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Elesa has initiated a programme of product development to accommodate the needs of the postural-seating and therapeutic-equipment industry.

Initially the company found that, typically, the design of these types of adjustments can involve an inner tube sliding within an outer tube or sleeve.

The inner tube, which extends to achieve the required distance setting, is invariably of a high surface finish for aesthetic reasons and may often be chrome plated for aesthetic or hygienic reasons.

Elesa considered the problems of achieving sufficient torque on clamping components to achieve the necessary clamping forces required to hold adjustments in place, specifically those that could experience a lot of weight such as foot plates and back rests.

Other factors found to be influencing design requirements were the need, in some cases, for adjustment to be made by occupational therapists or under parental control and protected from misuse, or the ability to make adjustment when the grip of an operator may be impaired in some way.

The specification mix defined a number of new products and variants derived from the Elesa range.

Elesa took its VCT five-lobe knob design, which already incorporated purpose-designed inserts with faced and chamfered ends, and overmoulded a ‘soft-touch’ thermoplastic elastomer to improve grip and aid torque.

In instances where the end of the stud is clamping highly finished tube, further enhancements were enabled with the addition of delrin inserts in the end of the studs.

The standard range of VCT clamping handknobs represent a significant improvement over older-style products manufactured in thermosetting material, which can shatter on impact, and, in this case, the glass-reinforced thermoplastic construction not only confers high ruggedness and impact strength, but is also ideal for the overmoulding process.

A major feature of the VCT series is the availability of coloured centre caps, which are available in blue, red, yellow, orange, grey and black (standard).

These allow for colour coding of equipment functions or matching of finish to equipment for improved aesthetic appearance.

For alternate functions, female and through-threaded versions are offered with brass inserts, while male versions have zinc-plated steel studs.

The VC range of five-lobe grip knobs is also offered in chrome – the VC.692-CR – as a cost-effective alternative to stainless steel that also addresses the hygiene issues involved in frequent-use medical situations.

For applications requiring a level of protected adjustment, Elesa introduced the VLS security knob, a further derivative of the VCT five-lobe design incorporating a security key.

VLS security lobe knobs have been designed to be unsecured only by authorised personnel provided with the security key.

Without the key inserted, the knob can be clamped in the conventional manner and with the key in place it unscrews as normal, but when the key is removed an internal ratchet mechanism operates with an audible click warning, so the knob cannot be undone and the knob head simply ratchets around while the clamping action remains fixed, ensuring that important settings are not lost and that adjustments are not made by unskilled personnel.

Two types of key are available: a fold-down type to be left in place – for example, for use throughout the working day – and then removed; and a ball-top key to be kept on a key ring for occasional use.

Both of these have red moulded handles for ready identification.

For ultra-quick clamping operation, the Elesa range of eccentric-cam-operated levers is ideally suited to equipment mounting on tubular frameworks.

The LAC series is designed for attachment to medical furniture, wheelchairs, trolleys, orthopaedic seating, therapeutic products, bicycles or other mobile equipment where rapid fixing/removal or re-positioning is required – for example, rapid assembly of mobile stands or supports.

LAC cam-clamps feature a smooth action cam clamping plate arrangement with fine adjustment by means of a knurled knob, or as a non-adjustable configuration.

This cam with plastic clamping plate design ensures smooth, torque-free clamping to eliminate movement or ‘wriggle’ during the clamping process, as well as ensuring that the clamping force cannot exceed set limits, which can be as high as 5,000N.

Both adjustable and non-adjustable types are available in female or male formats and thread forms of M8.

Since the LAC clamps are intended for frequent manual operation, Elesa have paid special attention to ergonomic features such as touch comfort, feel and fit, using glass-reinforced polyamide technopolymer for the hand lever itself.

For adjustments where high forces are involved, Elesa recommends the use of indexing plungers to give a positive lock in a number of predetermined positions, as opposed to relying on the clamping force of a handknob.

Mini indexing plungers of the GN 822 series feature an AISI 303 stainless plunger, providing accurate positioning, while the technopolymer knurled knob offers a safe and solid grip during operations.

They are ideal for these applications due to their low overall height and shortened threaded body.

Options are available with and without lock-out ‘rest’ positions.

Elesa is also developing components for medical applications such as handles, clamping handles, castors and hand wheels.

Elesa is a supplier of a wide range of standard metal and plastic machine parts to the mechanical engineering industry.

A natural appreciation of quality design and ergonomic research; a business culture firmly focused on product quality; the recognition of its brands as guarantees of quality and reliability, the continuous attention to clients’ needs and a fast and careful service have made Elesa a reference point for designers and builders. More than 40,000 product codes, 180 patents and 38 international design awards produced with systems certified to ISO 9001, ISO14001 and ISO18001 all supported by a worldwide branch and distribution network offering localised stock and technical support.

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