German motion plastics company igus has held the biennial manus awards since 2003. This competition recognizes creative, economical, innovative, and sustainable applications that incorporate plastic lead screws, linear actuators, plain bearings, linear bearings, and slides into industrial designs. This is the third iteration where Design World’s own VP, Editorial Director, Paul J. Heney, served on the international jury that selected the winners.
The awards ceremony was held on April 20th at igus’ large booth at the Hannover Fair, considered as the largest industrial trade show in the world. This year’s golden manus award was given to J&M Manufacturing, an Ohio manufacturer of grain handling equipment. The winning design is for its Para-Linkage coulter, which is used on J&M NitroGro nitrogen applicators.
These applicators are used by farmers to apply liquid nitrogen fertilizer to crops such as corn, potatoes, and wheat. Applying the nitrogen is an extremely time sensitive matter; sometimes farmers only have a couple of days in which to receive the maximum effect of putting the nitrogen fertilizer on the crops. What’s more, it’s easy for the nitrogen to be wasted with the older version of these devices. The older designs often will spill some of the nitrogen on top of the ground, where it can be lost.
The Para-Linkage coulter is a spring-loaded, parallel arm style device that keeps the knife and blade at the same level and parallel to the ground. This keeps more nitrogen in the ground, where it can be retained. The Para-Linkage coulters feature the igus GSI poly sleeve bearings in all pivot locations.
There are five pivot locations in all, each using 6-in. igus bearings, with an additional bearing on the optional row closer. The number of coulters used on one of J&M Manufacturing Company’s NitroGro Nitrogen applicators ranges from 11 on a 30-foot toolbar to 37 on a 60-foot toolbar. This means the end customer is saving a great deal on grease, as well.
This type of application would be challenging to any bearing. The conditions are dusty and dirty, with a variability in temperatures. The machinery is used very sporadically, due to the seasonality of crops. And liquid nitrogen itself is highly corrosive to any steel, which rules out many types of products — and pushes the difficulty in solving this application to the next level.
Judges reviewed 480 entries from 36 countries for the award. The first prize in the contest is €5,000. igus also awards a Silver (€2,500), Bronze (€1,000), and a Green prize (€1,000), which honors products for their sustainability.
The silver manus award went to a French exoskeleton with a slim design. This exoskeleton is used for high-pressure cleaning and provides a reliable, robust, and efficient solution that protects user health.
Aufratech, based in Cabris, France, uses linear slide bearings and corrosion-free polymer plain bearings from the iglide J3 series in its EXO N exoskeleton. At the core of the design is a control system that enables the user to guide the attached lances while keeping the back straight. Engineers succeeded in implementing a slim design that grouped as many functions as possible around an aluminum shaft.
The hollow structure of the shaft allows integration of the hydraulic control hoses and the steel water spray lane so that the valve body can be moved to the rear of the lance and the system is balanced around the user’s center of gravity.
The bronze manus award went to a telescopic high-pressure cleaner from Germany. Fiedler Maschinenbau und Technikvertrieb GmbH built a high-pressure cleaner for municipal vehicles in which the unit’s working area can be changed at the touch of a button.
Based in Schmolin-Putzkau, the core of the company’s cleaner is the FSB 1500/2600 double spray boom mounted in front of the vehicle, equipped with side nozzles, a middle section, and electronically switchable high-pressure underfloor nozzles for cleaning services with high water pressure.
The double spray boom can be telescoped up to 500mm on each side. The adaptability enables the driver to clean large areas faster or to drive between park benches and rubbish bins with complicated steering maneuvers. Engineers selected profile guides and pillow blocks from the igus drylin W series for the telescopic function.
Lastly, the green manus award went to a dry-running coupling from Germany. Rockinger Agriculture GmbH in Waltershausen, Germany, developed farm equipment that no longer requires lubrication to win this sustainability award. The company designed KS80 ball couplings and wear inserts to be used on balers, loader wagons, manure spreaders, tippers, and field sprayers. The couplings are made with high-performance plastic from the iglide series and were developed by igus, especially for Rockinger.
Inserts in the coupling survived two million load changes with a support load of 4.5 tons. If 33% of tractors in Germany were equipped with KS80 and the wear insert, approximately 8,300 couplings would not require lubrication — and this would save eight tons of grease per year.
Find out more about the winners and all 480 entries at: www.igus.com/manus.
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