Manufacturing Process

What We Do > Manufacturing Process

Wheelchairs built with care to WHO guidelines

Designed with safety, strength and durability in mind, our rough terrain wheelchairs are manufactured by our team of passionate and hardworking volunteers at our factory, 50 per day on shifts under the supervision of our factory Manager.

Producing approximately 300 wheelchairs every month at between $200 and $250 per chair, depending on required extra supports, we follow a stringent production process—from cutting, bending and drilling the aluminium frame to fitting the brake modules and testing to ensure wheelchair compliance with World Health Organization guidelines. As a finishing touch, our wheelchairs include knitted blankets and toys made by our volunteers to ensure absolute comfort.

From the Factory to the Fields: Our Manufacturing Process

Lengths of extruded aluminium are cut, drilled and shaped for the wheelchair components. Metal drop-saws are used to accurately cut individual components to length, and then component pieces are set up in jigs mounted on drill presses and drilled as required.

Sheet aluminium parts for handle assemblies are cut and shaped in a special purpose booth, after which cut and bent components are transferred by to locations within the Workshop complex for assembling into sub-units.

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Four (computerised) CNC milling machines are used to produce various wheelchair components from aluminium bar, angle and plate stock. When programmed by our skilled volunteers, assisted by a local engineering company, these machines produce parts that are always dimensionally correct and consistent with a high-quality finish.

Seat, back, and footrest plastic blanks are drilled at workstations set up with jigs for multiple drilling to ensure maximum adjustments. These predrilled backs and seat plastics are assembled onto seat framing aluminium, followed by footplate plastics. Then seat modules are fitted, along with handles, harnesses and brake components.

The steel chassis frames complete with front jockey wheels are assembled with seat units, footplates and brake units to form complete chairs (minus two main wheels).

Wheelchairs are put through an alignment checking process and front pivot wheel bearings are checked and adjusted if necessary.

Periodically a wheelchair is tested to WHO guidelines, including one which performs timed duration tests on simulated rough terrain and the other drop / impact testing. This ensures compliance with relevant international standards for simulated conditions in the field.

After undergoing testing and final adjustment, complete chairs are individually packaged (with two main wheels) for export in strong donated cartons, marked to list exact contents e.g. some containing headrests where others do not.

Separate ancillary items, including a padded cushion, rug and toy, are added to the wheelchair package ready for distribution.

The Wheelchair has been tested to International Specification ISO 7176 on equipment built by the University of Western Australia Engineering Department. The test includes stringent stability, fatigue and durability testing to simulate the rough terrain conditions a wheelchair may expect in developing countries.

Each time there is a design or new component added, the wheelchair is retested in accordance with ISO 7176.

 

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