Specialist in high-performance polymer bearings, igus UK has presented two companies with its manus awards which recognise designers and manufacturers that make use of its plastic bearings in a truly innovative product

In recognition of the use of a polymer sleeve bearing in its luxury Tyligo Premium folding trailer, MBP Concepts has received igus UK’s Most Eye-Catching Design award.

The Tyligo Premium is a multipurpose folding trailer designed to allow valuable items of equipment – such as motorcycles, quad bikes, kayaks and jet skis – to be safely and securely towed behind a car or other vehicle. In addition to its versatility, strength and reliability, the Tyligo Premium has the benefit of folding to just 700mm wide when not in use, which not only allows it to be easily stored, but also means it can pass through a standard-width house door.

Matthieu Philippault, the inventor of the Tyligo Premium encountered many challenges, including finding the right bearing to use for the critical function of folding and opening the trailer by sliding the front bracket on the main stainless steel beam.

Key requirements were that the bearing should combine high load bearing capacity with long life, small size and minimal maintenance requirements. It was also necessary that it should be capable of operating reliably over a wide temperature range, in wet and dry conditions, and it should be impervious to the effects of salt, grit and other contaminants that would be thrown up from the road surface when the trailer was in use.

It was decided the iglidur sleeve bearing from igus would best meet these requirements. The bearing has the ability to carry a much greater load for the same physical size of bearing. This is thanks to the material’s high compressive strength and superior elasticity properties. iglidur bearings are also said to be cost effective and require no lubrication or other maintenance.

“The Tyligo folding trailer is a worthy winner of the Most Eye-Catching Design award,” said Matthew Aldridge of igus UK, “as it uses our bearing to perform a key function in a product that is distinguished by its innovation, performance and versatility.”

Tyligo will be ready for retail at the end of this year and will be launched at the MCN Motorcycle Show in 2012.

igus UK has presented its manus Plastic Bearing Innovation award to Trailerteq, a British engineering company that specialises in the development of roadside towing equipment.

Trailerteq’s compact Rapid Deploy­ment Transporter (RDT) fits into the back of an ordinary van, but can be deployed in minutes to form a robust and reliable towing trailer for transporting vehicles ranging from motorbikes and cars to small vans. It is, therefore, a popular choice for garages and other organisations involved with vehicle recovery.

During the development of the RDT, however, Trailerteq discovered that the support bearing for the main arm that links the body of the RDT with the towing vehicle was prone to premature failure. Finite-element analysis confirmed that the phosphor bronze sleeve bearing that was being used could not carry the required load, but space constraints meant that it was impossible to use a larger bearing.

Trailerteq’s design engineers discovered the igus range of iglidur polymer bearings had high compressive strength coupled with high elasticity, which means, size for size, they have a higher load carrying capacity than conventional metal bearings. In addition, the iglidur bearings require no lubrication or other maintenance, and they are highly resistant to the effects of dirt ingress or other contamination, something that is important for this application, where the bearings are exposed to salt and grit from the road.

Calculations showed that not only could an iglidur bearing reliably handle the required loads, it was also possible to use a bearing that was physically smaller than the phosphor-bronze type originally proposed. This meant that additional material would remain in high-stress areas of the RDT structure, making the transporter even more robust and tolerant of tough operating conditions. Practical experience with production units has confirmed these expectations and no failures have been experienced with the iglidur bearings.

“We selected this application for the award because it is an excellent example of how the use of a polymer bearing can transform the performance of a product, while helping to reduce costs,” says Aldridge.

The igus manus awards is a biennial plastic bearing design contest which was launched in 2003 and promotes new and original ways of using plastic bearings. Manus, the Latin word for hand, is the symbol for courage and leadership. Today about 300 entries are received for the global awards in 28 countries. The UK award winners are selected from a UK pool of global manus award entries.