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HepcoMotion benefits rub off on Meia massage table

HepcoMotion benefits rub off on Meia massage table
Meia of London reports it has used linear actuator and motion products supplied by HepcoMotion on a special project that saw the company create a sub-floor 'hidden' elevating massage table. This unique system, required for a private residence in London, demanded high quality motion products focussed on precision and reliability.

The project began when a local architect obtained consent for a new entrance sequence including gym and stairs at a private (listed) residence in London. As a result, Meia was approached to assist with a specific moving element. The client wanted a fully cantilevered 'floating' massage table that retracts completely beneath a secret 2.1 by 0.9 metre panel in the gym floor.

"We liaised with the architect, discussing options, doing the groundwork and presenting concepts," says Kane Lochead, design engineer at Meia who led the project from start to finish. "We settled on the type of actuation and motion we required and spoke with HepcoMotion, a company we knew, about supplying the necessary system parts."

HepcoMotion worked with Meia to find a working solution that best matched the concept. By providing technical advice it was possible to arrive at an optimised solution that was within budget: HepcoMotion helped Meia settle on Zimm screw jacks and Winkel bearing systems from the company's extensive range.

Based on the Meia concept, motion had to take place in a number of stages. Firstly, the massage table and infill floor is lowered while the primary floor slides out of the way. Then, the infill floor raises up with the massage table and locks into place flush to the wooden gym floor. Finally, the heated massage table rises to a height of 900 mm. From here the massage table height can be adjusted by the operator from the switch plate on the side of the table to a maximum of 1200 mm down to 200 mm with the infill floor locked in place. 

The entire cycle of the moving elements of the 350 kg system takes barely 40 seconds (repositioning from closed to open, or vice versa). The system relies on two ZIMM screw jack building block systems as linear actuators. One screw jack lifts the floor up and down, while the other is deployed for raising and lowering the actual massage table. 

The ZIMM range of screw jacks is based around a cubic body and building block principle, giving different design options for each of the 12 sizes offered. Maximum lifting capabilities range from 250 N to 1000 kN. Screw Jacks can be configured to lift, lower, push or pull and have a wide variety of applications, used either singly or in multiples. The ZIMM system incorporates screw jacks, gearboxes, connection shafts and motors, delivered in pre-assembled units ready for immediate mounting. Accessories include rod ends, bellows, safety nuts, limit switches and protection against escape or rotation.

Two main types are available, a standing screw version where the lifting screw runs through the screw jack body, and a rotating screw version where a flange nut runs up and down on the rotating screw. Trapezoidal or ballscrew models can be supplied depending on the accuracy required, while a unique self-aligning nut provides for up to ±3° of misalignment

This main system on the massage table also uses another HepcoMotion supplied product - Winkel high load bearings offer linear guiding motion. Winkel systems are ideal for heavy duty applications that have high radial and/or axial loads. Speed and silent bearings options are available, while linear speeds up to 3 m/s with repeatability up to 0.5 mm is offered.

"We use a fabrication shop in Surrey and all the HepcoMotion products fitted together nicely, first time," says Mr Lochead. "The table is now fully installed and the end user is delighted with the outcome of this unique project."

In the 25 years since it was formed, the Meia team has been designing, making and installing bespoke moving elements in architecture and is now considered to be a world leader in the creation of automated, moving architectural elements. The company was started by Monty Ravenscroft, whose extraordinary Peckham House featured on the fifth series of the television programme, Grand Designs.

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