3M Peltor X

Designing for safety and comfort in high-risk environments

Veryday developed a new series of 3M Peltor earmuffs based on deep knowledge and over 40 years experience designing for professionals working in high-risk environments. The new design is a considerable improvement on the previous 3M Peltor market leader range, and raises the bar for the competition in its market segment.

The Veryday design team was challenged to create very light and flexible earmuffs while maintaining the toughness and durability that workers need in demanding environments. Through our People Insights methods the team discovered that there are several reasons why earmuffs cause discomfort. And when earmuffs are uncomfortable, users tend to remove them too quickly, or avoid using them, putting their hearing at risk.

We saw that poorly fitted headbands increased discomfort, a problem that is exacerbated when one set needs to be worn by several people each with a different head-size. Earmuffs are either strapped tightly and securely, which increases discomfort, or they are worn loosely, increasing the risk that they will not offer adequate protection. We also found that earmuffs become sweaty as the headband does not breathe. The heavy weight and large size added to discomfort and a general sense of clumsiness.

These user insights led to significant modifications to the shape of the cups and the headband, allowing for a tailored fit regardless of head size. New attenuation techniques enabled smaller and lighter cups than other earmuffs available on the market, while still offering the same high level of protection. The cups are dual-molded for improved protection and comfort. The tension in the headband is carefully balanced to keep the earmuff securely on the head without unnecessary force.

The pressure constancy on the headband is secured by a core stainless steel wire, the DNA of 3M Peltor. The spring load stays the same over time no matter how the conditions change.  To make the design feel more cohesive, our design team worked on an idea to cover the wires on the headband in an open and breathy design. This also increased the strength and safety, since the headband is electrically insulated. It was a massive challenge to over-mold the entire headband with TPE and the team struggled to find a manufacturing solution. Finally a ‘fixing part’ concept was developed. The fixing part is a hard plastic part that keeps the wires in their correct position in the molding tool. It also makes it possible to pre-assemble all the headband parts before molding. The plastics are all of high quality and are extremely tactile. The contrast between the different materials is visually appealing, and communicates the thoughtful, detail-oriented focus of the design work. 

The designers have really created something completely new. All the way from the design idea to every aspect of the finished product they have been true to the Peltor heritage.

Robert Karlsson Technical Project Manager at 3M

The Peltor™ Earmuffs X Series are color-coded for easy selection. Bright and modern colors provide visibility on the job and creates a distinct and recognizable product appearance. All these changes resulted in a differentiating look for the new earmuffs, setting them apart from the competition in safety, comfort and style. Overall, the 3M Peltor X series combines excellent protection with supreme comfort, with a professional and stylish look.

Our collaboration with Veryday resulted in an outstanding design, working with dedicated designers was critical to our success.

Robert Karlsson, Technical Project Manager at 3M