Canadian Packaging

igus motion plastics put the classic air-hockey game back in the limelight

By Agility PR Solutions   

Dry-running igus drylin linear guides and dryspin lead screws ensure precise drilling of air holes

March 28, 2023 — Drilling 4,540 holes with precision: the trainees at SHW-Werkzeugmaschinen faced this task when building an air-hockey table. For the mechanism of the special drilling machine, the prospective industrial mechanics and mechatronics technicians put their complete trust in the self-lubricating motion plastics from igus®. Among other things, maintenance-free dryspin® lead screws and the lubrication-free drylin® W linear technology from igus are used.

Air hockey is considered a classic game, especially in the United States. The idea originated in the 1970s. Air hockey was to be made accessible to everyone. This is how the tables the size of a billiard table came into being, on which two to four players try to hit a puck into the opponent’s goal. Air is blown through many small holes under the table, creating a cushion of air on which the puck glides very quickly, with virtually no frictional losses.

The trainees at SHW-Werkzeugmaschinen wanted to put a new spin on this classic game as part of the “Art Meets Technology” competition. The result was a tournament-sized table with around 4,540 holes with a diameter of 1.2 mm each. The table was developed, built, programmed, and commissioned from scratch. The trainees made a machine just for the playing field controlled by a computer and drilled the holes for the air ducts in a 23-mm grid. In their search for the right components, they found what they were looking for at igus.

“Above all, a high degree of accuracy for the holes was particularly important to us, so the drive technology had to be very precise,” recalls Bernhard Müller, who supervised the student project at SHW. “After an Internet search and detailed consultation with igus Sales Consultant Philipp Krajewski, we decided on three drylin W rails and carriages as well as dryspin lead screws and nuts.”

The cost-effective and dirt-resistant components are used as x-, y- and z-axes.

Air hockey table with Young Engineers Support wins competition

The project also convinced the judges of the “Art Meets Technology” competition. The trainees came in first in the Quality category with their air hockey table. But what became of the table?

“Currently, the table is available to all employees for play during break times. An in-house tournament has already been performed at our Christmas party. We also display it at training fairs,” explains Bernhard Müller.

The project was supported by igus as part of its Young Engineers Support (yes) Program. With the educational initiative, igus wants to help students, trainees, and lecturers with free samples and sponsorships and develop innovative projects.

More information about the igus yes Program can be found at:


igus GmbH develops and produces motion plastics. These self-lubricating, high-performance polymers improve technology and reduce costs wherever things move. In energy supplies, highly flexible cables, plain and linear bearings, and lead-screw technology made of tribo-polymers, igus is the worldwide market leader. The family-run company based in Cologne, Germany, is represented in 35 countries and employs 4,900 people across the globe. In 2021, igus generated a turnover of €961 million. Research in the industry’s largest test laboratories constantly yields innovations and more user security. Two hundred thirty-four thousand articles are available from stock, and service life can be calculated online. In recent years, the company has expanded by creating internal startups, for example, ball bearings, robot drives, 3D printing, the RBTX platform for Lean Robotics, and intelligent “smart plastics” for Industry 4.0. Among the most significant environmental investments are the “chainge” program – recycling used e-chains and participating in an enterprise that produces oil from plastic waste.


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