How to transition your bump helmets to higher-performing composite materials
Durable, reliable bump helmets are crucial for ensuring personnel safety. Your bump helmets should be lightweight, offering wearers the maximum comfort and flexibility, while ensuring comprehensive protective coverage.
Traditionally, bump helmets have been made of plastic or metallics. While bump helmets made of composite materials offer significant advantages, composite bump helmets have been cost-prohibitive for many industries. However, advances in material technology and manufacturing automation have brought the cost of bump helmets made from composite materials down significantly. Composite material bump helmets are now cost competitive with bump helmets made from traditional materials.
But why are composite materials the best choice for bump helmets? In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages of thermoplastic composites for protective gear, and explain how to transition your bump helmets to composite materials
Advantages of thermoplastic composite bump helmets
At Re:Build Oribi Composites, we’ve revolutionized the thermoplastic composite manufacturing process to be able to mass-produce thermoplastics at a cost competitive with traditional materials–which means thermoplastics are poised to disrupt bump helmets and many other protective equipment industries.
In mission-critical environments, it is vital that every part performs to its highest potential to ensure personal safety, equipment reliability, and operational success. Thermoplastic composites offer significant end-user benefits and are increasingly being adopted by the military and first responders to provide substantial weight savings, reduced part cost, and higher performance in demanding environments.
Benefits of thermoplastic composites for bump helmets include:
Toughness: Thermoplastic composites are inherently tough and durable to protect what matters in the most demanding applications.
Lightweight: Reducing part weight, while maintaining performance, reduces user fatigue, increases range of operation, mobility, and capacity for carrying essential equipment.
Thermal stability: Designed to perform in extreme environments, thermoplastic composites are thermally stable, ensuring performance across a wide range of temperatures.
Non-corrosive: Thermoplastic composites deliver outstanding solvent resistance, including fuel and hydraulic fluids, reducing infield maintenance, and increasing part life and reliability.
How to transition your bump helmets from traditional materials to thermoplastic composites
Considering transitioning from traditional materials to thermoplastics? There are four main steps:
Select the right manufacturing partner
Before you begin your transition to composite materials, you’ll need to identify the right thermoplastic composite parts manufacturing partner. There are several key elements to consider when making this decision:
- Do they have experience with high volume composite part manufacturing? Do they have the robust processes and capacity to fulfill the size of your order in a timely manner
- How automated are their manufacturing processes? If they don’t use automation effectively, their time and labor costs are likely higher than they need to be.
- Do they use thermoset or thermoplastic composite materials? There are advantages and disadvantages to each–check out our page to learn more.
- Do they have experience specifically with bump helmets and protective gear? More so than other industries, protective gear requires extensive testing and comfort fits, so make sure your manufacturing partner has industry-specific expertise.
- Do they offer customization options? You want a manufacturing partner with an in-house engineering team that will work with you and tailor the product to your exact specifications.
Select the right materials
Selecting the right materials is crucial for optimal performance. Carbon fiber composites are widely recognized for their high strength-to-weight ratio, making them an excellent choice for bump helmets. In some cases, you may want to consider hybrid materials that combine carbon fiber with other fibers like Kevlar or glass. Your manufacturing partner can help you determine the best materials for your specific project and specs.
Optimize your design
Composite materials not only deliver higher performance, but they also allow designers and manufacturers to create part designs that were not possible with traditional materials. If you’re considering transitioning, meet with a composite part manufacturing expert to determine how to optimize your part design for thermoplastics.
Prototype and test
Any application where personal safety is at stake requires extensive and robust product testing. Start by creating a prototype with your selected material and composite-optimized design. Then test that prototype extensively, for impact resistance, abrasion resistance, comfort, and more. Use the results of those tests to refine and further optimize the design and manufacturing of your helmets.
Ready to get started?
The team at Re:Build Oribi Composites has extensive experience with thermoplastic composite bump helmet manufacturing, and we’d love to work with you to revolutionize your processes and performance. Contact us today to get started!