An Organisation which provides services for disabled people requested our assistance. They had developed a mobility device to allow disabled people access to the ocean for therapy. This required wheels suitable for operating on car parks, footpaths, ramps, beach sand and also able to enter the water. Pneumatic tyres were not suitable for safety reasons. Flexible wheels fabricated from stainless steel had been used in the past with some success but also had problems;
- Noisy on hard surfaces
- Sand penetration of riveted joints
- Sharp edges which could injure the patient and helpers
We were requested to provide a Polyurethane Coating to alleviate these problems. This was not feasible for several reasons. Polyurethane Processors proposed designing and casting wheels from a suitable grade of Hot Cast Polyurethane. In order to keep weight down the wheels were designed with a flexible outer rim and flexible spokes. We were also able to discard the original steel hub and bearings, making the hub an integral component of the wheel, designed to accept thin wall bushings instead of bearings. This resulted in a wheel lighter than the original item with no metal hub, better on all surfaces and not affected by sea water. Unfortunately, our participation in this project was cut short for commercial reasons, namely for cheaper alternative equipment from overseas.
We have gained satisfaction from knowing that Polyurethane Processors have the ability to recognise a situation, provide a solution, design and manufacture complex moulds, devise casting and curing methods and also machine finishing and fitting of special bushes. The mould has been made with reversible segments, suitable for casting right hand and left hand wheels.
Services for Disabled Persons March 31, 2017