ST-ROCH-DE-L’ACHIGAN, Québec—When Eric Simoneau and David Gingras, co-founders of Motion Composites, started the process of designing a better manual wheelchair, they recognized that the “lightweight,” manual wheelchairs at the time were heavy and inefficient. They knew that these wheelchairs restricted the quality of life and lifestyle of most people who used them.
Aiming to create a clean-sheet design for the “perfect wheelchair,” the two men assembled a diverse team of aerospace engineers, clinicians, and industrial designers to produce a highly responsive and efficient, lightweight manual wheelchair. The team used high-end materials, advanced technology, and leading-edge engineering to launch Motion Composites’ first Helio wheelchair in 2008.
According to the company, the Helio “revolutionized how people think about wheelchairs.” Since then, Motion Composites has continued to develop innovative, high-performance manual wheelchairs that provide users with enhanced mobility.
The company recently won a Red Dot Design Award, an international product design prize awarded by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen (Essen, Germany), for its Veloce wheelchair, a lightweight, foldable wheelchair. Motion Composites, which also won a Red Dot award in 2017 for its Apex wheelchair, said in a press release that the latest award is “further testament” to the company’s “focus on designing wheelchairs with unparalleled quality and aesthetics.”
“From the beginning, Motion Composites has been laser-focused on developing best-in-class wheelchairs which are not only very light and durable, but also incorporate unique design elements,” said Eric Simoneau, president and CEO of Motion Composites, in the release. “Selecting the right wheelchair is a very personal decision for our users, and the Veloce is a great choice for someone that wants a foldable model that can be perfectly adjusted to meet their everyday needs.”
The Veloce is reported to have several distinctive features, in addition to being light. (It weighs in at a transport weight of 11.98 pounds, according to the firm’s website.) It includes a unibody frame with symmetrical cross-brace, along with integrated impact guards and bubble levels. It is also said to address a key concern of wheelchair users by providing excellent adjustability at key points.
Many wheelchair users fear adjustability, especially with foldables, because it can often lead to looseness in their chair over time, the company said. The Veloce, however, addresses this issue by using high-quality components that are reported to provide the user with precise adjustability and sustained stability.
Most of the company’s wheelchair models are made of carbon fiber, a material that provides an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio and is often used in the aerospace and automotive markets, among others.
Motion Composites (www.motioncomposites.com) said that it increased its manufacturing capability recently in response to growing demand for its wheelchairs. Every Motion Composites chair is custom built-to-order and manufactured by hand in its plant in Quebec.