Sunrise Medical used Item’s modular profile system to replace a manual assembly system with a semiautomated line.

Sunrise Medical (Longmont, CA) is one of the largest manufacturers of home care and extended care products. The company makes respiratory products, wheelchairs and mobility products to assist people with acute or persistent medical problems.

Sunrise Medical approached Item MB Kit Systems Ltd. (Akron, OH) with ideas and requirements for a next generation production line. This production line would be used to assemble standard, folding, sports and pediatric wheelchairs.

Previously, the wheelchairs were assembled on an inflexible, steel production line. The goal was to replace the old line with a semiautomated line. The appearance of the line was also important, because it is used as a marketing tool—a showcase for demonstrating the product to customers.

The new assembly line consists of eight interlinked but independently operated workstations. About 60 wheelchairs can be assembled per hour on the new line. The linear system stretches 14 meters and consists of 10 workpiece carriers that can be aligned in four possible directions. The carrier return system is located underneath the production line and is triggered at the push of a button.

The line is built from modular profiles, connecting elements and caps. The extruded aluminum profiles have longitudinal grooves for attaching connecting elements and accessories. The aluminum alloy resists weathering and many chemicals. The surface of the profiles has been specially treated to protect it against scratches and corrosion. All profiles are reusable, and the material can be recycled. The profiles have through-core bores for standard fastening elements and accessories, and the core bores and profile cavities can be used as compressed air ducts.

Because Sunrise Medical has manufacturing facilities in the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain, Item also offers an additional benefit. Item operates distribution centers in each of these countries, and can immediately replicate this design for any of the other international production facilities. Customers can get local support and quick delivery while saving on design time. All locations can share the engineered drawings and parts lists.

This assembly line is an unqualified success because it met Sunrise Medical’s needs for versatility, precision and appearance.

For more information on modular profile systems, call 888-729-4500 or visit