MHP Industries Ltd were approached by Crux product design and UK Sport to design and produce the British Olympic Cycling Team’s distinctive red helmets. The High Wycombe based vacuum formed moulded component manufacturer managed the complete process from the tooling design to the finished product. Through collaboration with Chris Boardman of Crux and UK Sport the MHP team produced the helmets to exacting safety standards as well as meeting the aerodynamic performance requirements of the British Cycling and Wheelchair Racing Teams.
On approval from UK Sport and British Cycling, the designs and prototypes needed to be placed into production and MHP turned their attention to the challenge of vacuum forming the helmet shells as a single piece. As the design did not lend itself to being vacuum formed the MHP team required a forming machine that offered flexibility as well as precision finishing. MHP have been using Ridat machinery for several years and recognise the brand’s versatility in vacuum forming bespoke objects.
The helmets were produced using a Ridat semi automatic vacuum former; to see the equipment in action visit: http://youtu.be/D9dXN8uz_Iw As with all Ridat machinery, the SA range of semi automatic vacuum forming machines offer consistent production to high specifications. The equipment couples fully automatic moulding sequences with manual placement of the thermoformable sheet and removal of the vacuum formed product.
Key features of the latest models include:
- Ceramic heaters with multi-zone heater control for balanced heat
- Power assisted and timer controlled heater box movement
- Hinged clamp frame – powered by two air cylinders
- Mould chamber fully sealed to maintain vacuum pressure
- High capacity vacuum reservoir and pump for instant vacuum supply
- Microprocessor controls and HMI display
Ridat offer fully customisable solutions and can deliver a bespoke machine to include, plug assistance, high velocity cooling fans, reducing aperture and an exit tunnel. In addition to the semi automatic machine utilised in the production of the British Olympic Cycling Team’s helmets, MHP acquired two Ridat fully automatic thermoforming machines in 2011. Mark Hipgrave, Managing Director of MHP Industries Limited said, “as a contract manufacturer of a wide range of products it is essential that we have versatile equipment which consistently delivers high quality products. We were able to purchase two machines from one UK supplier and at a very affordable price, helping us to remain competitive even in a tight financial climate.”
“We were particularly pleased”, he commented, “that the Ridat machine includes, as standard, most of the features associated with equipment from much more expensive West European manufacturers”. Ridat’s Managing Director Dipak Sen Gupta added, “We will continue to develop our product range to provide manufacturers with the solutions they need to meet the challenges in today’s marketplace”