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Thread: The future of titanium wheelchairs?

  1. #41
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randomryan007 View Post
    Elarson what I find funny is Medicaid will pay for titananium with justification of chorse. .
    I heard similar also back when I was in rehab. Supposedly IL Medicaid was buying them and people with regular insurance were often given a hard time depending on the carrier

  2. #42
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elarson View Post
    I agree with you at some level about titanium and materials, but really do think the titanium frame helps with bumps and vibrations, especially on our typical brick roads and when using a Firefly and a ZX-1 power add-on, which also puts quite a lot of stress on the front frame. Possibly if we had a box frame, it would be different, but that would cause other issues that are not workable.

    My husband also has severe neglect where he ignores one side completely and on any given day his chair will be bashed into about 20-30 things. I like that he has a satin finish chair so I can buff it out. For the same reason, we would never go carbon fiber, because it would look like crap in a matter of weeks. If it was only about the issues with the frame being bashed around and scraped up, which is mostly cosmetic, I would have no issue with paying extra for the titanium option on an Aero Z.

    Unfortunately, if you look at the price of a K0005 Aero Z with the titanium option it is $3,490, while a ZRA is $2,995. That is $500 more to get it as an option. There are also other options that are not possible on the Aero Z, like individual flip-up footrests, that are critical for his use of the chair. The point is that people should have choices based on the complete configuration, without having to forgo an entire chair just because of it's frame material!


    Right. It's the lack of total configuration flexibility in the K5 market (which was present in the K9) that if fixed would benefit way more people than one particular frame material, or another, staying on the market. Ti can be good, but what it's good at can be achieved in other ways. From soaking up vibes to structural integrity, Ti isn't simply "the best". It's good, for sure. Just not irreplaceable. It's "memory", the capacity to resist micro-fracturing when stressed is, perhaps, a uniqueness. It still breaks, tho!
    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

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  3. #43
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    Elareson no I know of people all over the US that have titanium chairs. A good seating specialist can get you anything. That's how I got my icon. My seating specialist had to give hardcore data. To prove that the icon was the best choice of chairs for me. I had to do multiple things and my seating eval took just under 3 hrs. Took me another 6 months to get my chair. And now it's taking since November to get parts for my chair. Maybe it's just my dme. I am frustrated as all hell. Constantly being sent to the dme and then they take their sweet time.

  4. #44
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    Yep, you got it about what my gripe is about -- the lack of total configuration flexibility in the K5 market. I have a feeling that manufacturers like TiLite and others will be making adjustments to their product configurations based on the loss of K0009 coding, but it still irks me that it should be necessary, primarily based on only what material the frame is. Personally I would rather see manufacturers put their efforts into new technologies that help people rather than just fulfilling regulations that have no real merit.

    I agree that there is no "the best", and am constantly looking for options, even though it will be years before my husband gets another chair. Unfortunately, at the time, and still currently from what I know, the ZRA was the only workable option that fit almost all of our requirements. I do see some other options on the horizon though, but we'll have to see how those play out...

    Quote Originally Posted by Oddity View Post
    Right. It's the lack of total configuration flexibility in the K5 market (which was present in the K9) that if fixed would benefit way more people than one particular frame material, or another, staying on the market. Ti can be good, but what it's good at can be achieved in other ways. From soaking up vibes to structural integrity, Ti isn't simply "the best". It's good, for sure. Just not irreplaceable. It's "memory", the capacity to resist micro-fracturing when stressed is, perhaps, a uniqueness. It still breaks, tho!
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  5. #45
    It's a shame because it really does make a difference with Titanium over aluminum. I had the same chair three years I just replaced a week ago only difference is it's Titanium vs aluminum (Aero X Folder vs. Tilite 2gx Titanium) I weighed them both, same size frames, the Titanium is 4 lbs lighter and you really do notice the difference when loading and unloading the chair from the car all day. All along though I've just bought chairs used or demos and paid cash for parts because I just don't like to wait for months and deal with the system even though I could have in the past. I realize though not everybody has this choice and it sucks for them that this code K0009 has been eliminated.

    Quote Originally Posted by elarson View Post
    Yep, you got it about what my gripe is about -- the lack of total configuration flexibility in the K5 market. I have a feeling that manufacturers like TiLite and others will be making adjustments to their product configurations based on the loss of K0009 coding, but it still irks me that it should be necessary, primarily based on only what material the frame is. Personally I would rather see manufacturers put their efforts into new technologies that help people rather than just fulfilling regulations that have no real merit.

    I agree that there is no "the best", and am constantly looking for options, even though it will be years before my husband gets another chair. Unfortunately, at the time, and still currently from what I know, the ZRA was the only workable option that fit almost all of our requirements. I do see some other options on the horizon though, but we'll have to see how those play out...
    "Life is about how you
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  6. #46
    Unless DME's are aggressive I think the future is bleak. Today I received a letter from my health provider outlining changes to Medicare Advantage plans. It reads in part:

    "...Medicare coverage is limited to clinically proven items and services that are reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of an illness or injury ( within the scope of a Medicare benefit category). NCDs are made through an evidence-based process, with opportunities for public participation. In some cases, CMS supplements its own research with an outside technology assessment and/or consultation with the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee.

    In The absence of a national coverage policy, an item or service may be covered at the discretion of the Medicar contractors based on a Local Coverage Determination.

    Once an NCD is finalized and published, its coverage guidelines are binding nationwide. It is important to discuss the medical necessity of your medical care with your doctor. Items and services that are not detrermined by Medicare to be medically necessary will not be covered by Medicare or the Clear Care plans. As a reminder, you plan may require prior authorization for these services..."
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  7. #47
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Leatherbee View Post
    It's a shame because it really does make a difference with Titanium over aluminum. I had the same chair three years I just replaced a week ago only difference is it's Titanium vs aluminum (Aero X Folder vs. Tilite 2gx Titanium) I weighed them both, same size frames, the Titanium is 4 lbs lighter and you really do notice the difference when loading and unloading the chair from the car all day. All along though I've just bought chairs used or demos and paid cash for parts because I just don't like to wait for months and deal with the system even though I could have in the past. I realize though not everybody has this choice and it sucks for them that this code K0009 has been eliminated.
    Your lighter chair happens to be titanium, but my aluminum/magnesium alloy chair is still lighter. Chromolybendum can be used for even lighter. Titanium is heavier than aluminum (check the periodic scale). This is the misled elitism I mentioned. What makes the difference is less about the material and more about the engineering. Some materials allow different engineering. An aluminum chair with well engineered oval tube could yet be even lighter! The miracle is not the material. There are soooooo many options there need not be any loss to the wheelchair industry for the loss of titanium (which isn't gonna happen, anyway!)
    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

    "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

  8. #48
    biggest thing ti v alum for me is my tilites really take more beating and dragging from car transfers. when I ran alum the chairs would get ate up where I drag the frame on pavement every day. the ti certainly holds up better and longer.... like a few have said you have to be aggressive to get what you want. I've never used a pt/ot or "seating specialist" just very solid lmn from my sci doc.
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  9. #49
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    Aluminum and magnesium are good metals; they certainly have their uses. Aluminum is easy to cast and extrude, but it's also quite soft and malleable. Even with the best alloys or treated to increase surface hardness, it's still comparatively soft. Try hitting some flat stock with a hammer. You can flatten most aluminum. This is very hard to do, if not impossible by hand, with titanium. And aluminum just doesn't have the hardness or tensile strength of steel or titanium.

    I think many of us have seen the weight comparisons between aluminum, titanium, and steel. And yes shape and design can overcome deficiencies. However, titanium has a huge advantage in durability and can be used to fabricate thinner. For appearance and easy user restoration, try polishing aluminum and using it without some kind of coating. Your skin and clothing will turn gray rubbing on it. Just the oils in human skin will cause problems.

    The bottom line is that both aluminum and titanium are great for building wheelchairs. Each metal has its advantages and deficiencies. Just know what you're getting with each.

  10. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by elarson View Post
    I agree with you at some level about titanium and materials, but really do think the titanium frame helps with bumps and vibrations, especially on our typical brick roads...
    Having used aluminum (Top End) and titanium (TiLite) chairs, if there is any vibration dampening with titanium, it's hardly noticeable to me.

    Comparing suspension vs. non-suspension is another story. The difference between my TiLite and my Icon (with real suspension) is night and day.

    Quote Originally Posted by fuentejps View Post
    biggest thing ti v alum for me is my tilites really take more beating and dragging from car transfers. when I ran alum the chairs would get ate up where I drag the frame on pavement every day. the ti certainly holds up better and longer....
    I agree.

    From another perspective: my wedding ring is titanium & it takes a beating. I would've destroyed an aluminum one. The titanium one lost its brushed finish from daily wear over the past 5.5yrs, but has fully maintained its integrity and now looks polished.

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