MRO Magazine

Winners named in plastic bearing design contest

Igus USA Inc., a division of Igus GmbH, Germany, along with engineering faculty judges from the University of Rhode Island, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an editor of Design News magazine, have selected the winners of Igus' First Annu...


June 1, 2004
By MRO Magazine

Igus USA Inc., a division of Igus GmbH, Germany, along with engineering faculty judges from the University of Rhode Island, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an editor of Design News magazine, have selected the winners of Igus’ First Annual Manus Contest. Manus is Latin for “hand.”

The contest was designed to promote new and original ways of implementing plastic bearings as well as to promote awareness of the benefits of plastic bearings to a wider audience of potential users.

The contest was open to any organization optimizing plastic plain bearings in new or existing applications. Working prototypes or production models were required.

The contest ran from October 2003 to January 2004. Three winners — with cash prizes of US$5,000, $2,500 and $1,000 — were announced at National Manufacturing Week in Chicago last February.

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First place was awarded to Six Flags Magic Mountain Theme Parks of Valencia, Calif, for its new “X” roller coaster, designed by Arrow Dynamics. It uses Igus’ Iglide Z plastic bearings in pivot wheel bogies that turn seats in excess of 360 degrees on a vertical plane.

Design engineers said expected maintenance is reduced in the application by 95% and the cost of replacement parts was cut by 54%.

Second place went to Harriston Industries of Minto, N.D. Harriston used Iglide J bearings in the pick arm of an automatic potato planter. The previous design had used oil-impregnated bronze bushings. However, the company had experienced problems related to environmentally-driven corrosion in Maine and the Canadian Maritimes, and abrasive contamination from volcanic ash concentrations in Washington and Oregon.

Harriston said the service life of the plastic bearings is five to six times longer than the bronze units, and had a cost savings of between 70% and 80%.

Third place was awarded to Nova Biomedical of Waltham, Mass., for its immunoassay equipment. Nova used Igus DryLin bearings in the two-axis tray and DryLin linear slides on the three-axis probe. A corrosive atmosphere and high temperatures, combined with the need for a lubricant-free and contaminant-free solution, were compounded by the complex equipment not being user-servicable.

Nova said Igus bearings gave it the only lubricant-free, long-life solution for the application.