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News 27 July 2016

Making a kitchen flexible in more than just height

A Dutch industrial designer had the idea of making kitchen cupboards and tabletops adjustable and accessible to everyone. He found a partner in LINAK, as well as someone who saw the potential in his idea.

Making a kitchen flexible in more than just height

The Dutch industrial designer Tino G. du Long wants to get things moving - in the literal sense of the word. Specifically, he wants to make the kitchen move.

To be able to lower kitchen cupboards to a user’s reach as well as create work surfaces capable of rising as and when needed. This is not a gimmick – it can often be a necessity, for example, for people with disabilities.

For some users this functionality allows them to use the kitchen where they could not before. Many able-bodied kitchen users also find adjustability in the kitchen useful. The reason is that you find the optimal work posture by finding the correct height of the kitchen work surface.

Tino G. du Long intends to transform the Dutch kitchen market with a height adjustable kitchen that will move at the touch of a button. LINAK technology makes this possible.

Tino initially planned to apply his solution exclusively to kitchens designed to provide disabled access. Eventually he concluded that the technology is deployable in any kitchen.

Envisioning a future with more flexibility in kitchens
Du Long also found someone willing to listen to his ideas - Marcel Blaauwbroek of Tulp Kitchens. The Dutch kitchen manufacturer Tulp Kitchens produces more than 4,000 kitchens every year.

Tulp intends to cooperate with a partner company to market its height adjustable kitchens for able-bodied consumers.

“With the right marketing approach and a value-for-money price, I can foresee that somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of all kitchens will be equipped with height adjustment features within ten years,” explains Marcel, and continues: “I am convinced that visitors to our showrooms will be impressed by the technology.”

Tulp has already created the company’s first prototypes.

LINAK is making it move

Tino G. du Long’s design is as simple as it is thoroughly thought-out. A frame structure rises and lowers thanks to electric actuators by LINAK. The entire structure is built for flexibility, and can be adjusted in height and width to individual needs. Corner pieces are just as adjustable as classic kitchen units and kitchen islands.

“LINAK is the ideal partner for me. My intensive market research has convinced me of that,” tells du Long. He was looking for an actuator system that was not only powerful enough to do the job, but was also reliable enough and, most importantly, whose components operate perfectly in parallel.

“LINAK is not just a producer of electric lifting columns and linear actuators, but also provides the electronics needed by such devices. Thus, control units, operating elements and lifting devices all come from the same source. Such a complete system provides excellent reliability,” says Gert-Jan van Veen, Account Manager for LINAK Benelux. He feels that this closed system allows LINAK to satisfy requirements such as absolute parallel operation particularly well.

Tino du Long integrates LINAK LA31 linear actuators into his design. This quiet yet powerful actuator design was originally developed to raise and lower industrial workstations and kitchen work surfaces. It can exert 3500 N of power.

The LA31 has a long service life due to its strong, wear and corrosion resistant inner piston in stainless steel. Its noise emissions are as low as 48 dB(A). The device is also fitted with a safety contact switch to prevent any objects or body parts becoming trapped in the mechanism.

A dampened and rubber-encased copper cable is fitted around the lower extreme of the table strip. Any pressure being exerted on this strip will cause an electrical circuit to close. The motors then receive a signal to go into reverse for a short distance. This guarantees a high level of safety.

In the pipeline

Tulp Kitchens are set to exhibit their height adjustable kitchens in showrooms all over the Netherlands. Marcel Blaauwbbroek and Tino G. du Long are both confident that the system is set to generate a lot of movement in the Dutch kitchen market.

The Dutch government has seen the potential and social relevance of Tino’s ideas and new big kitchen manufacturers want to join him in his development journey. 

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