The Florida-based Boca Bearing Co., a maker of ceramic ball bearings, announced that it will celebrate its 25th year in business by giving away over $20,000 in cash and prizes in an international innovation contest. Besides being a way to highlight its anniversary and show its appreciation to customers, the company says it hopes the contest will support those eager to push the limits of new technologies that will drive the future economy.

Boca Bearing officials say entrants must have a project that involves ball bearings, roller bearings or linear bearings. Winners will be chosen based on a video submission of that should emphasize how the project is innovative, progressive or overall “cool.”

The company says that one finalist will be chosen by the voting public each month in 2012, with that monthly winner winning an iPad2. Finally, a grand prize winner will be chosen by the company and he or she will receive a grant check for $10,000.

The two runners up will also be chosen from among the monthly winners and each win their own 3D printer from MakerBot Industries (~$2,500 value each).

For inspiration of what might be submitted as an entry, the company suggests that any mechanical device that requires either linear or rotary motion generally also requires a bearing to make that motion more efficient.  Some suggestions: unmanned autonomous vehicles, robots, kinetic art sculptures, engine hacks, performance racing applications, sustainable energy projects and much more.

A concrete lathe, an example of one of the submissions to contest.

Boca Bearings has set up a special web page for the contest that includes more detailed information about the submission process, rules, FAQs and the judging process. The public can also use the page to vote for monthly winners.

The company also reports that it is going to continue its support for the 10,000-year-clock project. This is a specially engineered clock designed to run for ten millennia with little maintenance, powered by solar energy and mechanical energy from the people who visit it. The primary materials used in the clock are marine grade 316 stainless steel, titanium and dry running ceramic ball bearings supplied by Boca Bearings.