Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A HELMET CRADLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/215083
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cradle (8) for use in a safety helmet of single-part flexible plastics construction. Preferred features include the provision of integral headband elements (16), raised soft pads (11, 12) on the surface of the cradle, and ventilation holes (14) providing air flow and additional elasticity in the cradle arms (10).

Inventors:
HUMPHREYS, Amanda Jayne (Howlett WayFison Way Industrial Estate, Thetford Norfolk IP24 1HZ, IP24 1HZ, GB)
Application Number:
EP2017/083788
Publication Date:
November 29, 2018
Filing Date:
December 20, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
CENTURION SAFETY PRODUCTS LIMITED (Howlett Way, Fison Way Industrial Estate, Thetford Norfolk IP24 1HZ, IP24 1HZ, GB)
International Classes:
A42B3/14
Foreign References:
US3909846A1975-10-07
US3696441A1972-10-10
US20140109297A12014-04-24
US20020000004A12002-01-03
US4675919A1987-06-30
US20120281429A12012-11-08
US20060010579A12006-01-19
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILSON, Peter David George (Novagraaf UK, CENTRUMNorwich Research Park,Colney Lane, Norwich Norfolk NR4 7UG, NR4 7UG, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A cradle for use with headgear comprising:

a central crown region;

a plurality of support arms extending generally radially from said crown area;

an attachment coupling at the distal end of each arm, to allow connection to cooperating couplings around the periphery of the headgear; and

wherein said cradle is of single part flexible plastics construction.

2. A cradle according to Claim 1 further comprising a plurality of integrally-formed headband elements, each headband element connected to an arm of the cradle.

3. A cradle according to Claim 2 wherein each end of said headband elements is provided with connectors to allow formation of a headband.

4. A cradle according to Claim 3 wherein connectors at the occipital region of said headband form an adjustment mechanism.

5. A cradle according to Claim 3 further comprising a separate adjustment mechanism, linking headband elements in the occipital regions of said headband.

6. A cradle according to any preceding claim wherein a resilient pad is disposed on at least a portion of the surface of the crown region.

7. A cradle according to Claim 6 wherein a plurality of resilient pads is disposed on at least a portion of the surface of the crown region.

8. A cradle according to either Claim 6 or Claim 7 wherein at least one resilient pad extends down at least a portion of a support arm.

9. A cradle according to Claim 8 wherein a resilient pad extends down at least a portion of each support arm.

10. A cradle according to any preceding claim, further comprising a resilient pad located on a support arm.

11. A cradle according to Claim 10 wherein each support arm is provided with a resilient pad.

12. A cradle according to any of claims 6 to 11 wherein at least one pad is profiled in the direction perpendicular to the surface of the cradle.

13. A cradle according to any of Claims 6 to 12 wherein said pads are non-absorbent.

14. A cradle according to any of Claims 6 to 13 wherein said pads are integral to said cradle.

15. A cradle according any of Claims 6 to Claim 14 wherein said pads are formed of a softer material than said cradle.

16. A cradle according to either Claim 14 or Claim 15 wherein said cradle is formed by multi- material injection moulding.

17. A cradle according to any preceding claim wherein said pad(s) is, or are, impregnated or surface-coated with an antimicrobial agent.

18. A cradle according to any preceding claim wherein at least one of said arms is provided with one or more ventilation holes.

19. A cradle according to Claim 18 wherein at least one of said holes is elliptical in shape.

20. A cradle according to Claim 19 wherein the major axis of said hole is neither parallel nor perpendicular to the elongate axis of said arm.

Description:
A HELMET CRADLE

Field of the Invention

The invention relates to support cradles for safety helmets and hats, which serve to hold a rigid safety helmet in a spaced-apart relationship to a user' s head and assist in absorbing shocks to the helmet.

Background and Prior Art

Safety helmets, such as those used in the construction industry where they are often known as "hard hats" or "bump caps" and other such safety helmets used in some sports, typically comprise a relatively thin, impact -resistant shell that is held away from a user' s head by a cradle, to prevent impact forces being transferred directly from the shell to the surface of a user's skull in the event of an accident.

Figure 1 illustrates, in plan view, a typical cradle, generally indicated by 1, used in such applications. The cradle 1 comprises a number of support straps 2 made of a flexible woven material, usually polymeric in nature, that are stitched together with a pattern of stitching 3 such that the straps form a number of arms emanating from a central crown area 4. At the end of each of these arms is affixed an attachment coupling 5, again joined to the arms by means of stitching 3. These are typically formed of slightly flexible, strong polymeric material such as nylon.

It will be appreciated that the manufacture of such an item is either very labour-intensive (with six attachment couplings 5 to affix), or requires the use of complex automated machinery. Furthermore, both the strength and the resilience of the arms, formed of the woven material, are crucial to the performance of the cradle-helmet assembly. The arms need to be strong enough to distribute impact forces across their area of contact with a user's head, while being resilient enough to allow a degree of stretch to dissipate the impact forces whilst not allowing the hard shell of the helmet to contact a user' s skull. Not only is it difficult to ensure consistency in the fabric webbing used to construct the arms, but it is also challenging to ensure that the stitching itself is of a consistent quality.

It is among the objects of the present invention to attempt a solution to these and other problems. For clarity, Figure 2 illustrates, in perspective view, the underside of the shell of a safety helmet known in the art, generally indicated by 6. Around the periphery of the inside face of the helmet 6, a number of attachment points 7 are disposed - in this instance, six. These are used to connect the helmet shell 6 to each of the attachment couplings 5, thereby forming the cradle. Figure 3 shows, in cross-sectional view along the line A— A in Figure 2, how the cradle 1 separates the shell 6 from a user's head.

Summary of the Invention

Accordingly, the invention provides a cradle for use with headgear comprising: a central crown region; a plurality elongate support arms extending generally radially from said crown area; an attachment coupling at the distal end of each arm, to allow connection to cooperating couplings around the periphery of the headgear; and wherein said cradle is of single part flexible plastics construction. It is anticipated that at least three such support arms will be required. More may be used, and typically the inventors would envisage the provision of six support arms.

In any aspect of the invention it is preferred that the cradle further comprises a plurality of integrally-formed headband elements, each headband element connected to an arm of the cradle. Preferably, each end of said headband elements is provided with connectors to allow formation of a headband.

Preferably, connectors at the occipital region of said headband form an adjustment mechanism, or alternatively a separate adjustment mechanism is provided, linking headband elements in the occipital regions of said headband.

Preferably, a resilient pad is disposed on at least a portion of the surface of the crown region, and more preferably a plurality of resilient pads is disposed on at least a portion of the surface of the crown region.

It is further preferred that at least one resilient pad extends down at least a portion of a support arm, and more preferably that a resilient pad extends down at least a portion of each support arm.

Where resilient pads in the crown region do not extend down a portion of a support arm, it is preferred that the cradle further comprises a resilient pad located on a support arm. More preferably, each support arm is provided with a resilient pad. When pads are provided, it is preferred that at least one pad is profiled in the direction perpendicular to the surface of the cradle.

When pads are provided, it is preferred that said pads are non-absorbent.

Also, when pads are provided, it is preferred that said pads are integral to said cradle.

Also, when pads are provided, it is preferred that said pads are formed of a softer material than said cradle.

When sad pads are integral, it is further preferred that said cradle is formed by multi-material injection moulding.

Also, when pads are provided, it is preferred that said pad(s) is, or are, impregnated or surface-coated with an antimicrobial agent.

In any aspect of the invention it is preferred that at least one of said arms is provided with one or more ventilation holes. More preferably, at least one of said holes is elliptical in shape, and when elliptical, it is further preferred that the major axis of said hole is neither parallel nor perpendicular to the elongate axis of said arm.

Brief Description of the Figures

The invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure 1 illustrates a prior art cradle, in plan view;

Figure 2 illustrates the interior of a helmet shell of known form, in perspective view;

Figure 3 illustrates the use of a known cradle in a helmet shell, in cross-sectional view;

Figure 4 illustrates a cradle of the invention, in plan view;

Figure 5 (A and B) illustrates a portion of an arm of a cradle of the invention;

Figures 6 and 7 illustrate, in cross-section view a pad attached to a portion of an arm of a cradle of the invention; and

Figures 8-10 illustrate embodiments of cradles of the invention. Description of Preferred Embodiments

Figure 4 illustrates, in plan view, a helmet cradle of the invention, generally indicated by 8. The cradle 8 itself is made from flexible plastics material such as polyethylene, e.g. HDPE (high density polyethylene) or LDPE (low density polyethylene). The cradle has a central crown region 9 from which elongate support arms 10 radiate. In this embodiment, six such arms 10 are shown, which would be a typical arrangement. At the end of each arm 10 is moulded an attachment coupling 5 to allow coupling to attachments points 7 on a shell of a safety helmet, such as that illustrated in Figure 2.

In this embodiment, optional resilient pads 11 are disposed on the crown region 9 of the cradle 8. Such pads may be made of a resilient material such as a closed cell polymeric foam, a so-called "memory foam", or an encapsulated hydrogel or some such other material.

Particularly preferred materials for the pads include plastics described as "soft touch" polymers. Such soft touch polymers include thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) and

thermoplastic polyurethanes such as polycaprolactone, polyesters and polyethers. It is particularly preferred that the material of the pads is softer than that of the arms. This provides a further degree of cushioning of a user' s skull, and also serves to slightly separate the surface of the cradle 8 from the user's head when no force is being applied. These pads could be made separately, and fixed to the cradle by means of adhesive, ultrasonic welding, or other suitable means. Alternatively, they could be co-moulded with the cradle, as will be described below.

Also in this embodiment, optional resilient pads 12 of similar properties to those in the crown region 9 are disposed on the surface of the support arms 10 to provide further cushioning. These may be formed, and attached, in the same way as described for the pads 11 on the crown region 9.

In this embodiment, optional apertures forming ventilation holes 13 are provided in the crown region 9 of the cradle. These assist airflow to a user's skull and make the cradle -helmet assembly more comfortable, and reduce the likelihood of sweating on the part of the user.

Also, optional apertures forming ventilation holes 14 are provided on at least some of the arms 10 of the cradle. Again, these provide ventilation to a user's head. Preferably, some of these holes 14A are elliptical (or at least elongate, with rounded edges) in shape, and more preferably aligned such the elongate axis of the hole is neither parallel nor perpendicular to the elongate axis of the arm 10 on which it is situated. The inventors have found that this adds an additional degree of impact-absorbing stretch to the arms 10, whilst maintaining their strength. When put under tension, the elliptical holes allow a degree of deformation of the arm 10, thereby making the portion of the arm 10 where they are located more elastic. This is illustrated in Figures 5A and 5B that respectively show the configuration of a portion of an arm 10 with elliptical holes 14B before and after the arm is put under tension.

Also, it is particularly preferred that the pads 11, 12 are non-absorbent, so they do not absorb any sweat produced by a user. More preferably still, the pads 11, 12 and/or the arms are impregnated and/or coated with an antimicrobial agent such as triclosan (sold under the registered trademark Microban®), organosilanes, quaternary ammonium compounds (such as 3-(Trimethoxysilyl) -propyldimethyloctadecyl ammonium chloride (Si-QAC),

alkyldimethylbenzylammonium chloride and didecyldimethylammonium chloride), silver (especially in the form of nanoparticles) and its salts.

Figures 6 and 7 illustrate, in cross-sectional view, how pads 11, 12 may be disposed on the surface of an arm 10 or crown region 9 of a cradle. In Figure 6, the pad 11, 12 is co-moulded with the arm 10. Optionally, as illustrated, a portion of the softer, resilient pad material protrudes on each face of the arm 10, although this would be more time-consuming to assemble, and the pads would not be so securely fixed. A similar configuration could be achieved by moulding a separate arm 10 and pad 11, 12, and fixing the two together by passing a portion of the pad 11, 12 through a hole in the arm 10. It can be seen that in these embodiments, the pads are profiled in the direction perpendicular to the surface of the arm 10, i.e. the height of the pad surface above the plane of surface of the arm is not constant. In this way the pads may be shaped so as to provide a more comfortable fit to the surface of a user's head.

Figure 7 illustrates, in cross-sectional view, how a pad 11, 12 may alternatively be fixed to the surface of an arm 10 by means of a layer of adhesive 15.

Figure 8 illustrates an alternative embodiment of a cradle of the invention, generally indicated by 8. Like elements described in other embodiments are identified with like numbers, and will not be described further. In addition to the cradle elements described in Figure 4, this embodiment is also provided with a plurality of headband elements that may be connected together (with or without additional parts) to form a headband to encircle a user' s head, in use. In this embodiment, two side headband elements 16 are provided and a single forehead- engaging headband element 17. These headband elements are integrally formed, e.g. by injection moulding, or cutting from a flat sheet, with the rest of the cradle, and are connected thereto with connecting limbs 20. In this embodiment, the distal end 18 of each of the side headband elements 16 is provided with a first connector 19, in this case a shaped hole, configured to engage with a cooperating connector 19, in this case a cooperating raised bayonet arrangement, on an adjacent end of the forehead-engaging element 17. Each of the side headband elements 16 is also optionally provided with holes 12 to provide additional ventilation.

In this embodiment, the distal end 18 of each side headband element 16 is also provided with a second connector 21 configured to connect to a cooperating connector 21 extending from an edge of a forward-facing arm 10. This provides additional stability to the headband, once assembled, and especially to the forehead-engaging headband element 17. The forehead- engaging headband element 17 may be provided with suitable fixings (not illustrated) to allow a disposable sweat-absorbing pad to be affixed thereto.

At the rearward-facing end 22 of each of the side headband elements 16 there is also provided further connecting elements 23 that may be used to connect each side headband element 6 together at the occipital (rear) region of a user' s head, either directly, or via an intermediate joining piece.

It can also be seen that, in this embodiment, a portion of the pads 11 provided in the crown region 9 of the cradle extend down at least a portion of an adjacent arm 10.

Figure 9 illustrates a yet further embodiment of a cradle of the invention, generally indicated by 8. Again, like elements described in other embodiments are identified with like numbers, and will not be described further. In addition to the cradle elements identified and numbered in Figures 4 and 13, rather than being provided with connectors 23, this embodiment has extensions 24 at rear end 22 of each side headband element 16, that together form the occipital portion of the headband when connected. The ends of these extensions 24 are provided with cooperating ratchet elements 25 to allow the overall diameter of the headband, once assembled, to be adjusted.

Figure 10 illustrates a further embodiment of a cradle of the invention, generally indicated by 8. Again, like elements described in other embodiments are identified with like numbers, and will not be described further. The cradle 8 is the same as that described in Figure 8, other than that a separate adjustment mechanism 25 is provided, in this illustration in the form of cooperating ratchet elements. Each of the elements is arranged on one end of an elongate portion 27. The other end of the portion 27 is provided with a connector 26, to allow connection to respective connectors 23 at the rearward end of the side headband elements 16. Other adjustment mechanisms will be apparent to one skilled in the art.