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What has become of the manus winners?

Episode X: polymer bearings in an inspection device for offshore riser tubes

The manus award is a joint initiative which the plastics specialist igus announces every two years. More than 3,000 contestants from across the globe have entered the competition in recent years, which honours the creative use of polymer plain bearings in industrial applications. This year, the manus award celebrates its tenth anniversary. A good reason to look back: what has become of the last nine winners and their projects? The Industrieanzeiger made enquiries

Manfred Worms, Tuboscope Vetco Germany GmbH, is the winner of the second manus award, which he received in a ceremony at the Hannover Trade Show in 2005. He won the prize for the use of polymer plain bearings in an inspection device for a drilling riser. In the offshore sector, the drilling risers connect the drilling platform with the seabed. Since the riser is exposed to aggressive media and high mechanical loads, safety and environmental protection aspects require regular inspection. For this purpose, the inspection device scans the entire inner surface of the extremely stressed riser main pipe semi-automatically in just one operation. The device must be light and low-maintenance. Impurities such as corrosion products, residual liquid, sand, grease or oil must not affect the mechanics. Therefore, the designers rely on the light polymer plain bearings, igubal spherical bearings and drylin linear guides from igus. A unique application that convinced the jury of the manus award in 2005.

Mr. Worms, what has happened since you won the gold manus award?

A lot has happened since 2005. We have realised many larger and smaller projects in the onshore and offshore sectors, always in accordance with the ups and downs of the industry. The focus of our work was on the damage-free test of the tubes with different technologies. We are a service provider in the area and develop the corresponding devices ourselves. In doing so, we rely on the many products from igus, be it plain bearings, linear technology or energy chains in various designs.

manus winner 2005

How did the manus award influence your project?

We were very surprised to win the gold manus award. We received the news on 1st April, so we first thought it was an April fool's hoax. We were all happier afterwards. The project itself was not directly influenced by the award. However, the prize money benefitted the entire department and a social institution.

What is the current situation of the project?

Based on the manus prototype from 2005, two devices were built and successfully put into operation. Both are currently located at our parent company in the USA. They still work flawlessly, even after almost 15 years. Generally, we have had only positive experiences with the polymer plain bearings and energy chains so far, especially on long travels, which makes our work a lot easier.

What is your plan for the future?

After more than 33 years at Tuboscope Vetco GmbH, I will retire in a few months. My colleagues, however, are already planning several new projects

manus winner 2005

Speaking about new projects, have there been further applications with polymer plain bearings since you won the manus award? If so, which ones?

Yes, there were and still are. For example, based on the lubrication-free drylin linear axes, we have developed a compact transportable three-axis robot. It helps check the proper functioning of the ultrasound sensors that we use in our testing devices. The entire device is designed as a portable set for worldwide use. The case serves as a transport container for the axes with control system and measuring electronics, as an assembly platform for the axis system and as a tank for connecting the sensors that are to be tested to water.

Thank you for the interview.

This year, too, the jury under Werner Götz's patronage will be looking for unique applications with polymer plain bearings. The winner will receive prize money of up to 5,000 euros. For the first time, the contestants have the chance to win a green manus award for the use of plain bearings in a sustainable project. You can find more information at: