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Firefly

R&D

 

Since James Leckey founded the company in 1983, research and development has been central  to who we are and what we do. Leckey has become a globally recognised pioneer in the research, design and development of clinically focussed, posturally supportive products.Our ethos is based around a User Centred Approach. We believe that children develop and grow into adults. They are not scaled down versions of them. We also believe that people with special needs require an even more focussed approach to ensure that their individual needs are met. This is why Leckey has adopted a user centred and age specific approach to product development. Our R&D process focuses on identifying the clinical needs, providing practical solutions and respecting the emotional needs of these individuals and designing products to meet these.

 

Identifying needs

We always look at a subject from scratch and work alongside multi-disciplinary teams of bio-engineers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, individuals, and their families and carers, to gain insight into the varying users’ needs that the product needs to deliver. Understanding these users’ different perspectives is central to developing a holistic view and ensuring that the end product is not only clinically and posturally supportive but is practical, intuitive to use and is desirable and attractive. We recognise that the appearance and aesthetics of a product are extremely important regardless of age and as such we devote a lot of time in finding elegant solutions that enhance an individual’s life.

Clinical research

Our research studies with leading universities focus on understanding clinical needs. Leckey’s collaborative approach with various centres of excellence draws on the experience of a range of professionals. We currently (August 2010) have research studies with two UK universities and a further 4 in proposal stages.  We also use case studies with users worldwide to promote evidence based practice, demonstrate the effectiveness of our products and provide feedback to continually improve our products and services.  In recognition of our pioneering research partnership with the University of Ulster, we received the 2010 National KTP Award for the best UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership for our research study into Establishing Best Practice in Seating Assessment for Children with Physical Disabilities using Qualitative Methodologies (see our Know-How research section for further information).
 

Design and Prototyping

Following our research, optimum solutions are then developed through our staff working in teams which include designers, engineers, therapists and materials specialists. During the design phase we produce prototypes, not as a final solution, but as a base upon which to build a solution that works for the individual, therapist and the family. Our prototypes combine the clinical and the practical and give us working examples to trial with clinicians and end users in order to refine and improve the final product.

User Trials

Having worked closely with healthcare professionals for many years, we see the importance in involving them at every stage of the development process but especially during our user trialling stage. These trials are carried out with people of all ages and conditions. It is from their feedback and experiences that we are able to make valuable refinements to our products, keeping them as comfortable to use and practical for home, school, day care and therapy environments.  During the development of the Kit Seating System which was launched in 2010, we carried out over 70 user trials with 40 individual adults and teens to ensure that the product met as wide a range of clinical needs as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product Testing

Along side our user trialling stage we extensively test our products as part of the development process prior to launch, to ensure compliance with all relevant international safety and quality standards. At Leckey, we prefer to push the product far in excess of regulatory requirements. During a recent product development, although the new international standard for seating, ISO 16840 requires a cyclic load test to be carried out on the seat’s backrest 1000 times, Leckey actually put the backrest through 20000 cycles. In recognition of our commitment to quality, Leckey has recently been invited onto the Review Committee for future Seating Standards.

Where appropriate we also carry out crash tests to ISO 16840-4 and ISO 7176-19 and WC19 in the USA to ensure that our seating systems do not only provide solutions for indoor environments but that they can also be used as part of a mobility solution.

 

   

Manufacturing and Development

Once the design is finalised and user trialling and testing is completed, the product enters the manufacturing and development stage. It is handed over to Leckey's Manufacturing, Quality and Engineering teams who take the product through its final stages of development, ready to be launched.

Once the product becomes part of Leckey’s product range, our focus turns to delivering outstanding levels of reliability and durability in our manufacturing process. Each Leckey product is assembled and quality checked by hand prior to being carefully packaged in well designed shipping materials to ensure that it reaches you in perfect condition, ready to be set up for the individual who needs it. 

Product Assessment

Through a process of assessment and set-up and along with the therapist, our products are configured to meet the individual needs of each user. Our Product Advisors continually feed back to the R&D teams regarding the effectiveness of Leckey’s products in everyday use. This is then integrated into future iterations of the product ensuring that the product continues to meet ever changing user and environmental needs.

Service 

Because we realise that users rely on our products in daily life, we have built an after sales service that can be relied upon to deliver fast and effective support.
At Leckey we continually review the after sales service that we are asked to provide to inform future product developments.
 
 
   
At Leckey we believe that we are “Stronger Together” so we choose to work in partnership with individuals, clinicians and carers to design products with both a clinical and emotional focus and deliver excellence in value and service. If you would like to be involved in a case history or to know more about user trials please contact us at casehistories@leckey.com.