The intricate part acts as a locking clamp for unique micro modules that are shaped to deliver customised support via the wheelchair, which was developed by Dr Steve Cousins of Matrix Seating. A five-strong team from Source worked with Cousins to create an 11-stage progression tool capable of producing the component in spring steel, vital for delivering the strength and flexibility required of the part.
“Steve approached us about coming up with a stamped metal part to replace what was previously a plastic and then hybrid component,” explained Pablo Gutierrez, technical director at Source Engineering. “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.
“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.”
According to Source, 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 expected to result in an increase in volumes.
“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,” said Gutierrez.
“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.”