3M helps shape sporting wheelchairs of the future 13 October 2011

Great Britain's wheelchair basketball team can be assured of optimum reliability of its fundamental equipment, thanks to a novel solution from 3M.

Staffordshire-based RGK Wheelchairs, which designs and engineers wheelchairs for daily use but also specialist sports, had been having problems with welding wheel castors, which was causing titanium and steel bearing housings to deform and exceed tight manufacturing tolerances.

RGK design engineer Mike Sheen contacted 3M's Industrial Adhesives & Tapes Division for a suitable bonding material, and the solution was a specialist adhesive, called Scotch-Weld EPX Adhesive DP460.

This is capable of securing a machined part into the bearing housing, so holding the bearings in place, rather than relying on the main housing to do the job – meaning any deformation as a result of the welding was no longer an issue.

"The 3M solution has contributed significantly to [reliability] as bearing performance is not affected by any distortion of the housing shape caused by welding," comments Sheen.

"The 3M product has proved ideal for this application and we are now in conversation with 3M about using other products such as tapes and thread lockers."

Brian Tinham

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