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Nadella supplies a linear system for fitting out a special vehicle for Paralympic athlete Mauro Tomasi

Corporate | 6 March 2024

Techno Agility, a company specialising in the production of vehicles for the disabled, has entrusted Nadella, a company within the Rollon by Timken ecosystem, with the fitting out of a special vehicle that allows Paralympic athlete Mauro Tomasi to get in and drive the car independently.

Acquired by The Timken Company in April 2023, Nadella, with its over 90 years of experience in heavy-duty linear motion engineering, is a valuable addition to Rollon’s linear motion division. It is thanks to this experience and the skills gained from tackling multiple engineering challenges that Nadella has become the preferred partner of Techno Agility, a company specialising in the production of vehicles for the disabled.

One of the latest projects Techno Agility has been working on, and which saw Nadella’s active involvement, is the fitting out of a special vehicle to enable Paralympic athlete Mauro Tomasi to get in and drive the car independently.

The project involved the use of lightweight but robust components to support a set-up that would allow Mauro, who is paralysed from the waist down and has no mobility in his left arm, to access the driver’s seat with his wheelchair directly from the lifting platform in the rear compartment of the vehicle, and thus drive the vehicle independently. This equipment, installed on a specially modified Mercedes Sprinter van, is equipped with a joystick control system.

“We call ourselves mobility consultants,” says Thierry Biz, owner of Techno Agility. “We want to help people with our knowledge in order to find the best solution for their needs. The devices we install must improve the quality of life and that is why we firmly believe that it is technology, as far as possible, that should adapt to man and not vice versa. We actively involve our customers at every stage of the project precisely to identify their needs and, consequently, the most comfortable driving system for them, trying to achieve the best compromise between human and technological needs.”

All the devices customised by Techno Agility allow paraplegics to safely gain autonomy, without, however, excluding those who do not need special fittings from driving. “The fundamental aspect that I like to remind my customers – says Biz, – is that these devices are created for people with disabilities, but the driving is also pleasant and easy for those who do not need them. This shows how it is possible to approach these challenges from a new and different perspective.”

Nadella’s contribution

Agostino Di Placido, Nadella’s Sales Engineer, followed the various stages of the project, from design to commissioning, to identify and deliver the most suitable linear system to meet Techno Agility’s requirements.

Nadella’s solution is based on a 2D multi-axis system consisting of two belt-driven linear units from the CLS series for the X-axis and a rack-and-pinion linear unit from the AMR series for the Y-axis, all complete with planetary gearboxes. In addition, 24-volt motors are used for the movement, the power supply for which is taken directly from an auxiliary battery, thus not affecting the vehicle’s main battery.

The system is applied to an internal structure, Rollbar, capable of safely supporting and moving inside the vehicle a person of up to
150 kg.

The profiles used were designed by Nadella to meet the structural requirements of the system, which must ensure not only its proper functioning, but also the continuity of movement over time. The choice of the individual components was determined by the quality of the materials and workmanship carried out in-house, with controls during all stages of production and assembly.

As with all equipment produced by Techno Agility, the system was also tested and certified by an external body.

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This customisation represents a new milestone for Mauro, as it allows him to enjoy greater independence. In fact, with a simple joystick, the athlete can access his car and settle into the driver’s seat completely independently. The system is also sufficiently fast and quiet and does not impact on the volume of the compartment.

“The essential factors in choosing the linear solution were quality and reliability. Nadella also guaranteed continuous support right from the design phase,” says Agostino Di Placido. “We are really happy to be able to design systems that can simplify the lives of all people, indiscriminately.

Who is Mauro Tomasi

On 15 August 2000, following a terrible motorbike accident, Mauro Tomasi was paralysed from the waist down, losing the use of his left arm. Since 2012, when he participated in his first marathon – the International Lake Marathon – Mauro has taken part in more than 100 competitive sporting events, completing more than 70 marathons, including the New York City Marathon in 2014. In 2023, he ran 10,335 km. All sporting events in which he takes part are defined by Mauro as ‘Endeavours’ (Imprese). Mauro does not use racing wheelchairs or hand bikes but makes use of his everyday wheelchair, which he pushes with one arm. “Limits are only in our heads and many times they are created by others,” he says.

Proficiency in Heavy-Duty Engineering: Nadella’s Expertise

Nadella’s expertise in heavy-duty linear motion engineering is a valuable addition to the Rollon linear motion division. As a global leader in designing and producing, needle bearings, linear guideways and track rollers for demanding environments with heavy load requirements, Nadella has been a front-runner since its establishment in 1930. With over 90 years of experience across various industries, including marble and sheet metal, foundry machinery, manipulators, and automatic warehouses, Nadella is well-versed in addressing diverse engineering challenges. Their commitment to customization, engineering services, and high-value technical support through their in-house Technology Center will undoubtedly play a pivotal role within the Rollon by Timken ecosystem.


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