To help tackle plastic waste and migrate to a fully circular economy, Igus has been investing in ideas for recycling plastics for many years, and has now launched the igus:bike platform.
Presented at the Hannover Messe, the concept is a robust, durable urban bike made entirely of plastic, from frame to bearings to toothed belt. One special feature of this new bike is that the recycled version will be primarily made of reused plastics originally designated as ‘single use’.
“The plastic in rubbish dumps around the world is becoming a valuable resource,” explains Frank Blase, Igus CEO. He first had the idea of a bicycle, now known as the igus:bike, on a beach while on holiday. In conversations with employees of a bicycle rental company on the beach, he found out about their major problems with beach bikes. These were continuously exposed to sand, wind and saltwater and sometimes only lasted three months before they had to be replaced. Maintenance and replacement are often expensive and time-consuming in this industry.
The igus:bike, in contrast, can be left outdoors in all weathers and cleaned in seconds with a garden hose. “As all components are made of plastic, no part of the bike rusts, even the gears – bicycle gears made of plastic were unthinkable for a long time,” says Blase. Lightweight, lubrication-free high-performance plastics are used in all parts of the bicycle, from two-component ball bearings in the wheel bearings to plain bearings in the seat post, brake levers and pedals. All of these components have integrated solid lubricants and ensure low-friction dry operation – without a single drop of lubricating oil. This ensures that sand, dust and dirt cannot accumulate.
In the Igus development laboratories, eight developers are currently working on all moving components of the all-plastic bicycle, including ball bearings, brakes, sprockets, gears and drives. The new igus:bike platform offers bicycle manufacturers all over the world the opportunity to jointly advance this technology. The platform continuously shows the status and progress of all components and explicitly invites market players to participate.
The igus:bike will be shown in the UK for first time at Design Engineering Expo, 8-9 June at the NEC, Birmingham.