Special Feature 1ライフイノベーション

Using Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic for Assistive Applications to Reduce the Burden of Nursing Care

Leveraging the power of materials for social welfare

Lighter weight, enhanced ease of use

Motoshi ToyodaMotoshi Toyoda
Manager, Advanced Composites Sales Section No.2, Advanced Composites Marketing 1st Department, Toray Industries, Inc.

Toray and Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. co-developed one of the industry’s lightest1 portable wheelchair ramps, the Dun-Slope AiR™ ramp,2 made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). To reduce weight, the ramp uses a hollow structure without a core material that other ramps use. By developing woven fabrics and optimal shape combined with molding technology to achieve stable supply, the companies realized a ramp that is strong, durable, and easily portable. We hope that the ramps will help to reduce the burden of caregiving as the population grows older.

Hollow structure reduces weight

Toray also supplies other products made from CFRP for assistive applications, such as wheelchairs and prosthetic legs. Toray has been focusing on medical X-ray equipment in its Life Innovation business expansion, but we will also develop a broad range of quality products that leverage the power of materials to address challenges faced in medical and social welfare settings.

  1. 1 Based on comparison of Dun-Slope AiR™ ramp in five different lengths ranging from 100 to 200 cm, compared with same length ramps from other companies (survey by Sumitomo Rubber Industries in September 2015).
  2. 2 Dun-Slope AiR™ is a registered trademark of Sumitomo Rubber Industries.

Voice

Masayuki Matsushita

We knew that Toray’s carbon fiber has been proven in some of the toughest applications such as aircraft and race cars. This proven performance gave us the confidence to use the materials in our portable wheelchair ramp, and also reassures users. I know that we made the right choice in choosing Toray’s materials, when I see users pick up the ramps at exhibitions and they see just how light the ramps are.

We look forward to continue working with Toray to further increase user satisfaction by making our products even lighter and better performing.

Masayuki Matsushita
Manager, Household Products Business Unit, Hybrid Rubber Products HQS, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd.

Topic Washable synthetic tatami mats reduce burden in caregiving settings

synthetic tatami mats

Toray supplies synthetic tatami mats that are washable and offer more grip and cushioning than traditional straw tatami mats. These popular mats are being used in various applications including elderly care facilities. According to Chikako Nobukawa, Manager, Nursing Care Department, Port Ailand Roken Social Welfare Corporation (a geriatric health services facility), “House dust is less of a concern with the synthetic mats and they are easy to clean when they get dirty. The mats are more cushioning than hard flooring materials. From the facility’s perspective, we have fewer worries about accidental falls. The residents can even stretch out on the mats in the conversation lounge area just like traditional straw tatami mats, which helps them feel at home and is mentally reassuring.”