CRT Technology Showcase
Fuze T50n: PDG Mobility Improves Upon a Classic
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.
“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
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.”
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.