Al Buczkowski: Welcome everybody to Radio Free Tenacity, the Voice of Worker Safety. We’re here today with Aaron Skemp, a key member of our Ergodyne innovation team. Aaron, thanks for joining us today buddy. What do we have?
Aaron Skemp: Thanks Al. We got a couple unique new knee pads solutions. They are true strapless knee pads, so it's a knee sleeve is what we’re calling them.
Al Buczkowski: Yeah, I mean, that's the first thing that jumps out at me looking at these two new knee pads. No straps, right? So it looks a little bit more like something Steph Curry would wear kind of chasing down a loose ball rather than laying tile or whatever. Right?
Aaron Skemp: Yeah. And actually, that's some of the inspiration we took was from the sports world where a lot of the knee pads are built for anti-impact. And what we try to do is take some of that inspiration of the sleeve concept and bring it in with some cushioning on the inside for those prolonged kneeling.
Al Buczkowski: Awesome. So yeah, with the sleeve design, obviously that looks like something that would fit your leg pretty snugly. Is that something that you wear under your pants, under shorts, or can you wear that over your work pants as well?
Aaron Skemp: Yeah. So that's actually one of the cool things about these designs is they're pretty versatile. You can wear them over your work pants, you can wear them with shorts for some of those DIY projects. It's really nice and comfortable. Low profile. One of the cool things about the sleeve itself is the back panel is all mesh, so adding some extra comfort and breathability.
Al Buczkowski: Oh sure. Yeah, keep things cool, I could see that. Awesome. And then I know one of the biggest complaints workers have just talking to you around the office is kind of keeping that knee pad in place. Right. What do you. What do you call it?
Aaron Skemp: Crawling out the front, or falling out the side. Yeah.
Al Buczkowski: Yeah. So what are some of the design considerations here? Obviously, you know, it's a snug sleeve. But what other things are built into the design to make sure that doesn't happen.
Aaron Skemp: Yeah. So that was one of the key things we focused on when designing the knee pad sleeves were we added these silicone strips on the top and bottom to really keep that in place. And then on the pad designs for both of these, we added these and they look like wings on the sides. So when you actually wear it, it conforms to your knee. So it moves with you. So when you're crawling, walking up and down, working on different tasks, it just stays in place.
Al Buczkowski: Right on. Well, I mean, all that right there would be enough to convince me to maybe ditch a traditional style knee pad for these. Now, would I be able to wear these knee pads in any application I'd wear a traditional knee pad?
Aaron Skemp: Yeah, absolutely. And that's another one of the cool things about speaking to the versatility of the product is both of these have very tough, durable, abrasion resistant outer padding, but they're also non marring. So you can do some of those flooring finishing type delicate applications as well. So it really spans the spectrum of different tasks.
Al Buczkowski: Got it. So we've covered this sleeve design, kind of some of the applications. One thing I do notice a difference on is the style of pad on each of these. So why don't you start out, you're holding the 550 model right now. Why don't you walk us through that pad design?
Aaron Skemp: Sure. So this is our more premium of the two options. It's actually a three layer foam is what you're seeing here on the pad. That outer layer being a PU film. So that tough abrasion resistant will hold up against any surface layer. The thickness of it is a PU comfort foam. And then on the most inner part of the pad itself is our neoprene comfort foam. So that's that gives it that gel like feel for those prolonged kneeling applications.
Al Buczkowski: Got it. And then moving over to the model 525, tell us a little bit about that pad style.
Aaron Skemp: Yeah. So this is our lightweight version of the knee pad sleeve. It's an EVA foam, really lightweight and flexible. We have this trihex pattern that moves with your knee and conforms to it really nicely. And then we use an abrasion resistant fabric. So we tested all sorts of different fabrics on this, and we went with one that was really strong for those abrasive surfaces that you can kneel on. It tested to over 50,000 cycles on the Martindale Abrasion Tester, which is kind of an industry standard for fabrics, testing the strength of it.
Al Buczkowski: Okay. Not being completely familiar with the test myself, is that 50,000 number, I think you said that's on the super high end?
Aaron Skemp: That’s on the way high side of it.
Al Buczkowski: All right. Awesome. Well, again, you know, you're making a good case for these knee pads and could completely see why I might want to convert to these. And I know these are brand new to the market, but we do extensively field test before we release our solutions out in the wild. So just kind of wondering if you've had any feedback from workers already on these?
Aaron Skemp: Yeah, well, these are actually built with workers. We do these voice of customer events and got all sorts of great feedback on how we build knee pads. And the number one complaint is straps for some of that uncomfortability that can come with a strap either bunching behind your knee or the strap irritating your skin and things like that. So workers were in mind and along for the ride for designing these and some of the feedback we've gotten, we've heard things like ”knee pads I've ever had”, or my favorite is, “forgot I had these on”. They're so comfortable, which is great feedback.
Al Buczkowski: Which is what you want to hear. Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. Well, like I said, I think you've made your case here man. These look like two wonderful new solutions. I hope to see them out on the work site protecting a lot of knees here in the near future. Aaron, thanks again for joining us today. And thank you everybody for tuning in.
Al Buczkowski: Stay safe out there people.