Friday, 01 September 2023 12:55

A real NZ safety story

Written by  Mark Daniel
Besides ATV use, the AgHat Max is also suitable for use in the forestry, arboriculture and construction sectors. Besides ATV use, the AgHat Max is also suitable for use in the forestry, arboriculture and construction sectors.

Back in 1990, Malcolm Gray was an importer and distributor of conventional motorcycle helmets.

Already aware of the increasing popularity of ATVs, Grey was approached by the Honda distributor in New Zealand. The company was keen to encourage the safe use of their machines and the practise of users wearing safety helmets.

At the time, conventional motorcycle helmets were relatively heavy, hot and hard to use while working out on the farm. Grey’s company set out to develop a helmet that was lighter, cooler and offered greater visibility. Importantly, they wanted to develop a helmet that was more comfortable and capable of withstanding the rigours of daily farm use.

The introduction of the AgHat led to a marked uptake in use on ATVs. So much so, that the AgHat Max is still with us nearly 35 years later and still offering unrivalled protection that meets and exceeds the NZS 8600(2002) and AS NZ1801 safety standards.

Besides ATV use, the AgHat Max is also suitable for use in the forestry, arboriculture and construction sectors.

Manufactured and assembled in NZ, the heart of the helmet is the critical inner safety cell, made from black imported Styropor from Ohio in the United States. In turn, this is mated with the Polylac/ ABS outer shell that is available in a range of popular covers. The outer shell is subjected to rigorous UV testing to ensure it remains stable for many years of farm use - that may include sitting in the back of a ute or on a workshop windowsill.

Bringing the two key components together, a robust webbing system surrounds the inner shell, before both assemblies are bonded with a hot glue process and oven curing. A wide range of adjustment, from 53 to 64cm, means the helmet is suitable for all users. At the same time, it allows users to wear their favourite beanie or peaked baseball hat should they desire.

Internally, the helmet incorporates a cleanable liner that stops bugs or parasites, while also absorbing sweat.

Additionally, removable pads allow more comfort during summer or winter wear and are also suitable for use with ear defenders, optional forestry shields and overbrims for sun protection.

The multi-fit AgHat weighs in at only 635 grams, compared to other helmets that might tip the scales at more than 1kg.

Very much a Kiwi product, manufacturing sees the inner cell moulded in Onehunga, the outer shell built in Avondale, with the inner pads made in Morningside, Auckland.

These are brought together with the webbing and assembled under the guidance of production manager Kenneth Garcia in Albany, Auckland.

They are manufactured and distributed by Forbes and Davies. The company says attention to detail is a key point in the quality of the AgHat, using only the best components.

The helmets are also independently tested, which takes place at Holmes Solutions Testing facility in Christchurch. They are regularly audited by the wellknown SAI Global testing and assurance company.

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