New customer experience centre and workshop for sports wheelchairs opens in Bad Oeynhausen
Special wheelchairs for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo
On 26 August 2021, Ottobock will be opening a new customer experience centre in Bad Oeynhausen. The global leader in innovative orthopaedic technology designed the expansive 2400 m² site to house a showroom with personal consulting, workshop and training rooms. This mix will give athletes who come for treatment the opportunity for an interactive experience. They can test drive their customised wheelchair right there, with professionals at hand to make any necessary adjustments.
Ottobock's CEO Philipp Schulte-Noelle handed the keys for the new centre to site manager Torsten Lisy during a symbolic handover ceremony in Berlin. "With our brand, we want to offer our users an experience that helps them regain their independence. Sports play a very important role in physical and mental health," explains Schulte-Noelle. "The upcoming Paralympic Games in Tokyo show just how much people can achieve if they train hard and believe in themselves. We're proud to offer the best possible support to athletes from around the world."
Due to the current hygiene regulations, there will not be a big opening ceremony. Instead, the new customer experience centre will open up to athletes gradually. The first exclusive sneak peeks were given in early August to two para athletes: Thomas Wandschneider, who'll be playing para badminton in Tokyo, and Anna-Lena Hennig from Germany's U25 team for wheelchair basketball. "If athletes enjoy coming to us, that's the biggest stamp of approval for our work here," says Lisy. "The services we offer are tailored to their needs. It's not just about browsing products, it's about a hands-on mobility experience."
Twice the capacity for customised wheelchairs
Ottobock has been supporting disability sport for more than 30 years. To help disabled athletes more effectively, the company decided in 2014 to open a small wheelchair workshop in the North Rhine-Westphalian town of Bad Oeynhausen. The market responded enthusiastically, and demand grew steadily as a result. Before long, the facility was simply too small. After just six years, it was clear we needed to expand the facility.
Thus, at the end of 2020, the big move was made to the new site, which offers considerably more space and capacities where more than twice as many customised wheelchairs can be produced. "Thanks to the move, we now have a much larger wheelchair workshop, so in future we'll be able to produce more customised solutions for users and athletes," reports site manager Lisy.
Experts are available on site to support users throughout the entire fitting process for everyday and sports wheelchairs – from consultation and fitting to delivery of the customised wheelchair.
Product manager Christoph Friebel explains the advantages of this approach. "At the Bad Oeynhausen site, we use state-of-the-art metalworking to deliver "Made in Germany" quality from start to finish. Our vertical integration in production allows us to respond swiftly to customer requests and market requirements." The real proof of the pudding, of course, is seen at competitive sporting events. Not only must the wheelchairs be compatible with the rules and regulations of the respective sport, but they must also help the athletes to improve their performance.
Three decades as technical service partner for the Paralympic Games
Ottobock has been supporting para athletes since 1988. The technical support offered by the medtech company based in Duderstadt helps athletes achieve their full potential. Many athletes at the Paralympic Games use technical devices that are exposed to extreme stress and strain during their competitions. In particular, wheelchairs have to withstand a great deal of rough handling in intense contact sports. To address this challenge, Ottobock provides athletes with sports wheelchairs that meet these demands and reliably withstand such treatment. One model that athletes will be using this year is the Invader Basketball Ultralight.
Precision and lightness on the court
The Invader Basketball – the ultralight version (ULW) is a sports wheelchair with an optimised weight/stability ratio. It is ideal for users who want minimum weight combined with maximum stability and rigidity. The ULW variant is customised for users to ensure optimum power flow. Thanks to the high-quality materials used (e.g. aircraft-grade aluminium) and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, the rigid, fully welded frame design of the Invader offers maximum stability and durability. At the same time, the wheelchair reacts instantly and with great precision to the athlete's signals.
"For me, the greatest advantage of the Invader is that I don't need to exert so much energy in order to accelerate. So I have more for the game," says Anna-Lena Hennig.