8.000 kilometers per year
8.000 kilometers per year
Maintenance, dirt- and corrosion-free polymer spherical bearings for electric wheelchairs
This electric wheelchair is characterized not only by an extremely all-terrain, transaxial all-wheel steering, but also by sophisticated environment control systems. Whether iPad and iPhone connector or integrated distress call system: A variety of constructive developments improve the mobility in everyday life and compensate physical deficits. Lubrication- and maintenance-free plastic bearings thereby provide the required functional reliability. "The clear market for specialty aids demands high quality," reports Niels Richter. He is one of two managing directors of the Richter Reha Technik Richter R. m. S. GmbH in Franconian Thurnau. "And with our special wheelchairs we are moving into an even smaller niche. " The family business, founded in 2001, contributes toward helping people with disabilities to be mobile in their daily lives in different areas. This is ensured by 17 highly specialized employees at the production site and five sales representatives in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In collaboration with hospitals, medical suppliers and end customers, the company creates customized solutions that are tailored individually to the respective daily requirements.
Adaptation to the disease
The manufacturing penetration of the specialist provider is relatively low. The component assemblies, which mainly concern the chassis, are outsourced. Only the final assembly takes place on site. "We know the requirements of the rehabilitation market. Our special expertise lies in the special structure that is adapted to the particular disease," clarifies Niels Richter. "For this, we analyze the specific application areas on site − from the school through the home environment up to the workplace − and adapt them according to the special features. "This can be for a special control system such as controls by the chin, suction/blowing or occipital movements. Second, even heavy-duty functions up to 350 kg are possible. The latest development of the company is the electric wheelchair "Tango GT". Similar to the car, there are also different classifications for electric wheelchairs: compact, middle and upper classes. With their new electric wheelchair, the company Richter has deliberately positioned itself in the upper class. The aid can be used mainly outdoors, and also indoors. The transaxial all-wheel steering makes driving stable in the tightest bends. The wheelchair is maneuverable in tight spaces. It offers a special off-road capability and manages even steep climbs thanks to the extra powerful engine without sacrificing performance.
Plastic bearings for everyday use
Niels Richter: "This wheelchair is currently the only one in the market with a so-called triangular steering system. " The interesting part is that the steering is not merely cushioned as is usual in wheelchairs, but it can move in all directions. "We have created a three-dimensional movement out of a two-dimensional one. " The lubrication- and maintenance-free "igubal®" spherical bearings of the series "KGLM" are used at the pivot points of the triangular steering. Two bearings each are installed in the upper and lower swing arms, so that eight spherical bearings prove their worth in everyday use in the wheels of the front and rear axles.
Balances misalignments and edge loads
Besides the high dampening ability, the "KGLM" type series distinguishes itself in the high-tech electric wheelchair "Tango GT" mainly by the vibration dampening. In addition there is the compensation of misalignment and edge loads. The lightweight and rugged spherical bearings have proven themselves from day one in the steering of the special wheelchairs. "They are easy to install and can be adjusted very well," says Niels Richter. "Also remarkable are the small clearance, the mobility and, of course, the inevitable freedom from lubrication and maintenance. “
Lubricating grease is a taboo
Wheelchairs are usually used indoors and outdoors. "We have for example a customer who drives around 8,000 km a year", the CEO reports from experience. Especially in outdoor use, the chairs must withstand all weather conditions. Lubrication points are off limits on these aids. Because grease attracts dirt and dust that inevitably falls down indoors on the floor. "This meant it had to be avoided at all costs," says Richter. "So only polymer bearings are basically used in our product range. " In addition, high forces act on the built-in bearings when driving over curbs. The shock/impact force at the moment of driving over is extremely high.
In "Tango GT", they are tempered by a mountain-bike spring system and high-volume tires, so that no excessive loads occur. "The plastic bearings are the first choice for us in the triangular steering system," says Niels Richter. The rehabilitation technology company has been using the polymer bearings range in its aids for many years. "We maintain close contact with our field staff, who regularly draw our attention to new things and provide appropriate samples," says Richter. "These are placed in a kind of evidence room on demand. For new or further developments, we first take a look there, at what we have in stock and test the polymer components for their practicality in everyday use. In this way, we have now identified the technical advantages of the spherical bearings in the all-wheel steering. “
Also polymer plain bearings and profile guides
In addition to the spherical bearings, various flange bearings made of the "iglidur® G" material are for instance installed in all standing devices with a 45° shift in the center of gravity. The all-round bearing of versatile use is, inter alia, used for simple rotating and pivoting movements. It is built into the calf plates and ensure an appropriate stability and thus security when standing. Moreover, very flat "drylin®" profile guides prove their versatility in the foot and leg adjustments of all electric wheelchairs. They are easy to install. The tribologically optimized polymer liners supply very good results in friction and wear. Here too, the absence of lubrication makes the overall system extremely insensitive to dirt.
The company Richter is currently revising part of its product range. The plan is to incorporate the triangular steering system in all electric wheelchairs, as our customers have shown great interest in it. The individual component assemblies are subjected to constant tests. These range from electric height and length adjustment of the seat through the electrical adjustment for relieving pressure on individual body parts up to the electronic leg adjustment and all-wheel steering. The company has been consistently dedicated to the task of compensating physical deficiencies better and better.
Source: igus® GmbH (http://www.igus.ee/wpck/7933/App_igubal_Gelenklager_Elektrorollstuhl?C=EE&%5dL=de&L=en // Date: 22.04.2014)