igus Inc., East Providence, R.I., presented the results of its fifth manus competition for plastic plain bearings at an awards ceremony held during the 2011 Hanover Fair. The judging panel was overwhelmed by 301 entries received from 28 countries, in comparison to last year's 80 entries. This year's contest for design engineers accepted entries from around the world for the first time. Any application using a solid plastic plain bearing and plastic compounds was eligible.

Judges awarded the gold manus and prize money of 5,000 euros to Carmelo Lagunas of Spain for his machine that makes potato omelets. Pans for the individual omelets are moved in rows of four through the machine. In the hot and greasy environment, involving short-term temperatures to 347° F during the frying process, maintenance-free iglide Z plastic plain bearings are used. Plain bearings made from iglide A200, which comply with FDA requirements, are used in places involving direct food contact.

The silver manus award and 2,500 euros went to Marco Portocarrero of Portugal. His disc mower has self-sharpening blades, which can cut thin tree trunks during forest clearing work. Heavy-duty bearings made from the polymer material iglide Q link the disc mower's support and blade shafts. With a tensile strength of 3,086 lb, the blade rotation adapts to the balance between centrifugal force and cutting resistance; it can also rotate completely around its own axis when the impetus is hard, such as when striking a stone.

The bronze manus and 1,000 euros went to Dr. Stefan Schulz of Germany, who works for a company specializing in medical prostheses. The company has developed hand and finger prostheses with power-driven fingers. The basic finger joint is moved directly by a gearmotor and the central joint is moved via a spring link: All axes are fitted with plain bearings made from iglide J, a plastic material with an extremely low coefficient of friction and long life. For more information, visit igus.com/manus.