Planes, trains and automobiles are not the only transportation-related products that present assembly challenges to manufacturers. Real-world mountain bikes and simulation surfboards belong in that category as well, because both require advanced components to withstand constant motion.
Within the mountain-bike manufacturing world, ibis is considered one of the leaders and the company’s Ripmo bike is often called “the perfect bike.” Professional Swedish cyclist Robin Wallner is captain of the ibis-sponsored biking team and a highly ranked rider on the Enduro World Series circuit.
Recently, he learned that the steel bushings on his bike frame were replaced with plastic iglide ones made by igus. Wallner had some reservations about this change after feeling a subtle difference in his riding.
“I had some concerns that plastic wasn’t going to hold up against the forces that we put on our bikes,’’ says Wallner, who won the 2012 World Downhill Series before switching over to Enduro racing. “I wasn’t sure how it would withstand the abuse of dirt, water and other bike path debris.”
Now, according to Wallner, his Ripmo V2 bike is better able to handle the pounding of the demanding bike terrain. This is because the highly engineered plastic bushings consistently withstand the rigors that generate great stress on equipment during riding.
“In more than two years of riding, our Enduro Team hasn’t broken any bushings,’’ acknowledges Wallner. “It has definitely been holding together better than I originally thought. It’s also lighter and much easier to maintain than the [steel] bushings.”
Crankbrothers specializes in manufacturing pedals and related accessories for mountain bikes. Since 2015, the California-based company has used plastic igus bushings in several models of pedals and in its Highline dropper seat posts, which allow riders to quickly and easily adjust their seats as they adapt to variable terrain.
“We see the benefits of [the bushings], especially since the bikes are put through some harsh conditions,” says Megan Tompkins, global marketing director at Crankbrothers. “Metal parts break down faster and can cause failures, [but] plastic ones generally don’t. I can see more manufacturers switching to plastic components now that the industry is [aware of] the benefits.”
Crankbrothers had been using Delrin thermoplastic bushings in its products. But, they experienced some corrosion and were replaced with igus bushings, which Tompkins became aware of through trade show visits and industry research. The company also feels the igus products offer more durability and a more precise fit.
Another interesting application of igus products is the Surf Evolution machine, which allows fitness enthusiasts to practice surfing movements without water. Managers of this Santa Catarina, Brazil-based company say that using the iglide polymer bearings, in conjunction with other igus products, significantly reduces production cost and maintenance.
In the first version of Surf Evolution, developers relied on metallic bearings. However, it soon became apparent that the cost of the components was too high, and maintenance of the many bearing points too time-consuming.
So Surf Evolution redesigned its equipment and replaced the metal bearings with those from igus. Designers also installed igus’ self-lubricating drylin lead screws to enhance the equipment’s load setting capability, and drylin W linear guides to ensure smooth forward and backward movements of the board.
For more information on plastic bushings, bearings and other components for assembly, call 800-521-2747 or visit www.igus.com.