igus recently conducted the manus award 2019, where 445 inventors from 32 countries had applied. The jury comprising representatives from industry, business and research fields selected three applicants that stand out for their technical and economic efficiency and creativity.
First place: Offshore inspection device from Scotland
The winner of the 5000-euro manus award was ToolTec. The Scottish mechanical engineering company has developed a device that allows operators of underwater oil and gas platforms to clean and inspect pipelines. So far, divers had to do this job. The offshore inspection device will wrap around the pipe like a cuff and move forward on rollers. While moving, the machine cleans the pipeline and inspects for weak spots. In the design, only polymer bearings were considered by the engineers. The experts opted for igus' high-performance plastics – including iglidur plain bearings, drylin linear guides and an e-chain for safe cable guidance, which makes a 360-degree rotary movement. The components enable a lubrication-free and thus, maintenance-free dry operation and are resistant to seawater.
Second place: iFLY 15 – the floating catamaran from Munich
The iFLY 15 got second place. The sports catamaran of the Munich manufacturer CEC Catamarans GmbH indeed acts like an ordinary catamaran at first glance. But that changes when the boat picks up speed. Then, thanks to a mechanical flight control system, it rises about half a metre out of the water and travels at up to 30 knots (55 km/h) on four small fold-out wings. But before the catamaran learned to fly, the engineers had to master the challenges of the control system, such as, weight reduction. The developers are, therefore, relying on lightweight igus plain bearings made of high-performance plastics in the wings. The plastic bearings also score in this environment by their lubrication-free dry operation and resistance to saltwater.
Third place: A driver assistance system from France
The bronze medal of the 2019 manus award was won by the French company Kempf, which enables people with disabilities and wheelchair users to drive. This is where Darios comes in – a control ring mounted on the steering wheel. If the driver presses the ring, he can accelerate the vehicle very accurately. It can be braked via a hand service brake beside the controls. He is no longer dependent on the classic pedals. In the latest version, the control ring is no longer simply round, but has a flat bottom like many modern steering wheels. The engineers have shared this constructive challenge together with the 3D printing service from igus.