German start-up PARAFREE won the prestigious iF Design Award 2023 in the Healthcare category for their next-generation modular wheelchair. Out of 11,000 entries from 56 countries, the product was outstanding, reflecting over 5000 hours of development by a dedicated team.
PARAFREE is part of the Langefreunde Design Studio, led by Felix Lange. The wheelchair, conceived in 2011, is designed to improve mobility for people with paraplegia or limited leg function. Carbon fiber composites provide the unique shape and robust structure, complemented by metal parts for a perfect modular design.
Sourcing high-quality, production-ready parts in small quantities was a challenge.
“Our biggest challenge was finding a flexible manufacturer that could provide us with the parts required to meet this low-volume production plan,” says Lange.
A local manufacturing facility was initially helpful but soon became overwhelmed, increasing costs and delaying the design.
The solution was found in the Hubs online manufacturing platform. Its multitude of features and instant quoting accelerated PARAFREE’s development cycle.
“Hubs’ platform gave us live feedback on the manufacturability and potential costs during the development process. This immediate feedback loop is not attainable when working with traditional manufacturers,” Lange adds.
Reflecting on the impact of this project, Lange remarks, “Every young designer dreams of changing the world with a product that improves people’s lives. Hubs has given us reassurance in the way we design our parts, and certainty that we are doing it right.”