The requirements for treatment couches in schools are particularly high: As examples of an excellent working tool, they should enable prospective masseurs and physiotherapists to work comfortably and painlessly – and also be intuitive to use, withstand robust and rough handling and, of course, be versatile in their application. For this reason, couches with hydraulic drive are often used in physiotherapeutic training and further education.
In training, treatment couches are particularly heavily stressed”, knows Jutta Gissler, managing director of the Özpinar Therapiegeräte GmbH from Biberach in the Black Forest. “That’s why I recommend the hydraulic drive: to ensure that the most important work equipment is capable of bearing loads and can also tolerate operating errors.” The correct height of the patient is decisive for physiological and back-friendly work and the health of the therapist, which is why the drive for adjusting the couch is a highly stressed component. “’Hence, schools and training companies, in particular, are in great demand for treatment couches with hydraulic height adjustment because they are particularly robust”, explains the managing director. Alexander Schul, product division manager Assembly and Drive Technology at the supplier ROEMHELD, confirms: “The hydraulic pumps are very reliable, and there are hardly any complaints.”
Compared to electric actuators, hydraulic actuators are particularly durable and almost maintenance-free. Also, no power connections are required, so there are no disturbing cables that can quickly become a stumbling block in practices and schools without floor sockets. “Some therapists and treatment methods also prefer hydraulics because it does not hum but is absolutely silent and no energy flows can disturb the treatment”, summarises Gissler her experiences. About one third of the couches sold by Özpinar have a hydraulic drive, and the rest are electrically operated.
Besides self-employed physiotherapists and alternative practitioners, doctors, schools and clinics often buy treatment couches with hydraulic drives. Jutta Gissler, who took over Özpinar in 2006, has developed the company into a practice equipment supplier with 27 employees and a turnover of approx. € 3.3 million in 2012. The company has around 1,450 therapy articles in its online shop, which are delivered throughout Germany with its fleet of vehicles. Özpinar works together with partners in Switzerland and Austria.
The range of products and services extends to complete practice equipment, which is installed and assembled on site by Özpinar’s technicians. With a revenue share of sixty to seventy per cent, couches are the main focus of the constantly growing company, which will continue to expand in 2013 with the construction of new administration and production facilities near the current location.
According to Gissler, the secret of Özpinar's success is “durable and high quality at attractive prices as well as good and fast service. Our standard model 'Select' is ready for shipment the day after ordering.” On top of this, there is a wide selection that offers the customer numerous possibilities to configure a product to his own ideas: For example, there are up to thirty variants of the couches only, which are available with around seventy different leather covers.
Özpinar can only respond so strongly to the individual wishes of its customers because most of the production takes place in its own company. From product development, locksmith's shop, welding shop and sewing shop to upholstery and assembly, all important departments are located in-house, only the powder coating of the metal frames is done by a partner. Gissler also sees advantages for the quality of its products in the high vertical range of manufacture: “As a result, we always have all the production steps in view and can implement improvements quickly.”
This was also the case with the hydraulic pumps that Özpinar used when Jutta Gissler took over the company in 2006: “The stroke was too load-dependent and I also found that the oil was gurgling too loudly.” Her suggestions were well received by the supplier ROEMHELD from Laubach in Hesse: After several meetings, the supplier smoothed various surfaces on the piston and pump of the hydraulic actuator, changed individual contours and adjusted the flow control valve so that the stroke movement is now smoother and more even and the oil flows silently.
The hydraulic actuator “RH 1250” from ROEMHELD with a stroke of 200 mm or 250 mm used by Özpinar consists of an oil pressure piston encapsulated in a compact and maintenance-free aluminium housing of stainless steel. The actuator is resistant to corrosion, cleaning agents and disinfectants. Various equipment versions are available with stroke lengths between 140 mm and 250 mm, for actuation via foot pedal or hand lever, with descent actuation by pushing or turning and optionally for fork or flange mounting. The “RH 1250” “made in Germany” is manufactured at ROEMHELD's headquarters in Laubach, Hesse. Further production plants are located in Hilchenbach, near Siegen, and in Götzis, Austria.
Besides the drive technology, the product range of the worldwide renowned clamping technology specialist ROEMHELD comprises industrial manufacturing, assembly and clamping technology for the manufacturing industry. In 2012, a workforce of 450 generated sales of around 88 million Euro. The market leader is currently represented by distribution and service companies in over 50 countries on all continents.
In schools and academies, the “Robusta” couch model is often used with an extended head section, which, like the foot section, can be continuously adjusted via gas pressure springs. Thanks to the specially shaped foot bar, the lying surface can be operated not only from the foot side, as usual, but just as easily from the two longitudinal sides. "Stability" is of particular importance to those responsible, says Gissler: “Sometimes the students sit or stand on the ‘Robusta’ couches, I am glad that they do credit to their name.” As the care and maintenance requirements are low, the cleaning staff and the janitors who are often responsible for maintenance are also satisfied. And “Robusta” is also popular with the students, as the managing director experienced during customer visits: “After the therapy exercises, they simply leave the couches and use them as desks.”