KARMA’s Innovation; Testing and Reliability of KARMA Wheelchairs

In our latest KARMA Innovation blog with Chief Innovations Officer at KARMA, Eric van Olst, we look to understand the importance and processes involved in testing a new KARMA chair in manufacturing, and how this can positively impact the reliability and overall quality of the chair, the safety of the product and the brand.

Eric van Olst, Chief Innovations Officer at KARMA

Testing and Reliability 

How important is testing when it comes to creating and developing KARMA chairs?

Very important, as we first need to comply with the international regulations for product safety. We also test according to our own quality requirements and procedures, to ensure all components and products are of a good quality and are reliable. We do indoor testing in our own testing department as well as external testing institutes like TüV and Crashtest facilities.    

What tests are conducted and why are they important?

We do test for dynamic and static stability, material fatigue tests, fire retarding tests, biocompatibility of the material which are in contact with the user’s skin, EMC (radio radiation) test and even a crashtest (where the situation is simulated as being a wheelchair user, in an occupied position, transported in a taxi van). But also, we are doing additional tests according to our own testing requirements. As an example, we test power seat functions on long testing cycles, much longer than the international requirements are asking for. Also we have a real live rough road test where our engineers are driving the wheelchairs through rough roads to ensure everything is strong, safe and lasts for a long period.

The EVO chairs are approved for transportation in accordance with ISO 7176-19. This means it is suitable to be used as a seat in a motor vehicle for transportation.

How long does the process take, from production through to testing and delivery?

Depending on the complexity of a product it takes from prototype to production up to 1 to 2 years. 

What key innovations have we seen in KARMA chairs over the years that have helped improve reliability?

KARMA focuses on high quality durable components, like drive motors, actuators, electronics. We have a special focus on service friendliness of our wheelchairs. A power wheelchair is 10 to 12 times as intensively used each day compared to a car, but our cars are sent to a dealer for a check up on regular bases, whereas often the wheelchairs are driven until they break down.

We know wheelchairs will have some technical issues due to wear and tear, and will need some repairs every now and then. 

At KARMA we say: “We provide mobility solutions, not wheelchairs only”.  

We focus a lot on making repairs and maintenance as easy as possible for the service engineers. With this in mind we are sure the repair is short and the user really can depend on KARMA wheelchairs and the service, to provide a reliable mobility solution.  

You can check out the full range of KARMA wheelchairs and find out more about our unique power functions on the KARMA website.

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