Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
PROTECTIVE HELMET WITH ATTACHMENT RING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/026171
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A protective helmet adapted to receive and protect the head of a wearer includes an outer shell and an attachment ring removably secured to the outer shell, such that the attachment ring can be selectively attached to or detached and removed from the outer shell. The outer shell is shaped to protect the head of the wearer of the protective helmet and defines a bottom opening and an internal cavity for receiving the head of the wearer. The attachment ring acts as a point of attachment for, and thus secures, one or more components of the protective helmet configured to engage the head of the wearer, such that the components secured to the attachment ring are transported with the attachment ring when the attachment ring is detached and removed from the outer shell.

Inventors:
WARD DAVID AMOS (US)
WEDDING WILLIAM CHAD (US)
PLUNKETT MATTHEW G (US)
Application Number:
US2020/044907
Publication Date:
February 11, 2021
Filing Date:
August 04, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
BULLARD CO (US)
International Classes:
A42B3/32; A42B3/06; A42B3/08; A42B3/10; A42B3/12; A42B3/14
Foreign References:
US20100043126A12010-02-25
US20180338559A12018-11-29
US20130191973A12013-08-01
KR101680255B12016-11-28
JP2003027323A2003-01-29
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NAGLE, Jr., David W. et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A protective helmet adapted to receive and protect the head of a wearer, comprising: an outer shell shaped to protect the head of the wearer, the outer shell defining an opening and an internal cavity for receiving the head of the wearer; and an attachment ring removably secured to the outer shell and extending coextensively with the opening defined by the outer shell, the attachment ring securing one or more components of the protective helmet configured to engage the head of the wearer, such that the one or more components configured to engage the head of the wearer are transported with the attachment ring when the attachment ring is detached and removed from the outer shell.

2. The protective helmet as recited in claim 1 , wherein the one or more components configured to engage the head of the wearer includes a headband assembly.

3. The protective helmet as recited in claim 2, wherein the attachment ring is the exclusive structure of the protective helmet to which the headband assembly is secured.

4. The protective helmet as recited in claim 1 , wherein the one or more components configured to engage the head of the wearer includes a chinstrap.

5. The protective helmet as recited in claim 4, wherein the attachment ring is the exclusive structure of the protective helmet to which the chinstrap is secured.

6. The protective helmet as recited in claim 1, and further comprising: an inner liner positioned within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell.

7. The protective helmet as recited in claim 6, wherein the inner liner is supported by a shelf defined by the attachment ring.

8. The protective helmet as recited in claim 7, wherein the inner liner is sandwiched between the outer shell and the attachment ring.

9. The protective helmet as recited in claim 6, wherein the one or more components configured to engage the head of the wearer includes an internal padding positioned within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell, the internal padding providing an intermediate layer between the head of the wearer and an interior surface of the inner liner when the protective helmet is worn.

10. A protective helmet adapted to receive and protect a head of a wearer, comprising: an outer shell shaped to protect the head of the wearer, the outer shell defining an opening and an internal cavity for receiving the head of the wearer; a headband assembly for engaging the head of the wearer positioned at least partially within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell; and an attachment ring removably secured to the outer shell; wherein the headband assembly is secured to the attachment ring, such that the headband assembly can be removed from the internal cavity defined by the outer shell by detaching and removing the attachment ring from the outer shell.

11. The protective helmet as recited in claim 10, and further comprising: an inner liner positioned within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell and supported by a shelf defined by the attachment ring.

12. The protective helmet as recited in claim 11, wherein the inner liner is sandwiched between the outer shell and the attachment ring.

13. The protective helmet as recited in clai 11, and further comprising: an internal padding secured to the attachment ring and positioned within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell, the internal padding providing an intermediate layer between the head of the wearer and an interior surface of the inner liner when the protective helmet is worn.

14. The protective helmet as recited in claim 10, wherein the attachment ring is the exclusive structure of the protective helmet to which the headband assembly is secured.

15. The protective helmet as recited in claim 10, and further comprising: a chinstrap for engaging the head of the wearer and secured to the attachment ring; wherein the attachment ring is the exclusive structure of the protective helmet to which the chinstrap is secured.

16. A protective helmet adapted to receive and protect the head of a wearer, comprising: an outer shell shaped to protect the head of the wearer, the outer shell defining an opening and an internal cavity for receiving the head of the wearer; an attachment ring removably secured to the outer shell; and an inner liner positioned within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell; wherein the attachment ring defines a shelf on which the inner liner is supported, such that the inner liner can be removed from the internal cavity defined by the outer shell by detaching and removing the attachment ring from the outer shell.

17. The protective helmet as recited in claim 16, wherein the inner liner is sandwiched between the outer shell and the attachment ring.

18. The protective helmet as recited in claim 16, and further comprising: a headband assembly for engaging the head of the wearer positioned at least partially within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell; wherein the headband assembly is secured to the attachment ring, such that the headband assembly can be removed from the internal cavity defined by the outer shell by detaching and removing the attachment ring from the outer shell.

Description:
IN THE UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE

Patent Application Under 37 C.F.R. § 1.53(b) for

PROTECTIVE HELMET WITH ATTACHMENT RING

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority to U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 62/882,728 filed on August 5, 2019, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a protective helmet.

Protective helmets are commonly worn in the workplace to prevent or reduce the likelihood of head injuries. For example, a hard hat is the most common and well-recognized protective helmet. For another example, a fire helmet is another common protective helmet. Such protective helmets, including hard hats and fire helmets, commonly are comprised of three primary components — an outer shell, a headband, and a suspension — which cooperate to reduce the potential for injury by attenuating some translational energy of the force of an impact to the helmet. Certain protective helmets, including fire helmets, sometimes also include an inner shell (or liner) positioned between the outer shell and the suspension, which also aids in attenuating some translational energy of the force of an impact to the outer shell of the helmet.

The construction of such protective helmets is further described, for example, in U.S. Patent No. 4,888,831, U.S. Patent No. 6,609,254, U.S. Patent No. 6,862,747, U.S. Patent No. 7,000,262, U.S. Patent No. 7,043,772, U.S. Patent No. 7,174,575, and U.S. Patent No. 7,213,271, each of which is assigned to the present applicant and is incorporated herein by reference.

With respect to fire helmets and similar protective helmets, other components may be included to hold the helmet in place and to increase user comfort. For example, the protective helmet may include: a chinstrap which keeps the helmet on the head when the user is moving around; comfort liners for the brow and the crown; and/or edge trim which covers any sharp edges around the bottom of the helmet. In current practice, such components are attached directly to the helmet, typically using screws, rivets, or some form of snap fastener. This often requires internal bosses and/or ribs on the inside of the helmet for retaining threaded inserts and other forms of receivers. The addition of such features can create stress concentrators on the outer shell of the helmet, which can reduce the ability of the helmet to withstand impacts. The addition of such features can also cause wall thickness differences, which can lead to finish imperfections on the surface of the outer shell. Furthermore, the directionality of any such additional features can create difficulties in molding. With respect to fire helmets, another concern is decontamination. Contaminants collect on the inside of the helmet during the act of putting out a fire. Many of these contaminants are considered carcinogenic. These contaminants collect in all the nooks and crevices inside of a helmet. Accordingly, fire helmets need to be disassembled in order to effectively clean and decontaminate them. This can be time-consuming, especially when there are a number of components attached directly to the helmet. When such components are fixed with rivets or similar retaining devices, decontamination becomes even more difficult. Additionally, contamination often also collects underneath the inner shell (or liner), and removing the inner shell (or liner) is also often quite difficult.

Thus, there remains a need for an improved means by which to secure components to fire helmets and similar protective helmets.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is a protective helmet, such as a fire or rescue helmet, which includes an attachment ring.

A protective helmet made in accordance with the present invention includes an outer shell to which an exemplary attachment ring is removably secured, such that the attachment ring can be selectively attached to or detached and removed from the outer shell. The outer shell is shaped to protect the head of the wearer of the protective helmet and defines a bottom opening and an internal cavity for receiving the head of the wearer. The attachment ring acts as a point of attachment for, and thus secures, one or more components of the protective helmet configured to engage the head of the wearer. In other words, each component of the protective helmet configured to engage the head of the wearer is secured to the attachment ring. Thus, instead of having to disassociate each respective component of the helmet configured to engage the head of the wearer from direct contact with the outer shell, as is common with protective helmets of known construction, such components can be removed from the internal cavity or otherwise disassociated from the outer shell for cleaning or decontamination simply by removing the attachment ring. By securing each component of the protective configured to engage the head of the wearer to the attachment ring instead of directly to the outer shell in such embodiments, the outer shell can be constructed free of internal bosses and/or ribs for securing such components, which may reduce the ability of the protective helmet to withstand impacts, cause finish imperfections, and/or make molding of the outer shell more difficult.

In some embodiments, the protective helmet includes a headband assembly secured to the attachment ring, which holds the protective helmet on the head of the wearer and helps to maintain a degree of spacing between the head of the wearer and the outer shell to attenuate translational energy of the force of an impact to the protective helmet. To further hold the protective helmet in place on the head of the wearer, in some embodiments, the protective helmet further includes a chinstrap secured to the attachment ring. In some embodiments, the attachment ring is the exclusive structure of the protective helmet to which the headband assembly and the chinstrap are secured.

In some embodiments, the protective helmet further includes an inner liner positioned within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell to further attenuate the translational energy of the force of an impact. In some embodiments, the inner liner is supported by a shelf defined by the attachment ring, such that the inner liner can be removed from the internal cavity defined by the outer shell by detaching and removing the attachment ring from the outer shell. In some embodiments, the attachment ring includes inner wall portions that extend upwardly from the shelf to sandwich the inner liner between the attachment ring and the outer shell, thereby maintaining the position of the inner liner when the protective helmet is assembled.

For increased comfort, in some embodiments, the protective helmet includes an internal padding positioned within internal cavity defined by the outer shell which provides an intermediate layer between the head of the wearer and an interior surface of the inner liner when the protective element is worn.

The attachment ring is removably secured to the outer shell using a minimal number of fasteners in order to facilitate quick and simple attachment and detachment of the attachment ring from the outer shell, and thus the various components secured thereto or supported thereby. As a further refinement, in some embodiments, the protective helmet further includes components which do not engage the head of the wearer and are positioned on the exterior of the outer shell, such as a visor assembly and a rear edge trim, which are secured to the outer shell via the same fasteners as the attachment ring.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. l is a perspective view of a protective helmet, including an exemplary attachment ring made in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the protective helmet similar to FIG. 1, but with the certain components of the protective helmet hidden from view;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the components of the protective helmet 10 shown in FIG.

2;

FIG. 4 is a partial enlarged view of certain components of the protective helmet of FIG. i; FIG. 5 is side- sectional view of the protective helmet of FIG. 1, but with certain components of the protective helmet hidden from view;

FIG. 6 is side view of the exemplary attachment ring and an inner liner of the protective helmet of FIG. 1 ; FIG. 7 A is a front perspective view of the exemplary attachment ring of the protective helmet of FIG. 1 in isolation; and

FIG. 7B is a rear perspective view of the exemplary attachment ring of the protective helmet of FIG. 1 in isolation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a protective helmet, such as a fire or rescue helmet, which includes an attachment ring.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a protective helmet 10, including an exemplary attachment ring 40 made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the protective helmet 10, but with a visor assembly 80 and a rear edge trim 90 of the protective helmet 10 hidden from view to better illustrate certain features of the protective helmet 10.

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the components of the protective helmet 10 shown in FIG. 2.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-3, consistent with helmets of known construction, the protective helmet 10 includes an outer shell 20 shaped to protect the head of a wearer and a headband assembly 50 configured to engage the head of the wearer. The outer shell 20 defines a bottom opening and an internal cavity for receiving the head of the wearer. The headband assembly 50 is, at least partially, positioned within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell 20. The headband assembly 50 holds the protective helmet 10 on the head of the wearer and helps to maintain a degree of spacing between the head of the wearer and the outer shell 20 to attenuate translational energy of the force of an impact to the protective helmet 10. To further attenuate such translational energy, in this embodiment, the protective helmet 10 also includes an inner liner 30 composed of foam or a similar material positioned within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell 20.

Referring still to FIGS. 1-3, in this embodiment, the protective helmet 10 also includes a chinstrap 60 which further holds the protective helmet 10 in place on the head of the wearer and an internal padding 70 within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell 20 for increased comfort. In this embodiment, the internal padding 70 is a mesh hammock positioned within the internal cavity as to provide an intermediate cushioning layer between the top of the head of the wearer and an interior surface of the inner liner 30, though other padding materials or designs may, of course, be alternatively used.

Referring still to FIGS. 1-3, the protective helmet 10 further includes the exemplary attachment ring 40 (visible through a visor 82 in FIG. 1 and unobstructed in FIGS. 2 and 3), which facilitates simple and quick removal of various components of the protective helmet 10 secured thereto, as further described below. Referring now specifically to FIG. 1, in this embodiment and as mentioned above, the protective helmet 10 includes a visor assembly 80, which includes a visor 82 secured to a first retainer 84 and a second retainer (not shown) that is identical to the first retainer 84 positioned on opposite sides of the protective helmet 10. The first retainer 84 and the second retainer are mounted for rotation with respect to the rear edge trim 90 covering portions of a lower edge 20a (positioned behind the visor 82 in FIG. 1) of the outer shell 20, such that the visor 82 can be readily moved between a first (or storage) position that is outside the field of view of the wearer and a second (or extended) position that is in front of a portion of the face of the wearer to protect the eyes of the wearer. The construction and function of such a visor assembly 80 is further described in co-pending and commonly assigned U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/987,682 (published as U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2018/0338559), which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIGS. 7A and 7B are, respectively, front and rear perspective views of the exemplary attachment ring 40 of the protective helmet 10 in isolation.

Referring now specifically to FIGS. 1-3, 7 A, and 7B, the exemplary attachment ring 40 forms a ring that, in this embodiment, is coextensive with the bottom opening defined by the outer shell 20 when the protective helmet 10 is assembled. The attachment ring 40 is removably secured to the outer shell 20, such that that the attachment ring 40 can be selectively attached (secured) to or detached (unsecured) and removed from the outer shell 20, thus facilitating simple assembly and disassembly of the protective helmet 10, as further described below. Specifically, in this embodiment, the attachment ring 40 is removably secured proximate to the lower edge 20a of the outer shell 20 using a minimal number of fasteners 25. The fasteners 25 and the corresponding openings 22a, 24a of the outer shell 20 are thus isolated away from those (upper) portions of the outer shell 20 most likely to incur an impact, which better enhances the ability of the protective helmet 10 to withstand impacts. In this embodiment, the protective helmet 10 includes four fasteners 25 in total, two of which are shown on one side of the outer shell 20 in FIGS. 2 and 3. The other two fasteners are on the other side of the outer shell 20, as further described below. As perhaps shown best in FIGS. 7 A and 7B, the attachment ring 40 defines, and thus can be characterized as including, a first boss 42a and a second boss 44a, which extend from one (or first) side of the attachment ring 40. The attachment ring 40 also defines, and thus can further be characterized as including, a third boss 42b and a fourth boss 44b, which extend from the opposite (or second) side of the attachment ring 40. Each boss 42a, 42b, 44a, 44b circumscribes an opening 43a, 43b, 45a, 45b configured to receive one of the fasteners 25 therein. To facilitate alignment and subsequent securing of the outer shell 20 and the attachment ring 40, the outer shell 20 defines, and thus can be characterized as including, openings 22a, 24a, the number and positioning of which correspond with the openings 43a, 43b, 45a, 45b circumscribed by the bosses 42a, 42b, 44a, 44b of the attachment ring 40. Accordingly, in this embodiment, the outer shell 20 includes four openings 22a, 24a, two of which are shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the other two openings being positioned in the same location, except on the opposite (or second) side of the outer shell 20. As further shown in FIG. 3, in this embodiment, an insert 27 configured to engage a corresponding fastener 25 is positioned within each opening 43a, 43b, 45a, 45b, although only two such inserts 27 are visible in FIG. 3.

Referring now again to FIGS. 1-3, to secure the attachment ring 40 to the outer shell 20, the attachment ring 40 is positioned within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell 20, such that each opening 22a, 24a defined by the outer shell 20 is aligned with one of the openings 43 a, 43b, 45a, 45b defined by the attachment ring 40. Fasteners 25 are then inserted through the openings 22a, 24a of the outer shell 20 and into the openings 43a, 43b, 45a, 45b defined by the attachment ring 40 to engage the inserts 27 positioned therein, securing the attachment ring 40 relative to the outer shell 20. In this embodiment, the fasteners 25 are threaded bolts, and the inserts 27 include corresponding threads; however, other types of fasteners may be utilized without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The attachment ring 40 can subsequently be detached and removed from the outer shell 20 by carrying out the above- described steps in reverse, i.e., by disengaging the fasteners 25 from the inserts 27, removing the fasteners 25 from the openings 43a, 43b, 45a, 45b defined by the attachment ring 40 and openings 22a, 24a of the outer shell 20, and then removing the attachment ring 40 from the internal cavity defined by the outer shell 20.

Referring now again specifically to FIG. 1, in this embodiment, the rear edge trim 90 is also secured to the exterior of the outer shell 20 via the same fasteners 25 and inserts 27 that secure the attachment ring 40 to the outer shell 20. In this regard, to permit passage of the fasteners 25 through the rear edge trim 90, the rear edge trim 90 defines, and thus can be characterized as including, a number of openings 92 (only one of which is visible in FIG. 1) which correspond to the openings of the 22a, 24a of the outer shell 20 and the openings 43 a, 43b, 45a, 45b defined by the attachment ring 40. More specifically, in this embodiment, the rear edge trim 90 defines two openings on each side of the protective helmet 10, with one of the openings on each side of the protective helmet 10 being covered by the first retainer 84 or second retainer of the visor assembly 80 when the protective helmet 10 is fully assembled.

FIG. 4 is a partial enlarged view of the protective helmet 10 of FIG. 1, showing a portion of the headband assembly 50 secured to the attachment ring 40 via fasteners 55. Referring now to FIGS. 1-4, the attachment ring 40 acts as a point of attachment for, and thus secures, one or more components of the protective helmet 10 configured to engage (i.e., contact) the head of the wearer when the protective helmet 10 is worn. In this embodiment, the attachment ring 40 acts as a point of attachment for each component of the protective helmet 10 which engages the head of the wearer, including: the headband assembly 50; the chinstrap 60; and the internal padding 70. With respect to the headband assembly 50 and chinstrap 60, in this embodiment, the attachment ring 40 is the exclusive structure of the protective helmet 10 to which such components are secured. Referring still to FIGS. 1-4, in this embodiment, the headband assembly 50 includes: a headband 52 designed to wrap around the head of the wearer; a first bracket 54 and a second bracket 56, which facilitate attachment of the headband assembly 50 to the attachment ring 40; an anterior (brow) pad 58 secured to the portion of the headband 52 corresponding to the forehead of the wearer when the protective helmet 10 is worn for improved comfort; and a posterior pad 59 secured to the portion of the headband 52 corresponding to a back portion of the head of the wearer when the protective helmet 10 is worn, also for improved comfort. In this embodiment, the headband assembly 50 also includes a ratchet mechanism 51 that allows for ready adjustment of the size and fit of the headband 52. For further details regarding the construction of such a ratchet mechanism 51, see, for example, U.S. Patent Nos. 7,000,262, 7,043,772, and 7,174,575, which, as mentioned above, are incorporated herein by reference.

Referring now to FIGS. 3, 4, 7A, and 7B, as noted above, the headband assembly 50 is secured to the attachment ring 40 via the first bracket 54 and the second bracket 56 of the headband assembly 50. To this end, the first bracket 54 defines, and thus can be characterized as including: a first pair of bosses 54a which circumscribe a first pair of openings 53a; and a second pair of bosses 54b which circumscribe a second pair of openings 53b. The first bracket 54 is secured to the attachment ring 40 by: aligning one of the openings within the first pair of openings 53a with a first opening 41a defined by an anterior portion of the attachment ring 40, and inserting a fastener 55a therethrough; and aligning one of the openings within the second pair of openings 53b with a second opening 41b defined by the anterior portion of the attachment ring 40, and inserting a fastener 55b therethrough.

The second bracket 56 is substantially identical to the first bracket 54, and, as such, is secured to the attachment ring 40 using fasteners in the same manner as the first bracket 54. In this regard, a posterior portion of attachment ring 40 defines a first opening 41c and a second opening 41d to receive fasteners that are substantially identical to the fasteners 55a, 55b shown in FIGS. 3-4 and described above.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, in this embodiment, the fasteners 55a, 55b that engage the anterior portion of the attachment ring 40 (and the corresponding fasteners that engage the posterior proportion of the attachment ring 40) are push rivet-type fasteners. And, in this embodiment, the openings 41a, 41b, 41c, 41d defined by the anterior and posterior portions of the attachment ring 40 are cross-shaped openings to permit the attachment ring 40 to flex during initial insertion of the fasteners. Of course, other fasteners (e.g., nut and bolt combination) may alternatively be used to secure the first bracket 54 and the second bracket 56 of the headband assembly 50 to the attachment ring 40 without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Referring now specifically to FIG. 3, the headband 52 is secured to the first bracket 54 via a first pair of upwardly extending arms 52a. To this end, in this embodiment, the first bracket 54 also includes a pair of upwardly extending arms 54c, with each arm 54c defining one or more openings 54d. Accordingly, in this embodiment, the first bracket 54 is substantially U-shaped. Furthermore, each arm 52a of the first pair of upwardly extending arms 52a of the headband 52 includes a locking member (not shown) which is inserted through an opening 54d defined by a corresponding arm 54c of the first bracket 54 to secure the first bracket 54 to the headband 52. In this embodiment, the locking member of each arm is configured to rotate 90° in a first direction following insertion through a selected opening 54d defined by the arm 54c of the first bracket 54 to secure the arm 52a of the headband 52 and the arm 54c of the first bracket 54 together. Conversely, the locking member can be rotated in a second, opposite direction to disassociate the arm 52a of the headband 52 and the arm 54c of the first bracket 54. Thus, by manipulating the locking members of the upwardly extending arms 52a, the first bracket 54 and headband 52 can be readily associated and disassociated from one another as desired.

Furthermore, as shown in FIG. 3, each arm 54c of the first bracket 54 preferably defines multiple openings 54d to enable the wearer of the protective helmet 10 to adjust the vertical position of the headband 52, so that the wearer can adjust the extent to which the headband assembly 50 is positioned within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell 20.

The headband 52 is secured to the second bracket 56 in the same manner as the first bracket 54. In this regard, the headband 52 also includes a second pair of upwardly extending arms 52b, which are substantially identical to the first pair of upwardly extending arms 52a. And, the second bracket 56 is substantially identical to the first bracket 54 and includes a second pair of upwardly extending arms 56c, with each arm 56c defining one or more openings 56d.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-3, 6, 7 A, and 7B, the attachment ring 40 further defines, and thus can be characterized as further including a first opening 39a and a second opening 39b on opposite sides of the attachment ring 40 for securing the chinstrap 60. In this embodiment, the first opening 39a and the second opening 39b for securing the chinstrap 60 are keyhole-shaped and configured to receive a lug 62a of a first chinstrap mount 60a and a lug (not shown) of a second chinstrap mount 60b, respectively. Of course, the chinstrap 60 may be alternatively secured to the attachment ring 40 without departing from the spirit or scope of the present invention. In this particular embodiment, the attachment ring 40 also defines a third opening 39c which can be used to secure a lug of a modified chinstrap which wraps around the head of the wearer. Referring now again specifically to FIG. 3, because the attachment ring 40 is the exclusive structure of the protective helmet 10 to which the headband assembly 50 and the chinstrap 60 are secured, the entirety of the headband assembly 50 and chinstrap 60 are transported with the attachment ring 40 when the attachment ring 40 is detached and removed from the outer shell 20. Thus, the headband assembly 50 and chinstrap 60 can quickly and easily be accessed by detaching and removing the attachment ring 40 from the outer shell 20.

Referring now to FIGS. 3, 6, 7A, and 7B, as noted above, the internal padding 70 is also secured to the attachment ring 40. Specially, in this embodiment, the attachment ring 40 defines, and thus can be characterized as including, a first opening 37a and a second opening 37b proximate to a lower edge 40a in the anterior portion of the attachment ring 40 through which a first strap 72 and a second strap 74, respectively, associated with the internal padding 70 are looped through. In this embodiment, the internal padding 70 is also secured to the inner liner 30. Preferably, the internal padding 70 is secured to an interior surface of the inner liner 30, using, for example, hook-and-look fasteners, such that the internal padding 70 can be attached to or detached and removed from the inner liner 30 by hand.

FIG. 5 is a side-sectional view of the protective helmet 10, with all components of the protective helmet 10 hidden from view, except for the outer shell 20, the inner liner 30, and the exemplary attachment ring 40.

Referring now to FIGS. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7A, and 7B, the attachment ring 40 can be characterized as annulus, with an outer perimeter and an inner perimeter, separated by a predetermined distance. The attachment ring 40 thus effectively defines a shelf 49 between the outer perimeter and the inner perimeter which supports the inner liner 30 within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell 20 when the protective helmet 10 is assembled. As shown best in FIGS. 5, 7A, and 7B, in this embodiment, extending upwardly from the shelf 49 are inner wall portions 48a, which cause the inner liner 30 to be sandwiched between the attachment ring 40 and the outer shell 20 when the protective helmet 10 is assembled. The attachment ring 40 also includes an outer wall portion 48b that extends upwardly from the shelf 49. The outer wall portion 48b of the attachment ring 40 forms the front edge trim of the protective helmet 10 in this embodiment and further maintains the position of the inner liner 30 when the protective helmet 10 is assembled. As a result of the foregoing arrangement, it is thus not necessary for the inner liner 30 to be secured to the outer shell 20 to be adequately supported and held in place within the protective helmet 10. Moreover, as the inner liner 30 is supported by the shelf 49 of the attachment ring 40, the inner liner 30 can be easily removed from internal cavity defined by the outer shell 20 by detaching and removing the attachment ring 40 from the outer shell 20. For example, once the attachment ring 40 is detached from the outer shell 20, the attachment ring 40 can be removed from the outer shell 20, along with the inner liner 30, as shown in FIG. 6. In this way, the internal padding 70 can thus be transported with the attachment ring 40 and entirely removed from the internal cavity defined by the outer shell 20, even if the internal padding 70 is still secured to the inner liner 30.

Accordingly, as a result of the attachment ring 40 being removably secured to the outer shell 20, each component of the protective helmet 10 which is positioned within the internal cavity defined by the outer shell 20 and/or configured to engage the head of the wearer secured to or supported by the attachment ring 40 can be quickly and easily disassociated from the outer shell 20, thereby providing better access to clean or decontaminate such components. Additionally, because the rear edge trim 90 supporting the visor assembly 80 is secured to the outer shell 20 by the same fasteners 25 which removably secure the attachment ring 40, the rear edge trim 90 and visor assembly 80 are also disassociated from the outer shell 20 for such purposes simultaneously with removal of the attachment ring 40. As such, each component of the protective helmet 10 can be disassociated from the outer shell 20 simply by manipulating a minimal number of fasteners 25. Furthermore, as each component of the protective helmet 10 is secured to the outer shell 20 by either the attachment ring 40 or the rear edge trim 90, the outer shell 20 can be constructed free of internal bosses and/or ribs which may reduce ability of the protective helmet 10 to withstand impacts, cause finish imperfections, and/or make molding of the outer shell 20 more difficult.

Although the exemplary attachment ring 40 is primarily described herein as securing the headband assembly 50, the chinstrap 60, and the internal padding 70, and as supporting an inner liner 30, one of skill in the art will appreciate and recognize that additional or alternative components may be secured to or supported by the attachment ring 40 without departing from the spirt or scope of the present invention. For example, in some embodiments, the protective helmet 10 may include a suspension secured to the headband assembly 50 in place of or in addition to the internal padding 70.

One of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that additional embodiments are also possible without departing from the teachings of the present invention. This detailed description, and particularly the specific details of the exemplary embodiment disclosed therein, is given primarily for clarity of understanding, and no unnecessary limitations are to be understood therefrom, for modifications will become obvious to those skilled in the art upon reading this disclosure and may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.