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SME Innovation | An electric chair for the bath

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Secur-o-Bain is an easy-to-install, power-driven chair that pivots over the tub and gently lowers its occupant into the water.

innovation

It is the occupant who directs the maneuver with a wired remote control. No mains connection: the system works with the control’s rechargeable battery.

who

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs and specialist in machining, Alain Desmarais, inspired by the needs of his mother in loss of autonomy, devoted five years to the design of an easy-to-use electric chair to go down in his bathtub a person with reduced mobility. His start-up company, Secur-o-Bain, began marketing it.


PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, THE PRESS

Alain Desmarais, President of Secur-o-Bain

The big advantage of this chair is that the installation is done in two hours and does not damage the structure of the house. It’s easy, it doesn’t require dismantling the bathroom: you put the pole and you take your bath.

Alain Desmarais, President of Secur-o-Bain

The product

The seat is attached to a bracket that slides vertically on a pole erected right next to the bathtub.

The elevation of the stem is carried out using a screw inserted into the column and moved by an electric motor concealed in its base, powered by 12 volts.

By leaning on the handle fixed to the mast, the bather or the person assisting him rotates the bracket manually to place the seat above the bath.

Safety catches stabilize the seat when sitting down, or above the bathtub for the descent.

The energy is supplied by rechargeable batteries placed in the control – “submersible”, explains Alain Desmarais. “We recharge it with the charger that comes with it. »

no screws

Other devices operate according to a similar principle, recognizes Alain Desmarais, but the Secur-o-Bain chair is distinguished in particular by its aesthetics and simple installation that does not require the structure to be permanently screwed into the floor tiles or into the ceiling, he argues.

Both the base and the ceiling support plate have a non-slip surface. The column is held in place by the pressure it exerts on the floor and the ceiling. The screw placed at its top makes it possible to adjust the pressure on the ceiling plate. Even if the latter rests only on the plaster, between the ceiling joists, the structure can support a weight of up to 350 lbs, maintains Alain Desmarais.

Winged seat

Another innovation, the plastic seat is equipped on its sides with two hinged wings, which rise when they come to rest against the interior walls of the tub.

“They adapt to the width of the bath and they are protective elements so that users do not put their hands under the chair during the descent”, explains the entrepreneur.

He called on the firm Tak Design to refine the concept and make the technical drawings. Apart from the base containing the motor, cast in aluminium, most of the structure is in stainless steel.

“It’s a very simple product,” he says humbly.

The only complicated thing is the control stick. I worked with engineers to develop the memory card. It has a security: if it does not have enough current to go up, the chair cannot go down. There is no danger of getting stuck.

Alain Desmarais, President of Secur-o-Bain

Priced at around $4,400, this solution is less expensive than a walk-in tub, argues the contractor.

First pieces

It has already received the Danish-made motors and wired remote controls for its first 100 units, but the mechanical parts, made in Asia, are held up in a container that is slow to arrive.

The first assemblies will be made in his garage. He has already sold and installed two first devices, whose parts had arrived by plane. Four other customers are waiting their turn.

The future

Alain Desmarais is preparing to publish advertising to publicize his product before interest in specialty stores, first in Quebec, then in Ontario. “I hope to sell 50 by July, and in August I will place another order for 250.”

He then plans to rent a 2500 sq.2.

Half of its production will then be intended for in-store distribution. “If everything goes according to plan, after that it will be orders of 500.”

Learn more

  • $250,000
    Investment made so far by Alain Desmarais, particularly for tooling and injection moulds. He predicts that $100,000 will still be needed.



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