In the past two decades, plastic bearings have made great progress from the “bushing” to a precisely predictable and durable machine element.
In fact, plastic bearings perform their service millions of times in the most inconspicuous places, garnering very little attention. To counteract this, igus introduced the manus competition back in 2003, an international competition looking for the best and most innovative uses of plastic bearings. In the last of the biennial competitions, 437 entries from 33 countries competed for the top three spots selected by an independent jury of professionals.
The competition awards bold applications with plastic bearings, which distinguish themselves through technical and economic efficiency, creativity and surprising results. manus® symbolizes the courage and drive to explore new ways in bearing technology.
Now, the manus competition is in its seventh year, looking for the next breakthrough application or invention involving plastic bearings. The application phase for the 2015 manus competition is underway, continuing through February 20th, and awards of up to €5,000 ($5,802.57) will be presented at April’s Hanover Trade Show in Germany.
Participants are invited to enter their application online with a short description, along with photos and videos of the application in action. The only requirement of the awards application is that at least one completed prototype of the proposed application must exist. “We want to support innovation, and award bold applications, regardless of industry,” says Nicole Lang, Product Manager for iglide bearings at igus.
Among the 2013 entries were developers of a pneumatic rotary piston engine, a cross-country skiing exercise machine, and a foldable car.
Links to the 2013 winners:
Golden manus® 2013: Exercise Bike
This device brings the cross-country ski trail to your living room. The user moves the poles as in real cross-country skiing and so gains an optimal training effect for the whole body. To achieve highly realistic simulation, it was important to the developers that the slides move very smoothly along the rails. The movement should also make as little noise as possible so that the equipment can be used in the home without causing problems. These conditions were optimally achieved with a DryLin® linear guide. The ski poles are each mounted on a linear guide with a slide.
Silver manus® 2013: Pneumatic Rotary Piston Engine
This pneumatic rotary piston engine provides trouble-free use for an uninterrupted power supply. It is characterized by high performance and extremely fast response times. It comes in 50 to 500 kW sizes and requires less than 30 milliseconds to start, going from 0% to 100% load. For energy storage, it uses compressed air which is available in virtually unlimited quantities. Pivoting valves for air intake are mounted on the rotor of the motor. The bearings must be statically very stress- and temperature-resistant, with low static friction and high resistance to dirt. Initial trials with Carobronze bushings failed, because after a short period of use the bearings got clogged with dust particles and the valves would no longer open. Ball bearings and needle bearings were also unsuitable, because they required lubrication. Only the lubricant- and maintenance-free iglidur® plain bearings made for lasting, friction-free valve operation.
Bronze manus® 2013: Friction Clutch
This friction clutch provides protection against overloading the drive train in a machine for harvesting fodder. Because of increasing demands for smoothly running agricultural machines, the standard clutch had to be revamped. Particular attention was paid to the smooth running characteristics, and this required a new bearing concept to be developed for the clutch. Various interfaces were combined, and the conventional metal bearings were replaced by iglidur® plain bearings, which produced a much better runout. The plastic bearings from igus® are also corrosion- and stain-resistant.
Best of manus 2013:
The manus awards are a joint initiative between igus GmbH, the Institute for Composite Materials, The Industry Indicator, and the Cologne University of Applied Sciences. To learn more about the awards, see past winners, or to enter the competition, please visit manus competition 2015.
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