Developing EasyRoller metal-free wheelchair
EasyRoller is a Norwegian company specializing in producing non-metal wheelchairs to meet today`s challenges at security gates, swimming pools, and MR in hospitals.
EasyRoller first product was based on plastic tubes and connections, all glued together to a frame. It was used at airport security, swimming pools and hospitals. At airport security, it provided a more human, safe, and more efficient safety check as no manual control was needed. It solved the corrosion issue in the swimming pool and more efficient transport of patients, with reduced walking ability, to MRI machines at hospitals. The feedback from the market was very positive.
The wheelchair was functional, but the production method was time-consuming and the solution had design limitations.
The Task : To make an ergonomic, appealing and production friendly wheelchair without metal parts.
Our challenge was to design a non-metal wheelchair with modern design, high degree of ergonomics, mass production friendly, no loose parts and meet the requirements in the EN 12183:2009 including ISO 7176-1, ISO 7176-8 and EN 12183:199 7,6.
Helping aids as wheelchairs tend to stigmatize the users as sick or weak. EasyRoller wanted to reduce this stigma by offering a wheelchair with a design and ergonomic everyone wants to use, even those who do need it. A unique design that will be recognized as the non-metal wheelchair.
The Solution: A 100% environmentally friendly wheelchair in thermoplastics, saving 60% production cost.
Designing a non-metal wheelchair to meet the same ISO standards as its metal competitors required us to evaluate all available production methods and its materials opportunities. In addition to sufficient strength and stiffness, we wanted a production-friendly solution that also provided us design freedom. Our evaluation and investigation concluded that rotation molding with a special PE material would meet our requirements.
A wheelchair is a highly ergonomic and functional product. To understand the usage and the user we established a reference group of human ergonomic specialists and highly qualified personnel representing the main markets: Airport, swimming pool, and hospital. Through several workshops we managed to narrow all ideas into one concept. By use of our own model workshop and CNC machine, we produced 1:1 mockups as catalysts for discussion and to test ergonomics and functional solutions.
The design of EasyRoller is a symbiosis of good ergonomic, design, strength, and production friendliness. The human round shape of the main body is inviting to the user. Compared to the hard and cold metal, the PE material is soft and warm. The outer smooth shape allows the user to turn even in narrow spaces and the integrated companion handle is ergonomic and robust. Elbow support is designed to not limit the seat access when moving from a bed, or another chair, to the wheelchair. The transparent side covers to protect the user’s clothes from the wheel and provides a lighter appearance to the product. The foot support can easily be flipped backward, allowing the user to position the feet below the seating to easily get out of the chair. The smooth surfaces are easy to clean and the seat/back padding can be removed or changed if needed.
The wheelchair is made from 100 % environmentally friendly thermoplastics. The direct cost has been reduced by 60% compared to the first version, and the opportunities are good to make acceptable earnings.
Since its launch in 2011 EasyRoller has sold more than 3000 pcs all around the world. Several articles are written, and the wheelchair has received two awards for its unique and functional design.
Award for design excellence 2011 by DogA – Norway
Red dot design award 2011 – Germany
Functional elements – such as the steering handle, armrest, and tip stop – are intelligently integrated into the design, lending the wheelchair an overall welcoming appearance.Red Dot Design Award jury