A reason to celebrate for the Scottish mechanical engineering company ToolTec: Its offshore inspection device wins the 2019 manus award – a prize that has been awarded for the ninth time by the motion plastics specialist igus for the creative use of high-performance plastics in bearing technology. Second place went to a floating catamaran, and the third place to an assistance system where people with disabilities can drive a car.
More and more bearings made of high-performance plastic are being used worldwide, in industrial environments and far beyond, for example in asparagus harvesters, whirlpool covers and in gearboxes of church clocks. There are many reasons for this: Tribo polymer bearings are lubrication-free and maintenance-free, lightweight, corrosion-free and save costs. And so it is hardly surprising that 445 inventors from 32 countries had applied for the 2019 manus award. The jury comprising representatives from industry, business and research fields selected three applications from among the applicants that stand out for their technical and economic efficiency and creativity.
The winner of the 5,000 euro manus award is 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. Metallic bearings would have been susceptible to corrosion and required intense maintenance. That’s why 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.
The iFLY 15 got the second place. The sports catamaran of the Munich manufacturer CEC Catamarans GmbH at first glance indeed acts like an ordinary catamaran. But that changes when the boat picks up speed.
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.