ELASTO support Flexyfoot with bespoke TPE compound
ELASTO, a leader in the development, manufacture and supply of high-performance, custom-formulated TPEs have developed a bespoke TPE compound for British success story Flexyfoot.
Shock-absorbing, anti-slip Flexyfoot is designed to replace the old fashioned ferrule (or rubber tip) on crutches and walking sticks and revolutionise walking for the injured or infirm. Flexyfoot has been recognised as one of the most innovative products in the mobility market today, offering significant quality of life improvement for people reliant on walking aids.
Flexyfoot is the brainchild of product designer David Goodwin, who was inspired to invent it by his family. Both his sister, who has MS, and his 95 year old mother complained to him about the difficulties and discomfort of using their walking sticks. They also found the rubber feet wore down much too quickly and were difficult to change.
Working with Goodwin and moulder Pentagon Plastics, ELASTO developed a custom formulated Dryflex TPE compound that offered improved abrasion resistance to withstand product wear and tear. The material structure of Dryflex TPE produces the high surface tackiness and high friction required in this application, helping the Flexyfoot tread to give a safe ‘grip’ even on slippery and wet surfaces. Mark Griffiths, R&D manager ELASTO, commented, ‘It was important for us to deliver a material that not only gave the correct feel and functionality but also delivered on processing capability. The innovative materials and design used for Flexyfoot presented us with an unusual combination of challenges. Alongside Pentagon we worked with the material flow to ensure precise filling of the mould’.
Flexyfoot beat some stiff opposition to be ranked number two in the prestigious British Healthcare Trades Association’s Independent Living Design Awards in 2010. The awards celebrate the very best healthcare and assistive technology products in the UK, enabling elderly and disabled people to lead an independent life. Goodwin collected his award from Angela Rippon OBE, who was particularly inspired by the number of the glowing testimonials received from grateful Flexyfoot users.
‘This is an exciting time for ELASTO and projects of this nature are exactly what we want to get involved in. Promoting new business opportunities and supporting innovative new projects is a key part of our Business strategy’ commented Per G. Hellberg, managing director at ELASTO.
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ELASTO continues to bridge the gap between rubber and plastics with its innovative range of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) led by global brands Dryflex® and Mediprene® based on the full range of SBS, SEBS, TPV and TPO technologies. Dedicated exclusively to supporting the Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) user market, ELASTO supports OEMs, moulders and designers at all stages of product development in the medical, electronic, automotive, construction and consumer markets. More information can be found at www.elastotpe.com
ELASTO are part of HEXPOL, the world leading global rubber compounding group with 26 manufacturing facilities in nine countries. www.hexpol.com
Mediprene® and Dryflex® are registered trademarks property of ELASTO Sweden AB.
The Flexyfoot ferrule was invented by product designer David Goodwin. David’s design team has over 25 years experience in creating innovative, stylish and commercially successful products and have won numerous international awards for their design achievements.
David’s sister, who has MS, complained to him about the difficulties and discomfort of using her walking stick. She found that rubber feet wore down too quickly and were very difficult to change. His mother of 95 refused to use any sort of walking aid, even after a fall, because she thought it made her look ‘old’! Realizing there was a need for walking aids of all types to be sexy, sporty and smart; David developed a flexible, safe and comfortable alternative to the humble walking stick ferrule. And so Flexyfoot was born.
Flexyfoot aims to transform the walking aid sector by offering real solutions to the real problems faced by those who need, or prefer, to have a little bit more stability. Flexyfoot assistive products not only look good and work well, but also have proven medical and therapeutic benefits, helping to challenge the stigma of walking aids and give safe, flexible support to those who need it. The Flexyfoot ferrule is the result of 3 years intensive research, design and development and has been created with the help of a leading orthopaedic surgeon and tested to the latest ISO standard for endurance and slip resistance. www.flexyfoot.com