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End-use parts for customized electronic wheelchair solutions with AduraX

Use case

Decon Wheels AB

End-use parts for customized electronic wheelchair solutions with AduraX

Background

Decon Wheels is a provider of electronic wheelchair solutions based in Hyltebruk, Sweden. They develop and install motors, controllers and ergonomic steering solutions on externally sourced wheelchairs. They mainly sell on northern European markets and has experienced a lot of growth in recent years. Due to quick-paced product development and high customization grade, additive manufacturing has always been an integral part of their R&D.

The challenge

The electrification of wheelchairs requires a lot of customizability to make it user-friendly Until recently, Decon Wheels ordered many parts through SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) printing service bureaus. This gave the company a lot of design freedom and ability to focus on other activities, but had its drawbacks when it came to iterations, lead times and cost of parts. Filip Malm, development engineer at Decon Wheels, therefore decided to scout the market for a material and a printer that would enable them to print their parts in-house instead, without compromising on part quality, both in terms of mechanical properties and visual look.

“When we develop new mounting solutions for example, we need to be able to iterate quite a bit before we are happy with the solution. Using external bureaus and SLS makes the turnaround time quite long, which slows the process a lot. Therefore, we needed a good in-house solution.” – Filip Malm

The solution

Filip soon came across Add North and asked what we could recommend. After the specifications had been set out, we realized that the carbon fiber filled nylon filament Adura X would be the perfect fit. Due to the addition of chopped micro fibers the Adura X offers an unbeatable surface finish combined with great toughness. One of the advantages with Adura X is also that you can achieve excellent results with a regular desktop printer, which enabled more flexibility as a number of printers could be purchased. Starting out with one component, Decon Wheels are now producing several components for their products in their print farm, some of which even exceeds their previous SLS counterparts both in terms of surface finish.

“The key for this solution to be rolled out was the material AduraX. We have tried many different materials, and no other could match AduraX in visuals, dimensional accuracy while also providing supreme mechanical strength.” – Filip Malm

Future outlook

The in-house additive manufacturing journey for Decon Wheels has only begun. The print farm is planned to be expanded and more components are being dialed in for series production.

"To have a 3D filament partner that can develop materials based on our needs and specifications is very important for our future development with additive manufacturing. This allows us to both cut costs and time to market, which is very important in our field” - Filip Malm

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