A lot was at stake when Swedish company Etac faced the prospect of renewing its flagship product, the market leading Etac Cross wheelchair. It had to be modernised without risking its position in the market. An important goal was to encourage more people to use the wheelchair’s extensive setting options, together with the goals of a more efficient production process, longer service life, and improved environmental profile.
Correct seating position in a wheelchair is crucial. Incorrect, inadequate or complicated setting options not only make the wheelchair uncomfortable to sit in, but may also lead to injury. Etac created market leader Cross back in 1992. In 2012, the wheelchair was redesigned, and its popularity largely stems from its versatility. When the manufacturing tools for Cross were due to be replaced, Semcon was commissioned to modernise and improve the wheelchair.
The assignment presented a number of challenges. One of the most demanding was to enhance user-friendliness, to enable more people to adjust the wheelchair properly. This means the user has a better seating position, increased mobility and manoeuvrability, as well as being able to sit for longer. Since several people often use the same wheelchair, it’s even more important for the settings to be easy to adjust and understand. That this is difficult to achieve is primarily due to the limitations posed by specific requirements on the design of the wheelchair.
The biggest challenge has been to innovate and improve while complying with all of the requirements. But we have succeeded, which the users themselves have confirmed.
The power in combining skills
The close cooperation between Etac and Semcon was one of the project’s most important success factors. Etac’s product developers, production developers, marketers and purchasers have collaborated on the project through Semcon’s entire design process. This ensures that goals are achieved, and it includes visualisation, conceptualisation, design and implementation. In addition, the process offers a platform that enables optimum utilisation of all the skills required for such a complex project.