CRT Technology Showcase

Fuze T50n: PDG Mobility Improves Upon a Classic

Fuze T50

How narrow? This narrow. The new Fuze T50n is based on the well-known Fuze, but has a very different level of maneuverability.

The adult tilt-in-space wheelchair is an underappreciated workhorse, a tried-and-true essential in private homes and care facilities.

With its ease of use and dependability, PDG Mobility’s Fuze tilt-in-space chair has long been an industry E1161 favorite. Now, PDG has redesigned the Fuze and also launched a narrower version created to fit the real-world environments of so many wheelchair users and their families.

Redesign Goals

“PDG Mobility first introduced the Fuze T50 in June of 2007,” said PDG President Thomas Dietsch. “With its sleek aluminum frame and effortless tilt system, it was an instant success. The T50’s maintenance-free tilt performance and simple setup and adjustments have made it the 50° tilt wheelchair of choice for clinicians and technicians worldwide. Over the years, PDG has increased the chair’s allure by growing its weight capacity and seat width ranges, and by adding features like power tilt and many factory-installed third-party accessories.

“In June of 2020, PDG will release the new generation of the Fuze T50. In addition to a subtle polishing of the wheelchair’s design, the T50 will see its tilt mechanism refined further and receive features such as a new fold-down backrest and new armrests. At the same time, PDG will launch the new Fuze T50n. The letter n describes the key feature of the new chair: It is narrow.”

Stunningly so. The T50n has what Dietsch called an “unbeatable” overall width of seat width + 4". “This makes the T50n approximately 4" to 7" narrower than most standard tilt chairs,” Dietsch said. “The T50n will fit through more doors and can be maneuvered through more tight spaces than any other tilt chair.”

That’s critical because while most modern interior doorways measure 28" to 32", the locations of those doorways and a hallway’s general architecture can still make it nearly impossible for wheelchairs to make tight-enough turns.* To say nothing, of course, of even narrower doorways and passages in older buildings.

Maneuverability in the Real World

Torr Brown, PDG’s Chief Engineer, said, “Based on requests from the community for a narrower tilt wheelchair, we started to look at several options around reducing overall chair width to improve maneuverability. PDG’s in-depth experience with tilt chairs and comprehensive selection of different wheelchair models offered a good starting point. The aim was to keep it simple and to leverage existing parts and technology to minimize time to market and the price point.”

PDG’s engineering team also wanted to maintain the Fuze’s traditional features. “By reducing the width of the lower frame and using spacers to mount the existing upper frame,” Brown said, “we were able to maintain the full 50° of tilt while still allowing for a large range of seat-to-floor heights. To reduce interference, rear wheel size had to be limited to 12" so that the upper frame could tilt over top of the wheels. A new axle receiver ensures the chair maintains a great range of adjustability.”

Still, the Fuze T50n does offer a range of sizes to fit as many wheelchair users as possible. James Formby, Senior Mechanical Design Engineer, said, “The chair offers 16-24" fixed seat width or 16-20" adjustable seat width options. Its seat depth range is 15-22". Available seat-to-floor height options are 16-20". The T50n offers three caster sizes (5", 6", 8"), but the rear wheel size is limited to 12" to allow for the maximum tilt range.”

Fuze T50

By keeping the rear wheel size at 12", the Fuze T50n maintains a 50° range of posterior tilt.

Since the T50n is based on the Fuze, seating clinic veterans will find the T50n to be familiar, Formby added. “The T50n is built on the proven and well-known Fuze frame architecture and 50° tilt system. Clinicians and technicians familiar with the T50 will instantly recognize the T50n and be comfortable with the setup, handling, and adjustment options of the chair. Like all PDG chairs, it comes with a lifetime frame warranty and our exclusive TGIF (thank goodness it fits) guarantee.”

The T50n includes transit tie-downs at no charge. Available options include PDG’s Easy-Out front rigging, reclining backrest, and power tilt, as well as third-party seating and positioning systems.

But why redesign an adult tilt-in-space chair that already had so many happy customers?

“Tight indoor spaces remain an obstacle to users of mobility devices,” said Russ Rolt, Director of Sales. “Interior door sizes vary, but many of them are too narrow for tilt wheelchairs to comfortably pass through. Many doorways or hallways cannot be easily widened, and often people are forced to compromise their health by foregoing the benefits of a tilt chair, or they may have to move or give up mobility independence.”

Now the Fuze T50n offers a more maneuverable design without compromising function. “The T50n offers a fully featured 50° tilt chair with the overall footprint of a transport chair,” Rolt said.

The Fuze T50n launches in June 2020; its price includes a $200 upcharge vs. the traditional Fuze T50.

 

*Go to tinyurl.com/podcastsmm to hear PDG’s Director of Sales Russ Rolt’s conversation about wheelchair footprints and maneuverability in the real world.

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2020 issue of Mobility Management.

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