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Case Study: Blindex Helmet Attachment systems

Halco works with OEM manufacturers in the military, policy and security industries to provide hook and loop fastener solutions that meet demanding performance requirements and specifications.

The Customer: Blindex Extrem

Blindex Extrem (or Blindajes Extremos in Spanish) is a designer and manufacturer of bulletproof helmets and riot equipment meant for use by the military and police. Located in Quito, Ecuador, their products include helmet, vests and armored plates that conform to international standards and specifications for ballistic resistance established by NIJ, CEN, NATO, and others.

Halco worked closely with them to solve a hook and loop adhesion problem and also to speed the productivity of their assembly.

“One of our company’s most valuable assets is that, since our foundation, we have striven to offer our customers the best quality in every aspect of our products while also remaining competitive, hence the need of having continuous improvement in our various operations.

With Halco, we found a partner that understands our need to remain ahead of the competition.  Based on effective listening and communication, Halco proactively offered solutions that were tailored to our requirements while helping us maintain our quality standards and improving our productivity.  Halco’s specialty hook and loop product line, deep portfolio of adhesive options and converting services helped us increase product output while reducing operations costs.”

– Gabriel Guzman, Blindex Technical Manager  

The challenges: Adhesive Performance and Die-Cutting

Blindex manufactures helmets using high-performance polycarbonate, aramid and polyethylene fibers. The fibers exist in an epoxy matrix resin that is then cured to create the protective laminate substrate of the helmet. This laminate has relatively low surface energy, making this material challenging for many adhesive systems. In addition, the adhesive system has to stand up to the dynamic motion of the pads and accessories attached to the helmet and must withstand heat and humidity.

Prior to working with Halco, Blindex was purchasing a low-cost imported hook and loop product with a commodity adhesive. The adhesive system on the hook and loop continued to fail causing delamination of the adhesive-coated hook material on the inside and adhesive-coated loop on outside of the helmet. Blindex then had to rework these helmets at significant expense and lost labor hours.

Blindex uses hook and loop fastening systems on these helmets both on the interior and exterior. On the interior, die-cut pieces of adhesive-coated hook are adhered to attach the foam padding. The exterior of the helmet is covered with die-cut pieces of adhesive-coated loop so that the solider or police office can attach different accessories like lights, cameras, etc.

The problem with the way they were receiving the hook and loop parts was that each piece was die-cut all the way through the liner. This made assembly more difficult as the liner was very difficult and slow for the assembly workers to remove on each piece.

HAlco is the hook & loop expert

Halco is recognized in the military market as a leader for specialty hook and loop materials, die-cutting and converting, and laminated adhesive systems. When Blindex contacted Halco, Halco’s engineering team went to work on the two main challenges:

  • The performance of the adhesive system
  • The productivity of the die-cut hoop and loop pieces during production

Not only does Halco offer its own complete line of adhesives that come pre-coated on various hook and loop closure systems, but it also partners with 3M and other 3rd party adhesive tape manufacturers to offer the very best in adhesive systems for each application. Not only must the adhesive work well for the customer’s application, it has to have proven performance with hook and loop fastening materials.

Working closely with Blindex, Halco identified 3M’s 6038PC. This adhesive tape is proven to work well on low surface energy substrates, like plastics and composites, but it also offers good temperature performance.

To address the productivity challenge related to the die-cutting of each hook and loop part, Halco chose to kiss-cut these parts down to the liner, but leave each part on the roll. In this way, Blindex’s assembly workers could easily remove each part without having to pick at the edge of the liner.

The results: Two problems solved!

Halco was able to solve both problems by laminating the best possible adhesive system to Halco’s hook and loop materials for this application and by kiss-cutting the individual parts down to the liner while leaving each piece on the roll. By taking these actions, Halco was able to help Blindex:

  • Improve product quality
  • Reduce product returns and rework costs
  • Speed product assembly and productivity

Gabriel Guzman, the Technical Manager at Blindex is very pleased with their new partnership with Halco. Here’s what he has to say:

“The advantages of Halco speak for themselves and will look forward to working with them to revisit our current product designs and exploring new projects in the near future.”  – Gabriel Guzman, Blindex Technical Manager

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