Wireless Power Journeys into the Mobile Workspace and Beyond : Leggett & Platt Powers Automotive, Commercial and Industrial Applications

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For the engineers at Leggett & Platt, the conceivable limits of modern technology are good for one thing: they provide a well-defined boundary to break. The Fortune 500 diversified manufacturer has partnered with Fulton Innovation, the inventors of eCoupled intelligent wireless power, to redefine how business gets done (http://www.leggetteCoupled.com).

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Our engineers have harnessed the power of eCoupled technology and applied it to products that make routine business functions more efficient and common household activities more convenient.

"We can't improve on today's business model if we can't see beyond its boundaries," said Vincent Lyons, vice president of engineering and technology for Leggett. "Our engineers have harnessed the power of eCoupled technology and applied it to products that make routine business functions more efficient and common household activities more convenient."

Leggett is leading the commercialization of eCoupled technology, and it is the first eCoupled partner company to take its products to market. As the low- and medium- power supplier for the primary (or charging) side of the eCoupled connection, Leggett's eDriveTM provides the charging power for many eCoupled-enabled products from cell phones to residential and industrial furnishings. eCoupled technology uses inductive coupling to transfer energy from a charging surface to any eCoupled-compatible device. When the eCoupled area of a product comes into contact with an eCoupled charging zone, the technology intelligently recognizes the product, interprets its power needs and immediately begins to transfer energy.

The applications being shown at the Consumer Electronics Show for the commercial automotive market allow workers to charge devices such as cell phones, laptop computers and power tools within their work vehicles without the hassle of charging adaptors or wires. Prototypes for home and industrial furnishings will also be on display.

The Mobile Workspace

Americans spend enormous amounts of time using their vehicles as worksites or workstations – from repairmen to emergency technicians to law enforcement officers. Yet actual driving time is often considered unproductive, save for the few cell phone calls that can lessen the inbox.

Evolving beyond "business as usual", Leggett addressed the opportunity to improve efficiency by turning ordinary surfaces into workhorses; capable of charging electronic devices, saving time lost to home and on-site charging, and eliminating the need for portable chargers.

Interior Shelving

Installed in the back of commercial work vans, Leggett & Platt's van shelving is equipped with eCoupled technology and does double duty as a storage space and a convenient charging apparatus. Designed to work with Bosch power tools, the shelf contains Leggett & Platt eDrives that charge devices without the hassle of cords, wires or even an on/off switch. Power tools are neatly organized in an eCoupled toolbox, which locks onto the van's shelving, keeping the tools tidy, secure and fully powered.

When an eCoupled-compatible power tool comes in contact with the eCoupled charging surface, the surface recognizes the product, interprets its power needs and immediately begins to transfer energy. Tools charge at a rate comparable to traditional, plugged charging and the need to carry traditional battery chargers is eliminated.

Contractors, technicians and repairmen can gain efficiency by charging tools in their mobile workspaces during the drive between appointments or on their commute home.

The shelving is made of high-density polyethylene and can be installed in the back of commercial work vehicles. Dimensions are 4 inches high, 36 inches wide and 19 inches deep.

Computer Cradle

The Leggett & Platt Computer Cradle secures and holds computer laptops used in emergency, law enforcement and fleet vehicles. Currently, these laptops must have an adaptor plugged into the d/c outlet in the automobile to maintain power.

Using eCoupled's wireless technology, Leggett engineers designed the Computer Cradle to be the charging apparatus. Installed to the right of the driver, the cradle holds and powers laptop computers, keeping the computer charged even when the vehicle's engine is off.

Safe, efficient and convenient, the Computer Cradle is made of steel and measures 1.5 inches high by 15 inches wide by 8 inches deep.

Center Console Pocket

Forget toting your cell phone charger from site to site; Leggett & Platt's convenient Center Console Pocket wirelessly charges handheld devices so users don't have to.

In the past merely a holding tank, the center vehicle console becomes a charging center when enabled with Leggett's eDrives. Installed in the cab of any vehicle, the Center Console Pocket wirelessly charges flashlights and cell phones, even when the engine is turned off.

Leggett has partnered with Energizer Holdings to make the console pocket compatible with the Energizer® Hard Case® Professional® eCoupled Swivel Light. The console and flashlight will be sold as a package.

Made of steel with flame retardant ABS pocket and cup holder, the Center Console Pocket measures 7 inches high by 9 inches wide by 5 inches deep.

Home, Industrial and Beyond

Leggett's partnership with Fulton Innovation allows it to expand its use of eCoupled technology beyond the mobile workspace. As the low- and medium-power primary (or charging) side supplier, Leggett will explore applications for its eDrive across many product categories including retail fixtures, residential furniture and commercial work surfaces. Several prototype applications can be seen at CES.

Ergonomic Work Bench

Technology transforms the ordinary work bench from a surface to work on into a working surface. Whether on the job or in the home workshop, an industrial work bench with eCoupled zones means power is close at hand. It keeps low- and medium-power products conveniently charged and within reach. eCoupled zones on the perimeter of the work surface provide a convenient power supply to charge power tools, laptop computers, cell phones and flashlights.

Home Theater Seating

Although its main job is to make you comfy during the big game or the latest DVD release, you can put those recliners to work with Leggett's eCoupled console. A center console contains eCoupled charging zones that can supply wireless energy to a number of low-power devices. The console is currently designed to work with cell phones, remote controls and flashlights.

Night Stand/End Table

Whether beside the sofa or by the bed, the end table inevitably becomes a dumping ground for wallets, keys and phones. With an eCoupled end table, cell phones and computers can power up by just laying around. eCoupled charging zones are located on the top surface of the end table and inside the drawer. Place a low- or medium-power item on a charging zone and an indicator light confirms that the surface and item are in sync and actively charging.

For more information on eCoupled products developed by Leggett & Platt, please visit http://www.leggetteCoupled.com (active January 1).

About Leggett & Platt Inc.

Leggett & Platt (NYSE: LEG) is a FORTUNE 500 diversified manufacturer that conceives, designs and produces a broad variety of engineered components and products that can be found in most homes, offices, and automobiles. The company serves a broad suite of customers that comprise a "Who's Who" of U.S. manufacturers and retailers. The 125-year-old firm's continuing operations are composed of 21 business units, 24,000 employee-partners, and more than 250 facilities located in 20 countries.

Leggett & Platt is North America's leading independent manufacturer of: a) components for residential furniture and bedding; b) components for office furniture; c) drawn steel wire; d) automotive seat support and lumbar systems; e) carpet underlay; f) adjustable beds; and g) bedding industry machinery for wire forming, sewing and quilting.

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Mary Leigh Wallace
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