Plymouth manufacturer plays key role in development of innovative wheelchair seating system
A Plymouth manufacturer is playing a key role in helping develop a new seating system for wheelchairs that improves function and corrects body posture.
Source Engineering, a specialist in pressed and machined components, has supported wheelchair seating specialist Matrix Seating with a complex stamped part that acts as a locking clamp for the unique micro modules that are shaped to deliver customised support.
A 5-strong engineering team has worked with inventor Dr Steve Cousins to come up with a 11-stage progression tool capable of producing the ‘lock’ in spring steel – vital for delivering strength and flexibility at a unit price that works.
To date, 120,000 of the components have already been manufactured and delivered, with an increase in sales from the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the US set to result in a surge in volumes.
“This is a really exciting project to be involved in and we are delighted to be able to use our design and manufacturing expertise to help people enjoy a longer and better standard of life,” explained Pablo Gutierrez, Technical Director at Source Engineering
“Steve approached us about coming up with a stamped metal part to replace what was previously a plastic and then hybrid component. He’d been to a number of other suppliers, but we were the only one prepared to invest the design time in trying to come up with a solution that worked.”
He continued: “There was a lot to consider. We had to deliver a critically strong part that still allowed the system, which looks like a robust mesh and is fitted in place of the usual wheelchair back, to move to deliver the potential orthotic spinal correction.
“Initially, it was deemed to be just one part for the locking clamp, but after a number of prototypes and iterations we found that it was best to manufacture two components – a top and a bottom that would be connected with a bolt. Tolerances were really tight and also had to meet clinical specification.”
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