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With the help of technology, SIHOO breaks through boundaries by adopting aerospace fiberglass materials and creating a space chassis!

 

The “floating feeling” with no gear locking, the precise control of the “senseless manipulation” of the size and weight, and the “variable angle support” adaptive waist wrap feeling are all new technological highlights of the SIHOO brand ergonomic chair, which is placed in offices and aims to improve human sitting health, reduce work consumption, and promote human inspiration… More and more corporate offices are gradually presenting this scene.

This is a microcosm of Chinese manufacturing gradually becoming smart manufacturing. With the support of intelligent technology, more and more Chinese companies are breaking through key technological bottlenecks and making breakthroughs, and the ergonomic chair industry is also constantly leaping towards the high end of the manufacturing industry.

Origin: the breakthrough of the high-end market barrier for ergonomic chairs.

30 years ago, if you entered a workspace of tens of thousands of square meters in an office furniture company, you would find fixed molds making board components, and workers assembling and splicing them in an orderly manner, bundled products bearing foreign trademarks, and ready to be shipped abroad. One by one, furniture products made in China entered overseas sales markets, while the core technological barrier leading to the high-end market was occupied by foreign companies, and China became an “intermediary” in the manufacturing process.

Nowadays, more and more products labeled with Chinese trademarks and printed with “Made in China” enter homes and overseas showrooms, showcasing the core technological achievements of Chinese office furniture. From core basic components, key basic materials, advanced basic processes to core technology, they are all completed by Chinese office furniture companies. Chinese office furniture companies that have undergone “metamorphosis” and are making strides towards the high-end overseas market.

The SIHOO ergonomic chair underwent a transformation in this environment. The vast warehouse in Foshan is neatly arranged with products bearing the SIHOO logo, and forklifts transport them to the loading dock. With independent operation, from R&D and design, to production and sales transportation, SIHOO has developed a self-researched, self-produced, and self-sold model.

What sets SIHOO apart from other manufacturing companies is that it originated from the internet, relying on direct feedback from consumers and in-depth research of user needs to rapidly grow using internet platforms and break through several core technologies, thus breaking down the technological barriers in the high-end market.

“For this type of chassis technology, only two companies in China can produce it,” says SIHOO’s chairman Luo Huiping while discussing the chassis of the Doro S300. “Many Chinese companies have strong production capacity, and some high-end products have strong production levels, but our shortcomings are in high-end technology and basic capabilities.”

For a chair, the chassis is the key component that determines the upper limit of the chair’s comfort level and is also the difficult part of chair development. However, small and medium-sized companies in China face real difficulties in chassis technology research and development, such as technical barriers, R&D funding, and talent shortages. As a result, the chassis technology used in chairs is generally a spring chassis that relies on public models as the critical component of the chair. However, this traditional chassis often has issues with “unchanging resilience adjustment” and “lack of support for the waist and the support surface position offset.”

“Few companies in China would study chassis technology. Ergonomic chairs with good chassis cost over ten thousand yuan, and these are foreign brands,” Luo Huiping notes while recalling the development history of this chassis. As such, chassis development has become the core focus of the entire chair development process.

Before the chassis development, the SIHOO R&D team faced three core requirements:

Firstly, the chair should have a large angle of recline. “Chinese office workers generally have a need for a lunch break, and the higher the angle of recline, the more comfortable it is. We also need to ensure that the force required to recline is balanced.”

Secondly, the team needed to address the key issues affecting chair comfort. “The seat and backrest need to move together, naturally supporting the user’s reclined posture, to ensure comfortable lounging without pushing against the thighs.”

Thirdly, the chassis needed to surpass European standards and withstand 300,000 fatigue tests, exceeding national standards by several times.

“Making this chair more comfortable is one of the goals of the chassis development.”

Currently, ergonomic chair adjustment functions can meet the needs of most users, but it is unfortunate that there is no high-end product in China that rivals foreign products. “We want to bring Chinese ergonomic chair technology to the high-end market abroad.”

Taking a different approach: materials selection

“This chair only needs you to lean back lightly, and the backrest will smoothly recline down. When you stand up, it’s effortless and can hover in the air without a lock, making it easy for people of all sizes and weights to recline and stand up, just like a rocking chair.”

Ergonomic chairs typically use spring chassis, which often experiences issues such as the seat and backrest not moving in tandem, “squishing,” and “rebounding.” In contrast, reclining chairs geared towards napping often lack the necessary support. SIHOO’s main strategy was to take a different approach.

The larger the angle of recline, the greater the technical requirements, requiring strict control of the balance of forces during recline to avoid tipping over or tilting to the side. Many chairs use a spring chassis recline lock to solve this problem. Therefore, to achieve a technical breakthrough, it was necessary to completely abandon the original materials and look for alternative materials.

After several years of searching, the SIHOO R&D team discovered aerospace fiberglass, a material used in rocket shells and helicopter rotor blades that has high strength in mechanical, safety, and durability properties. However, just finding the material alone took SIHOO nearly three years.

Recalling the search, the SIHOO Doro S300 project R&D director Ye Yunqing said, “The scrap fiberglass material filled an entire room. We tested hundreds of varieties of fiberglass material with our suppliers. Our factory even faced bankruptcy issues at one point due to the testing material needs.”

To test the durability of fiberglass material, they repeatedly tested its durability, strength, and mechanics. After testing the functionality of the fiberglass material, it was determined that this cross-disciplinary fiberglass patch had excellent engineering characteristics, not only passing the endurance test of up to 300,000 times but also maintaining good load balance performance, meeting the challenge of a large angle of recline. It was ultimately used to successfully develop a space chassis and applied to the SIHOO Doro-S300 ergonomic chair.

Now, the lock function has been canceled, and it requires no effort to recline or stand up. The “rocking chair” in the office is a real portrayal of the Doro S300. Ye said, “It is pleasing to manufacture chairs with Chinese modern innovation in R&D achievements, focusing on product development and meeting user needs, regardless of the actual cost of revenue.”

Following the heart and breaking through with technology

The so-called Chinese modern innovative R&D achievements are the spiritual core of the entire company and the most cohesive and valuable aspect.

“Large but not strong” has always been a problem that China’s manufacturing industry needs to solve urgently. The ergonomic chair industry faces the same challenge. Many small and medium-sized enterprises still lack a strong awareness of digital transformation. There are countless incidents of product copying and imitation. To achieve “three basic needs,” SIHOO’s R&D team faced a significant challenge not from external factors but from internal factors. In the chassis development, they faced two choices: continue continuous research and wait for unknown results or follow the present and release existing products according to routine.

Continuing to invest in chassis development means transforming the R&D technology of the manufacturing industry into public resources – R&D investment, human resources investment, and capital investment to empower the entire industry. Following the routine means a fast return on investment and product profitability. Luo Huiping said, “There are significant voices of controversy over innovation in chassis R&D, such as many companies that have exaggerated their angles of recline below SIHOO’s products. We can follow current standards to benchmark their products’ reclining angle, but as an honest company, we only want to be truthful and never engage in false advertising.”

As the core foundation of a chair, the chassis is currently an area in which China’s manufacturing industry needs to improve upon. Strengthening basic technological innovation can promote the development of China’s manufacturing industry towards Chinese creation. Achieving technical breakthroughs to improve and enhance links in the manufacturing chain is necessary to reshape China’s manufacturing advantages. Intelligent manufacturing of ergonomic chairs in China cannot be built on such an inefficient production model. The first step towards successful production is to follow the lean philosophy. Innovations in chassis research and development have already become the consensus of the entire Westhoff company, and Luo Huiping expressed that the company is fortunate to have complete autonomy in its development without having to consider too much, which allows the company to focus solely on product development.

It is this team-oriented, innovative spirit that has successfully supported the independent research and development and localization of chairs’ chassis in China. The Doro S300 has successfully applied and developed fiber-glass chassis, which has broken the grip of international high-end ergonomic chair brands in the market. This has set a new benchmark for Chinese ergonomic chair brands in their entry to the international high-end market.

This chassis can be said to raise the upper limit of comfort and provide users with a suspended sitting sensation. The chassis, named “Space Chassis” by Westhoff, not only precisely adjusts the degree of recline, but also allows users of different body weights to feel “relaxed when leaning back and easy to get up”. Its design of the recline and seat back linkages allows the front edge of the seat cushion to not rise during recline, The synchronized movement supported by the seat cushion and the seat back naturally support the user’s reclining position, ensuring comfortable reclining and solving various problems such as the thigh and the waist floating in the current market of chair chassis.

As “Made in China” shifts to “Created in China”, the quality of domestic products is improving and more excellent companies such as Westhoff are emerging. Westhoff Enterprises embodies the spirit of innovation and ultimate pursuit of product innovation. It has been certified as a “High-tech Enterprise in China”, “Specialized, Refined, and New-tech SME”, and the “Green Intelligent Manufacturing Engineering Technology Research Center for Ergonomic Chairs in Guangdong Province.”

Currently, Westhoff has a CNAS laboratory that is nationally certified and internationally recognized, and has a research and development team of over one hundred people. It has mastered advanced research and development technology for ergonomic seating and has obtained over 130 patents. It has achieved sales topping the charts on both JD.com and Tmall for two consecutive years and has also achieved excellent results in overseas e-commerce markets, leading in sales in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy.

In this era of intelligent technology, the design and management of intelligent thinking will bring revolutionary changes and upgrades to businesses. According to Luo Huiping, companies that are constantly innovating in the field of intelligent manufacturing will eventually break through in technology and achieve product and brand upgrades.

Sihoo’s Triumph on ‘Double 11’! Sets New Sales Record! The 2023 German National Design Award winners have been announced, with the sihoo Doro S300 winning the top prize.
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