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Plastic shock absorber wins design award

01 November, 2006

Plastic shock absorber wins design award

A novel design for a bicycle shock absorber has won this year`s manus competition for new and original ways to use plastic bearings. The shock absorber was designed by London-based Karbon Kinetics whose managing director, Richard Thorpe, (below) received the £2,500 first prize and a trophy at a recent ceremony.

The lightweight shock absorber is designed to isolate the rider from the road. Usually, these devices are made from cylindrical metal shafts moving in an outer metal sheath. But these metal versions require many parts.

Karbon Kinetics` polymer design reduces the number of parts by combining low-friction bearings, end bushing bearings and a sliding shaft into a single part which is economic to manufacture. The combined shaft is injection moulded from a polymer made by igus, which sponsored the competition.

The shock absorber was chosen from almost 80 entries — 50% more than entered the first manus competition in 2004.

The £1,000 second prize went to Clive Smart, a design engineer at Blatchford Products, for an energy and torque managing device for lower limb prostheses. The TT Pro device absorbs and reduces impact loads and other forces encountered by prostheses, using a resilient rod and spring action.

The third prize was won by Dr Chris Lodge, engineering manager at Renold Chain, for a transmission chain that incorporates polymer sleeve bearings and a solid polymer roller.

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