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Innovation & Technologie Anfrage

Partners are sought to develop and produce a specially-formed orthopaedic balance cushion for use in a saddle on horseback

Country of Origin: Austria
Reference Number: TRAT20200626001
Publication Date: 29 June 2020

Summary

An Austrian SME has developed a new product aimed at horse riders. It comprises a combination of an innovative training saddle and belt used with an air-filled balance cushion. The system offers benefits for both the horse and the rider. Partners are sought to produce the cushion using extremely soft PVC according to specific size and shape requirements. Partners are sought, preferably from Europe, for license agreement, technical cooperation agreement or manufacturing agreement.

Description

The Austrian SME identified the need for a solution to address certain demands in the area of horse riding and this led to the idea and design of an innovative balance cushion to be used on horseback.

The product is an air-filled balance cushion in a range of different shapes and sizes which is integrated into the specially-designed horse riding and training saddle and can be used for:

1. hippotherapy - to improve mobility and to strengthen small muscles;
2. horse riding - to promote good-seated posture and to improve balance;
3. horse training - to smooth and relax the muscles of the horse's back.

Balance cushions are standard products (with variations depending on size/material/thickness) which can be purchased in orthopaedic shops. However, a balance cushion of a specific size and shape made of soft PVC is required for use with the training saddle and belt. The most important elements of this training saddle have already been developed and several balance cushions have already been tested. These cushions have all the requisite functionality, which is needed in order to achieve the above-mentioned purposes.

Experience with different-sized horses has shown that the cushion shape is significant and, in the case of high-withered horses, a heart-shaped cushion would be ideal. For this reason, the Austrian SME is looking for a production partner to produce a prototype of the heart-shaped balance cushion precisely according to the technical specifications (shape/size/material). Upon successful completion of the prototype, the cushion can then be ordered in larger quantities. The PVC material used should be very soft, in order to adjust to the horse's back and to protect the rider from pressure on their body. The cushion should come with soft nubs on one side and a smooth surface on the other side. The overall height is rather flat; approximately 2.5 cm (see technical specifications). A company, which can produce in rotational moulding technology is sought. The corresponding pump is also required and should be produced according to the illustrations provided. The SME wants to work together with potential partners on the development and production of this heart-shaped cushion under manufacturing and/or technical cooperation agreements. A licence agreement is also possible should the partner be interested in purchasing a licence from the Austrian SME.

The training saddle is already on the market since 2015 where the main markets are Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg in addition to Dubai. Further European expansion is planned to start in 2021 followed by Asian and American market launches in 2022/2023. Production of the cushion needs to be scaled up to significantly larger quantities for these market entry plans.

The Austrian SME's preference is to work with European production partners.
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Expertise sought

The balance cushion should include the following technical features:
1. Diameter 39 cm
2. Height max. 2.5 cm incl. nubs
3. Load-bearing capacity up to 120 kg
4. Soft PVC (PVC-P with a K-value of 70) with soft nubs on one side and a smooth surface on the other side
5. Phthalate-free and cadmium-free in accordance with specifications of the Plastics Commission of the German Federal Health Office
6. Seamless border produced in rotational moulding technology
7. The inflate valve should be fitted on the rim.
8. The associated pump (see illustration) is also requested.
9. There is no colour preference; the colour is purely to distinguish the different cushion sizes
10. Quantity: 100 to 300 units.

Requested partner

The ideal partner needs to be in a position to produce a prototype of the special heart-shaped cushion according to the technical specifications provided.  This shape needs to be tested on a horse's back in order to be able to approve the shape or to request a new prototype with an adapted shape. Technical cooperation agreement and manufacturing agreement are envisaged in this case. The Austrian SME is also interested in partners wishing to purchase a licence for the technology.

Upon successful completion of the prototype, the partner should be able to produce balance cushions in small and larger quantities. Small quantities (starting with 100 pieces) are requested for the years 2020 and 2021. In line with planned market expansion in the coming years and based on past (last five years') and current training saddle sales, the quantity will rise.

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