Well, it's better than baking a cake: To celebrate 30 years of producing plastic bearings, the German firm igus, long known for its plain plastic bearnings, has retrofit a Smartcar with 56 of its iglide bearings. These components are in all areas of the car, including the pedals, alternator, window regulators, convertible top, gearshift, and more. The resulting car is no mere showpiece. It is going to tour the world, including stops in the U.S.
The Smartcar will go on a 20 country, nine-month world tour.
Starting this month in India, the car will be shipped across oceans, and then driven around continents, stopping along the way at igus subsidiaries, partners, customers, trade shows, expos, and manus winners, connecting igus worldwide. In late July, the car will make its way to North America, beginning its tour of the U.S. and Canada in Anchorage, Alaska, where it will make its way from ocean to ocean until early October.
igus says the round-the-world journey will be a test of the iglide plastic bearings installed within the car. iglide bearings are wear resistant due to their tribologically optimized plastic compound, designed to withstand high stresses. Such features support long service life of the vehicle components, igus says. iglide bearings are already used in millions of cars produced annually, in applications that include moving the seats or in the throttle valves.
Specific features of iglide bearings including resistance to dirt, oil, and chemicals, pressure resistance, and shock absorption make them candidates for use in the chassis, engine compartment, and gearbox. Other application areas include door hinges because they are corrosion-free, self-lubricating, and silent. Low-weight plastic bearings also contribute to light-weight automobile construction, igus says.
iglide bearings are also found in industries that include the medical and food-packaging industries, in agricultural machinery, machine tools, and a wide variety of others. Some 200 million plastic iglide bearings were installed in cars and trucks last year,