A new generation of wheelchair caster wheels from Frog Legs Inc now features carbon fiber composite in its construction.

“This time we looked at a different type of manufacturing process than machining aluminum,” says Mark Chelgren, founder of Frog Legs Inc, in a media release.  “Injection molding allowed us to have a much more complex shape and carbon fiber composites really gave us advantages in what our design parameters could be.”

To create these new wheels, Ottumwa, Iowa-headquartered Frog Legs Inc partnered with Winona, Minn-based PlasticComp Inc, manufacturer of long fiber reinforced thermoplastic materials and technologies.

Within the second generation wheelchair caster wheels are two different types of materials from PlasticComp Inc, the release explains: Machined aluminum has been replaced by a long carbon fiber reinforced nylon 6/6 composite in the wheel forks and a long carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic polyurethane in the wheel hub.

These materials were custom developed to bond with the urethane used for the outer rolling surface of the wheel.

“Using thermoplastic polyurethane for the hub allows us to obtain a chemical bond,” Chelgren states. “With an aluminum hub there are dissimilar materials that never fully bond and can slip.”

It is suggested in the release that changing from aluminum to long carbon fiber reinforced composites reduced the weight of a pair of Frog Legs caster wheels by 33%—over a half pound (280 grams).

[Source(s): PlastiComp Inc, PR Newswire]