosion free and therefore can stand salty sea water easily, it was kind of natural to visit the Korean sea side. Iglidur® has been to the Indian ocean as well as at the sea in China. It was only logical to do the same in Korea, in particular as Korea is famous for its pretty sea shores.

From the south to the north and to the press conference.5 From the south to the north and to the press conference.6

Our first destination was Donghea. Donghea is a traditional port city that is not only home of many small sea food restaurants (there was one street with at least ten of the same restaurants next to each other) but also has a beautiful white sand beach that stretches along the coast for several kilometers.

From the south to the north and to the press conference.7 From the south to the north and to the press conference.8

From Donghea it took us north along the coast. The landscape gradually changed and got more mountainous. We stopped by at the most famous mountain scenery in Korea. Actually, it was one of the most beautiful mountain landscapes I have ever seen.

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The Taebaek mountain range is located in a national park. The shape of the mountains, the dozens of waterfalls and the diversity of wildlife makes this  area to a main destinations for traveller from all over Korea (by the way, it is very easy to distinguish South Korean traveller from other tourists. When South Koreans are going out in nature they always wear trekking clothes. Perhaps I´m wrong but this has been my experience so far). We climbed the Seoraksan mountain (1708 meters) that is the most famous mountain of this region. From there we had a stunning view.

From the south to the north and to the press conference.10

After we could place an igus® flag on the top of it, I´m sure this flag will last forever and in 2000 years people will pilgrim to this place, we continued driving north up to the point where we couldn´t go further anymore.

https://youtu.be/XdjDc1GEAWU

I surely don´t need to tell you that the Korean peninsula is roughly split in half by the most heavily armed border in the entire world and that North and South Korea are still “at open war” with each other. After the Korean War in the fifties, a strip of land has been established as a buffer zone that is stretching for 2km on either side. This strip of land, also called Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), had been worked out between North Korea, South Korea, China and the United Nations as part of an agreement. After a long process of registration we were allowed to enter the zone with iglidur®.

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I took this photo already as a picture of the day but want to post it again. To bring iglidur® close to the fence, so to a point that is in the focus of international politics, has been for me one of the highlights of the whole iglidur® on tour trip yet.

Throughout the whole time of the existence of the demarcation line, the South has discovered four tunnels that were dug by the North. These infiltration tunnels served the purpose of possible invasion by the North and to infiltrate spies and assailants to the South. We had the chance to visit the one that was detected last.

From the south to the north and to the press conference.13 From the south to the north and to the press conference.14

We are currently in Seoul. You have not the feeling that there is a threat from the North at all but if you are looking closer than you can see that the situation has been taking seriously throughout the whole time. This rocket launcher is located on a hill above Seoul and likely serves to intercept possible rockets from the North.

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That´s all from me today,

I keep you guys up to date,

yours Sascha

Gosa

We already made in total more than 10.000km on conventional but also dirt roads, passing the Indian desert, seashores and stunning mountains. Of course, our bearings are still in a perfect shape. They are used to run much longer.
Now we have started in Korea where we are targeting at least 2000km more.

Gosa

Although it is still cold, spring is coming. Everywhere on the way you can see this nice blooming trees.

Gosa.2

We left from our branch in Incheon directly the day after I had arrived and headed towards Asan. As I am used to Chinese dimensions, I would say that Asan with its 290000 citizens is a nice and small village.

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We have customers everywhere in the world. Thus, also in the small town of Asan. There we visited the company Leepack Co., Ltd. Leepack is the leading Korean company for intermittent rotary packaging systems. Their product portfolio ranges from filling units and vacuum packer to rotary fill and seal machines.
As their machines are dealing with groceries they need products that are in particular corrosion free. Igus® products are not only offering this but moreover have other advantages. Figure out what Mr. Lee Sangkun, vice president of Leepack, likes in particular…

https://youtu.be/0SCdkj86oAc

…and also for how incredibly long they have been relying on igus®:

https://youtu.be/OYgl42o6-xA

In Asan we also had dinner and I had the chance to enjoy real Korean barbecue. I love it. Basically it is a table full of meat, vegetables and fish with a grill in the center.

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One of my new favourite dishes is kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish that is basically cabbage which is soaked in a salty brine. You can eat it with everything. I personally loved to put grilled meat on it.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/Gimchi.jpg

It is a new experience for me that iglidur® is ready for driving when I arrive. This time everything went really without any problems. No sitting for two days in the customs office and no struggle to get a driving permission.

I expect everything to continue as smooth as it has begun. Igus® korea set up a shaman ceremony for the car. Thus, we are protected against any kind of bad luck.

To protect iglidur® on tour we prayed to several gods in both heaven and earth. Actually, to all gods that are controlling life on earth. To gain divine support we had to held a ceremony that is called “Gosa”. A typical “Gosa” ceremony consists of a memorial address by the ceremonial master, in form of country manager Ernie Kim, and a special table.

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The table is laid out with various foods, such as fruits, dried fish, rice, and most important, a pig’s head. The pig head represents money and fertility. This idea originates from that pigs can breed up to 15 at a time and a Korean word that comes originally from China. The word “Don” means in Korean both pig and money.

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To gain support of the gods, it is tradition to stick money in the ears and the mouth of the pig head.

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Then you kneel down and bow to the table.

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When the ritual is over, everyone eats and drinks together (also the pig head is part of the meal). In our case we even invited the neighborhood for joining us at the table.
After the ceremony a traditional band topped off the program.

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With good protection we are now starting in the weekend. We will visit some nice places and sights.

I keep you guys up to date and will tell you more in the next blog post,

yours Sascha

At the end another face of China…

We are providing high quality products that are in use in a wide range of applications. From the packaging industry to the textile industry to the car industry and many many more…Customers from all over the world rely on igus® products. Some customers use them in very special machines. So a leading manufacturer for laboratory testing machines who is testing products for the packaging industry.

At the end another face of China...

Our customer makes use of various drylin® products. On of his machines is testing the wear of packaging materials. The product they intend to test got fixed. Then the plate is grinding along the material about one thousand time. The ongoing smooth and quiet motion of the plate is ensured by drylin® N. For more information about drylin® N check: http://www.igus.com/wpck/3587/drylin_n

At the end another face of China....2

Another machine that relies on drylin® is a rubber testing machine. Drylin® W, that constitutes a preassembled system, moves the rubber that is going to be tested on its wear. For more information about drylin® W check: http://www.igus.eu/wpck/1994/drylin_w

At the end another face of China....3

The customer is so convinced of igus® products that he has been using them for more than ten years. One point, a leading engineer stressed, is that our products are very reliable as they haven´t had a single problem so far. See below what other advantages igus® offers:

On the entire trip I have shown you only the modern site of China. To be honest, you won´t find really old traditional cities at the east cost. We only could visit one on the way back to Shanghai. Thus, I had to wait till now to show you another face of China.
Suzhou has more than 2500 years of history. It is commonly called the Venice of the east as it has many canals that reminds a bit of the Italian  original.

At the end another face of China....4 At the end another face of China....5

I was fascinated by all the traditional houses and the calmness of the people living there. You feel a bit thrown back in time as it is so fundamentally different to Shanghai which is quite close to Suzhou. Shanghai with its high population and tall skyscrapers embodies exactly the opposite. Suzhou was a nice last stop on our China tour.

At the end another face of China....6 At the end another face of China....7 At the end another face of China....8

I cannot believe that the trip has already come to an end. The time went by incredible fast. I´m writing you from Shanghai from where iglidur® will leave to Korea soon. It is time for me to say goodbye to our Chinese colleagues that had shown me great hospitality and support. Also it is time to say goodbye to iglidur® (at least for a few days). It was a great trip.

See you guys in Korea,

yours Sascha

Perfection

Surrounded by blooming trees, dozens of customers had the chance to have a close look at our products and to get advice for their applications.

Perfektion Perfektion.2

Mr. Wei was one of them. He is working in the design department of the biggest provider for agricultural machines in China. As a specialist for tractors he is quite familiar with igus® products. “We are using them in a wide range of applications” said Mr. Wei. “For example, for the ladder, the window, door hinges and the diesel engine.”. He applies igus® bearings wherever possible. His conclusion: ” They have a very high quality”. Mr. Wei knows what he is talking about. When he had studied engineering in Germany, he got in contact with many high-quality products.
During his studies he also learned German, what you can see in the following interview:

https://youtu.be/M5ucaN7hCvw

Something that is coming to mind when you think about China are traditions that have their origins thousands of years ago. One impressive relict of the past is the Shaolin monk, who is serving Buddha and worldwide famous for his Kung Fu.

Perfektion.3 Perfektion.4

Shaolin monks only have one monastery in the world that is located in the east of China. Recent studies could trace back its origin to the year 477 AD.

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There is no evidence of when the Buddhist monks started practicing Kung Fu. Some sources are stating that already in 600 AC the monastery sent thirteen monks to support the emperor in its war. Since then they have been working on perfecting Kung Fu.

Perfektion.6Graveyard at the monastery. The height of the sculpture depends on the rank of the Shaolin.

After the monastery had been destroyed during the cultural revolution in the sixties, they rebuilt it in the nineties and opened it for visitors. There is a big discussion within the monk order of what policy they should pursue. The dean highly commercialized their traditions. For instance, there are monks on world tour having shows in Las Vegas and elsewhere, a Chinese version of KFC at the temple and Shaolin monks doing free fight shows.

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This was also my impression. My first thought was that I couldn´t believe to be at a place with a so long history as it was really commercialized (our Chinese colleagues had the same impression). For instance, even the normal staff, who was selling the tickets, was having the traditional monk look.

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Nevertheless, the fighting skills of the monks are incredible. Twenty nearby schools are teaching Shaolin Kung Fu.

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One of these schools opened their gates and welcomed iglidur® on tour.

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Both, igus® and future Shaolin monks are seeking for perfection. Thus, it was just naturally that we met each other. Have a look at what happens when car and monks are meeting.

https://youtu.be/eGIQYZJy2dE

Another tradition that is surely not 1500 years old (I haven´t checked it. I just assume it) is the widespread Chinese square dancing. In the early morning and evening people are gathering in squares (foremost in small Chinese provincial cities with about three or four million inhabitants) and practice dancing. This either alone or with a partner.

https://youtu.be/KVy8wdNih0I

While the elderly are dancing you can find the younger generation in KTV shops. KTV is basically karaoke. Each group gets a room with a television, a music box and two microphones. Thus, you are only embarassed in front of your friends and not in front of the entire bar.

That´s all for today.

I will keep you up to date,

yours Sascha