Refitech has introduced a lightweight carbon fiber handle for the new guide dog Traction belt, which uses a pre-immersed material to be produced using a vacuum bag in a closed-mold hot-pressing tank process.
The carbon fiber traction strap was developed by the NPK design company in Leiden at the request of the Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation. The new carbon fiber handle weighs less than 50% of the previous metal handle, significantly improving the comfort of the dog and owner. The design blends several novel features inspired by kite surfing equipment and motor sport technology, while its reflective décor enhances the dog’s visibility in walking.
When helping the owner avoid obstacles and pass through the road, the guide dog’s traction strap and handle are essential for signaling instructions. This is useful for visually impaired users as the NPK team adds ridges to the design and the handle is inserted into place with a loud “click”. Once mounted on the traction belt, the carbon fiber handle “floats” above the guide dog’s back, making it easier for the owner to find a location. The traction belt itself is made of leather and happens to be the most wear-resistant material.
Janwillem Bouwknegt, one of NPK’s chief designers, said: “We are honored when the Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation asked us to help them design a new guide dog traction belt. After meeting with dog owners and guide dog trainers several times, we chose carbon fiber to make handles, mainly because of the high stiffness and light weight of carbon fibers. This, in turn, means that we have to look for suppliers who can produce small-scale carbon fiber assembly series at a reasonable cost, and have worked with Refitech before, so they are our first choice.
Bas Nijpels, Refitech’s sales engineer, added: “NPK is a leader in the conceptual design and functionality of the new traction belt. Our role in this process is to focus on the production aspects of the handles as well as prototyping and material sourcing. Since the Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation is a non-profit organization that relies on donations, we know that costs must be minimized. After optimizing the design to facilitate demoulding and the use of prepreg, we now offer new handles at very favorable prices, thanks to our production facilities in China. ”
Post time: Feb-16-2019