October 08, 2018
Taking action to integrate and keep people with disabilities in employment, Safran continues to solidify its commitment with an innovative and solidarity-based project to design a lifting wheelchair using 3D manufacturing. A solution that could be applied to employees with reduced mobility within the Group.
Thomas Courteille, a millwright with disabilities, has been working at Safran Nacelles in Colomiers since 2014. Faced with the necessity to access all of the parts of the engine, Thomas, and the other members of the team, had the idea of applying the use of a "lifting" wheelchair to an industrial setting, thus enabling Thomas to work standing up.
The problem with this kind of wheelchair is the very high price, the amount to be paid by the buyer often amounts to several thousand euros... As such, within the framework of the Group's CSR policy and its commitment to support the professional integration of people with disabilities, the teams at Safran Nacelles in Colomiers set about developing a solution for designing a cheaper wheelchair made by Safran.
Designed by four Safran employees, the purpose of the project is to design a lighter and more ergonomic wheelchair at a lower cost. It was as part of a Group-wide crowd-sourcing project that the topic of 3D manufacturing of the future was presented with a full-scale model. The innovative part of the design is the structural part of the wheelchair (in yellow on the photo of the model) is manufactured using 3D printing.
Solidarity and coming together
The next step involves creating a collaborative network with companies having 3D printers, where everyone contributes their skills to "print" chair structures and then put the wheelchairs together. Thomas' wheelchair, as well as those of other Group employees will need it...