The Ag-Chair Lift is a mobility device specifically designed for those with a disability, within the agricultural and forestry industries.
One in five people in Australia (over 4 million people) have a disability of some kind. Those with a disability go to work, have families, purchase goods and contribute to society. The significant difference is that people with a disability face substantial barries going about their day-to-day activities that most of us take for granted (Australian Network on Disability 2021).
The current design of agricultural equipment does not consider the needs of those with a disability. The Ag-Chair Lift does not discriminate, allowing a diverse range of people the freedom to operate machinery.
Currently there is not a large market for mobility aids in the agricultural and forestry industries of Australia. There are very few providers that specialise in standard off-the-shelf equipment for people with a disability in the agricultural sector. This led to the design of the Ag-Chair Lift!
The design of this equipment, is aimed to be applied to all shapes and sizes of agricultural and forestry equipment including, but not limited to; tractors, harvesters, trucks, diggers and other equipment. The basic design utilises a ball screw lift column and linear sliders driven by a 12- or 24-volt DC motor, which is powered by the vehicle it is attached to. The column is designed to be customisable in height to enable differing types of movement with lift height varying from 1,500mm up to 2,300mm. The column can be equipped with a platform or rotating chair, which can be configured based on the reach and access requirements. Movements of the hoisting system can be completed manually by remote control, or can be programmed into the control unit, for repeatability and safety.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Australia is a government organisation that provides funding for products and services to help a person in their daily life.
This organisation has approved funding for a client to purchase the Ag-Chair Lift, to enable access to their tractors and harvester. This highlights that there is a market for this equipment, which presently has not been captured by potential service providers.
Given NDIS grants can be applied and approved for such equipment, by any person with a disability, it is only a matter of time before more clients may be interested in procuring the Ag-Chair Lift. Successful implementation and further advertising via agricultural road shows will only further increase market exposure and in turn demand for this type of equipment.
The design and testing of the first prototypes are currently underway, which are being undertaken in accordance with AS/NZS-ISO 10535:2011 (Hoists for the transfer of disabled persons-Requirements and test methods).
Local manufacturing of the column and seat rotating mechanism is possible and considered a cost-effective measure for the current demand for this equipment and continued prototyping.
Let’s make the Ag-Chair Lift, an essential product that will contribute to personal wellbeing, physical and mental health and a sense of identity.