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Lightweight and lubricant-free iglidur plain bearings let catamarans fly

Photo by igus GmbH

Sailboats that lift completely out of the water as if by magic. Sounds like a dream, but it is reality. The iFLY15 sports catamaran from CEC Catamarans GmbH lets the sailor fly over the water. For the automatic flight control system, the developers relied on the lubricant-free, lightweight and corrosion-resistant igus plain bearing technology. An innovative project that won the silver manus award in 2019. The winners of this year’s award for the best plain bearing technology application will be chosen by the jury from over 580 entries on March 9, 2021.

Environmentally friendly and sustainable, powered only by wind energy, the iFLY15 flying sailboat reaches speeds of over 50 km/h on the water. This makes it faster than many motorboats. To be able to realize these speeds, lightweight but durable components were required above all. The components have to withstand a wide range of environmental conditions, such as humidity, strong temperature fluctuations, impact loads from flotsam and much more. The absence of lubricants is of special importance: on the one hand, the bearings should be maintenance-free, since maintenance is practically non-existent in everyday use. On the other hand, lubrication would bind dust and sand and damage the guide shaft in the long run. For the sophisticated flight control system, the engineers therefore use igubal pillow block bearings in the mechanical scanners, among others. For a sliding bearing of the flight control system, maintenance-free drylin W linear guides are used. All axis bearings in the mechanism are cylindrical iglidur J plain bearings, which also operate corrosion-free and also have no problems with dirt and dust thanks to the absence of lubrication. In July 2021, the iFLY15 is to set a new world record: the fastest crossing of the English Channel. The distance was already successfully covered in a first attempt in September 2019, but too little wind in the last 20 miles thwarted a new record.

10th manus award: jury to select winners on March 9

With their development of the iFLY15, CEC Catamarans won the silver manus award in 2019. The manus competition is initiated every two years by igus, the specialist for high-performance plastics, and honors exciting and unique projects with polymer plain bearings. For this year’s 10th anniversary, more than 580 applications were received from users worldwide. On March 9, the jury consisting of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Boos, Managing Partner of WBA Aachener Werkzeugbau Akademie GmbH, Prof. emer. Dr.-Ing. Dr.h.c. Klaus Friedrich from the Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH, Paul J. Heney, Editor-in-Chief at WTWH Media, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Krug, Lecturer at the Institute of Automotive Engineering at TH Köln, Hubertus von Monschaw, Global Director Hannover Messe at Deutsche Messe AG, and Tobias Vogel, Managing Director iglidur Plain Bearings & drylin Linear Technology at igus GmbH, will select the winners of the manus award 2021. This year’s patron is Werner Götz, Editor-in-Chief of the Industrieanzeiger.

For more information, please visit: https://www.igus.de/