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News

Right steel provides support and comfort

SSAB Tunnpl : 12 November, 2002  (New Product)
A back support which is lighter, more durable and more comfortable, and easier to manufacture, has been developed by the Canadian company Schukra Manufacturing of Toronto. The new design, which is in ultra high strength steel, has helped lift Schukra to its world-leading position when it comes to back supports for automotive seating and chairs. There has been a twenty-fold increase in the production rate, thanks to much simpler manufacturing. The ergonomic support has been nominated for the 2002 Swedish Steel Prize, the international engineering design accolade. The prizegiving ceremony takes place on 21 November.
A back support which is lighter, more durable and more comfortable, and easier to manufacture, has been developed by the Canadian company Schukra Manufacturing of Toronto. The new design, which is in ultra high strength steel, has helped lift Schukra to its world-leading position when it comes to back supports for automotive seating and chairs.

There has been a twenty-fold increase in the production rate, thanks to much simpler manufacturing. The ergonomic support has been nominated for the 2002 Swedish Steel Prize, the international engineering design accolade. The prizegiving ceremony takes place on 21 November.

Having the right support for the curve of the back is crucial when we sit, irrespective of whether it is in airline seat, in a car or in an office. Schukra Manufacturing has grown rapidly in the global market and is the world's number one when it comes to the development and production of back supports. An important factor behind the company's success is that its material of choice is ultra high strength steel. This has opened the door to a completely new design solution resulting in a product that is harder wearing and more comfortable than earlier models, and only half the weight. The new single-unit design means that the company will benefit from a far simpler production process and a consequent twenty-fold increase in manufacturing capacity.

'We are the world's number one in this particular area,' says Chris Cosentino, managing director of Schukra Manufacturing. 'We currently account for eighty per cent of the constantly-growing global market.'

The back support is pressed as a single unit in a completely automated process. The previous model consisted of twenty different parts and was assembled by hand. An assembly operative produced between one and two units per minute compared to thirty-five units a minute now.

'We have seen a dramatic reduction in production costs,' explains purchasing manager Rick Rankin. 'We have also gained an end product which is more durable, and better for the user.'

The company has chosen to develop in-house the new tools which are required to manufacture the high strength supports.

'We needed to produce tools and find presses which could withstand the hardness of the material throughout the fabrication process', says Tony Maier, research and development manager. 'As far as we know we are the only stampers of 190M material. Here, we were supported by our supplier with regard to obtaining flatness required for stamping. We have experienced only minor problems, and production is proceeding smoothly.'

A type of ultra high strength steel is used for Schukra's back support. It has a minimum tensile strength of 1310 N/mm2.

Schukra Manafacturing has been nominated for the 2002 Swedish Steel Prize, the international engineering design award, for its back support. The winner will be announced from four finalists at the prizegiving ceremony in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 21 November. The Swedish Steel Prize was instituted by SSAB Tunnplåt AB.
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