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When a team of students from Hertfordshire University were recently tasked with making this year’s UH Racing car much lighter than in previous years, igus — one of the team’s sponsors — was able to pitch in, explaining the features and benefits of using complex technical polymer and ultra-light metal components in place of the more traditional steel ones.

The UH Racing team, featuring 30 undergraduate students from the School of Engineering and Technology, develops a new vehicle each year. The focus for the UH18 team this year has been to reduce the overall weight of the car and, as a result of rule changes, which required smaller wings, some additional work needed to be done on the vehicle’s aerodynamic performance. A ‘Driver in the Loop’ motion simulator is available at the university to give students ‘real’ race-car experience and exposure to Formula 1 technology. 

In a normal road car, the seats are adjusted back and forth on heavy steel rails to accommodate the leg length of the driver. In a racing car, however, the seat position is anchored firmly. This is primarily for safety and centre-of-gravity reasons, and the position of a pedal box, which contains the brake and accelerator pedals, is adjustable.

UH Racing team member and final-year engineering student Ashley Craig said: ‘We used the igus drylin T linear guide rails and carriages for the mounting mechanism of the pedal box. These were then modified to fit a quick-release pin, so that they can be fixed in position and the pedal box moved either towards or away from the seating position to accommodate the fifth-percentile female to the 95th-percentile male.’

The race car is now undergoing an extensive testing programme using facilities at Hertforshire University’s rolling road and park and ride to shake down the car.

Key benefits of product application

  • The drylin TS-04-15 low-profile rails were used in conjunction with TW-04-15 miniature carriages for the mounting mechanism of the pedal box. Weighing only 330g per metre length, the cast zinc chromate carriage and hard-anodised aluminium rails are maintenance free. 
  • The sliding elements are made of wear-resistant iglidur J material, a complex technical polymer that is self-lubricating and therefore also requires no maintenance.
  • Although the drylin T linear guide systems were specially developed for automation and handling systems, these rugged linear guides can accommodate the most diverse, and also extreme, environments.
  • The iglidur W300 flange bearing — which offers a long service life — was also utilised, again giving the important advantage of weight reduction, which is crucial in motorsport.
  • The technical polymer and lightweight metal components supplied by igus have contributed to a 2kg weight reduction of the vehicle.

Igus

Igus is the largest producer of reinforced plastic energy chains and injection-moulded polymer bearings. The range of polymer bearings includes Iglidur plain, Igubal spherical and Drylin linear bearings. They offer an excellent price-to-life relationship and are developed under the toughest conditions. They are oil, maintenance and lubrication free, low wear, resistant to dirt and dust, corrosion free and simple to fit. Igus also has the data to precisely predict the lifetime of these bearings within a specific application.

Igus is the largest producer of reinforced plastic energy chains and injection-moulded polymer bearings. The range of polymer bearings includes Iglidur plain, Igubal spherical and Drylin linear bearings. They offer an excellent price-to-life relationship and are developed under the toughest conditions. They are oil, maintenance and lubrication free, low wear, resistant to dirt and dust, corrosion free and simple to fit. Igus also has the data to precisely predict the lifetime of these bearings within a specific application.

Energy chains are the umbilical cord of modern machines. They minimise downtime and protect, support and extend the service life of cables and hoses. The broad range incorporates more than 30,000 innovative, low-cost products. From the smallest ‘micro’ chain to the largest chain in the world, the E4.350, Igus energy chains are capable of long and short travel distances at high speeds in all axes.

Igus also has its own cable series, Chainflex, specially designed with energy chains in mind. They are highly flexible cables, offering a long service life and very small bending radii. A wide range is available, from small signal cables to large power cables, high-speed data cables and glass fibre-optic cables.

The company’s energy chains and Chainlflex cables can be delivered as a fully harnessed and pre-assembled Readychain system, cutting purchasing, warehousing and installation costs.

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