Why being the first isn't enough

We engineer our helmets to be the best. Being the first custom helmet to be certified is just a happy byproduct.

Before the first helmet was even sketched on paper, I built a 12 foot, $30K impact rig in my garage. Three months later, materials, manufacturing techniques and prototypes were all quickly tested to weed out anything that didn’t have the potential to earn its place on my kid’s head. After all this time, I’m honestly surprised that KAV is the first 3D printed hockey helmet. The goal at KAV is always to produce the best helmet, having the first certified custom fit helmet is icing on the cake.

Helmet certification

Hockey helmets are governed by three certifying bodies, HECC, CSA and CE for the US, Canadian and European markets respectively. They serve a valuable purpose in ensuring that hockey players have access to helmets that meet rigorous manufacturing standards and a minimum level of protection. All three bodies have similar requirements that specify areas of  coverage, strap retention strength and shock absorption properties of the complete helmet. To have a certified helmet - a comprehensive set of documents specifying everything from materials utilized to manufacturing processes are reviewed and the production facilities audited by certified third parties.

So the ASTM 1045 - 15 standard species in exacting language how to conduct the actual testing, the necessary lab conditions and even the specifications of the equipment utilized. It’s not only used by HECC, but it's a reference that KAV utilizes as a starting point for benchmarking our helmet against competitors. It specifies a matrix of six standard impact locations at three different temperatures for each size: ambient (20C), low (-25C) and high (30C) temperatures. To pass, a helmet can not exceed 275 Gs of linear force during the impact tests. At KAV we’re happy to report that our helmets are half that amount and in most models it comes in at under a 100 Gs, almost two thirds less than the requirement. These numbers are like time in the penalty box - less is more, and in the case of concussion risks way more.

Passing certification is a good starting point but for KAV we went above and beyond. We engineer our products to:

  • Exceed the standards by a wide margin
  • Impact test against a wider range of scenarios 
  • More frequent tests of production samples
  • Testing that ensures not only 2-3 sizes past certification, but all 7.8 billion fits for every man, woman and child on the planet.

More on those later. For now, take comfort in knowing the best fitting hockey helmet also offers the best protection.