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Thread: Potential Issue with TiLite CF Folding Side Guards

  1. #1

    Potential Issue with TiLite CF Folding Side Guards

    I ran into this problem a couple of weeks ago on a 17x16+1 85 degree ZRA S2 which we spec'd with a 92 degree back angle and 4" of dump. Using the shape of the standard side guard as our guide, we opted to get the standard size carbon fiber side guard with the fold down hardware. Because of the combination of dump and the back angle that was spec'd, TiLite drilled the holes in the panel so that it ended up much further forward than we expected (TiLite mounted them to permit the top corner to clear the backrest). The arc of the side guard meets the frame rail only an inch behind the upholstery. Not as much of a problem with removable side guards, but a significant problem if the end user performs lateral transfers since they can't be removed. I suspect this issue is most likely to occur on chairs which have 3-4" of dump combined with a fairly upright back angle.



    The side guards on the "Z9.5" had to go back to TiLite to be re-cut to clear the JetStream Pro.



    I'm currently working with TiLite Customer Service to remedy the issue, but I'm sure this is occurring fairly often with their regular upholstery. TiLite really needs to consider redesigning the shape, and possibly size, of the fold down panel to ensure the end user has enough transfer room at the front and less of a gap at the rear (Something similar to the Z9.5's).

    The small side guard panel would be 1" below the tire on this particular chair. Hitting the side guard during a transfer can have significant implications. Cutting carbon fiber can be hazardous, so I'm sure they don't want end users modifying them on their own.

    End users shouldn't have to pay an additional $275 on top of what is already a $400 option to get their side guards profiled just to ensure they can transfer into their new chair when it arrives.


  2. #2
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
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    I know I'm a picky, pesky bastard but the $200 upcharge for fitting side guards properly is one of the reasons I won't buy a TiLite. I don't expect something for nothing, but $400 isn't 'nothing' for ill fitting side guards, particularly when other manufacturers bake sizing CF guards into their basic process of building a chair.



    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR View Post
    I ran into this problem a couple of weeks ago on a 17x16+1 85 degree ZRA S2 which we spec'd with a 92 degree back angle and 4" of dump. Using the shape of the standard side guard as our guide, we opted to get the standard size carbon fiber side guard with the fold down hardware. Because of the combination of dump and the back angle that was spec'd, TiLite drilled the holes in the panel so that it ended up much further forward than we expected (TiLite mounted them to permit the top corner to clear the backrest). The arc of the side guard meets the frame rail only an inch behind the upholstery. Not as much of a problem with removable side guards, but a significant problem if the end user performs lateral transfers since they can't be removed. I suspect this issue is most likely to occur on chairs which have 3-4" of dump combined with a fairly upright back angle.



    The side guards on the "Z9.5" had to go back to TiLite to be re-cut to clear the JetStream Pro.



    I'm currently working with TiLite Customer Service to remedy the issue, but I'm sure this is occurring fairly often with their regular upholstery. TiLite really needs to consider redesigning the shape, and possibly size, of the fold down panel to ensure the end user has enough transfer room at the front and less of a gap at the rear (Something similar to the Z9.5's).

    The small side guard panel would be 1" below the tire on this particular chair. Hitting the side guard during a transfer can have significant implications. Cutting carbon fiber can be hazardous, so I'm sure they don't want end users modifying them on their own.

    End users shouldn't have to pay an additional $275 on top of what is already a $400 option to get their side guards profiled just to ensure they can transfer into their new chair when it arrives.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member tooley's Avatar
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    Ti needs a gimp or 2 in their QC dept. AB's just don't think about these kind of things.

    This sideguard issue isn't new, have seen a few Series1 chairs locally with ill-fitting guards. Imagine buying a new car where the door opening made it difficult to get in the driver seat...

  4. #4
    I always been in love with Tilite, but looking at pictures like that, I like least this brand, they are just a titanium frame.
    If I were the owner of that company, I would be embarrassed that one of my chairs left my factory like that, more so taking into mind that the owner also uses wheelchair.
    I can assure you that a profesional with the correct tools don`t need more than 5 minutes to profile that sideguards.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by tooley View Post
    Ti needs a gimp or 2 in their QC dept. AB's just don't think about these kind of things.
    They do. The head engineer is a chair user.

    I don't know what their problem is. They've grown too big and unresponsive. They just recently relocated into a much larger factory, so it's hard to imagine that they're going to become more consumer responsive. There's often an inverse relationship between company size and customer attentiveness. Let's hope they're listening, though I'm with Dale on this one: they won't have my future business.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by stephen212 View Post

    I don't know what their problem is. .
    Money over customers

  7. #7
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
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    If I were betting, I think the quest for an ever more efficient manufacturing process has produced an increasingly unyielding and rigid one. This type of process engineering drives it's own cost up when something comes along that violates the established parameters. With something unique to each chair, like side guard profiles, it's hard to establish parameters around which to create 'operational excellence', or some other ten dollar MBA buzz word.

    Ultimately it comes down to when you want to design the step of cutting the side guards into the process. They need to be made into the one of 2 sizes Tilite offers standard at some point, so they are cut once no matter what. The only reason two sizes makes sense is if you want to do it waaay ahead of the build for any given chair. No doubt it costs more to cut them twice. That's easy math. Why not make the step, the one cut that has to happen to make ANY side guard, at the step in the build process where it would be easily possible to make it appropriate to the profile requested by the customer?

    That is hand made in the USA.
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  8. #8
    ...or simply the mindset to realize whenever a new feature is offered, such as carbon fiber side guards or fold down hardware, they need to examine the staus quo to see what else could be affected. For example, the first CF side guards tended to fracture near the screw holes, so they eliminated the extra holes that are still found on the aluminum versions. No adjustability could cause a bit of an inconvenience, but they could still be removed for transfers. That would be an acceptable trade off for many. When the fold down hardware came out, however, that inconvenience became a show stopper with certain configurations.

    When they began producing the Z10, they knew this was an issue and changed the shape...



    Shouldn't this knowledge have been enough for someone at TiLite to say "Hey, you know these fold down panels have no adjustability, maybe we should look at designing a similar side guard panel specifically for the fold down hardware".

    I sincerely hope offering custom profiled side guards at an up charge was not their "solution" to the problem.

    BTW, if you had to rank all 110 Z10's from first to last in terms of aesthetics, the one that would be ranked at 110 happens to be up for sale on the TiLite eBay storefront. The asking price is only $1650.



    At least those fabric side guards would not be in the way during transfers.
    Last edited by SCI_OTR; 01-23-2011 at 07:49 PM.


  9. #9
    No bids and only 2 1/2 days left? Who could pass up the opportunity to get their very own Z10 for only $1650?

    This is a Z10 that truly looks like no other. (Well, it looks like no other Z10 anyway).


  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR View Post
    No bids and only 2 1/2 days left? Who could pass up the opportunity to get their very own Z10 for only $1650?

    This is a Z10 that truly looks like no other. (Well, it looks like no other Z10 anyway).
    It's a typo: they forgot the decimal point. It's a Z.10

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