It is the betterment of health, comfort and productivity of professionals carrying the weight of tools, instruments and other gear that has driven Duckbill to engineer and advance their platforms.

Extensive research has gone into what, and more importantly why, most professionals carrying heavy loads deal with chronic aches, pains and discomfort.

It's not unusual for a typical fully equipped and loaded tool belt to weigh between 6 and 16 pounds. If the belt fails to carry the necessary weight evenly and comfortably, then the users' body, specifically the muscular-skeletal, nervous and circulatory system, must adjust. Here are the facts:

The effects on muscles and bones.

The muscular skeletal system is impacted in at least five ways by an improperly designed tool belt platform.

First: Tool and gear weight, when it's improperly allocated around the waist, causes the user to compensate in unnatural and unintended ways. With too much weight in the front, the body compensates by pulling backward against the weight. This causes a routine pelvic rotation and the hyperextension of the spine causing cumulative pain and discomfort.

Second: With too much weight on one side, the body compensates by routinely leaning against the weight in the offside direction resulting in a twist to the spine and discomfort in the neck and shoulders.

Third: When the duty belt is cinched too tightly it compresses the abdominal muscles and inhibits their full functionality. The wearer is inclined to overuse the back muscles to compensate for the cumulative weakness in the abdominal muscles. The compensatory pull applied by the back muscles is exacerbated among overweight useres. Again, the routine pelvic rotation and the hyperextension of the spine that results causes cumulative back pain and discomfort.

Fourth: When a tool belt and the accessories on it are cinched too tight, a user will feel some nerve and circulatory discomfort and often muscular-skeletal pain caused by hyperextension of spine and associated muscles.

Fifth: Most tool belt platforms utilize slotted modules and pouches. This allows for modules that carry the weight of tools and gear to shift and creep along and around a tool belt. With this movement comes compensatory movement of the users' muscles. The instability of this situation often leads to muscle fatigue and discomfort.


The effects on nerves and circulation.

The portion of the nervous system that innervates the lower extremities.
The lumbar plexus and the sacral plexus, located at the lower end of the spinal cord form a kind of fibrous conduit that funnels nerves and nerve signals to and from the spinal cord. Lumbar nerves supply sensory information toward the brain and motor signals to the lower parts of the abdomen and back, the buttocks and parts of the legs. And sacral nerves supply sensory information toward the brain and motor signals to thighs and lower parts of the legs and the feet. The longest nerve in the body is the sciatic nerve. It emerges out of the sacral plexus and down into each leg.

Most tool belts cross over the lumbosacral plexus and a user will feel pain whenever the belt impinges on it. The effect is continuous or near continuous pain and numbness transmitted through the sciatic, sacral and lumbar nerves in the lower back, in the thighs and lower legs and feet.

The arterial portion of the circulatory system that carries oxygenated blood to the lower extremities.
The thoracic aorta carries blood south. At waist level the aorta bifurcates to feed the legs and lower extremities. The blood to the legs is fed through the common iliac arteries and the iliac extension through the femoral arteries. Blood flow can be restricted at the front of the waist by a tool belt. Good blood flow is a function of healthy blood pressure. When blood circulation is constricted at the waist by a combination of belt weight and/or belt tightness, blood flow readjusts to compensate for the restriction. When blood pressure is constricted, even temporarily, particularly when it's being transported back to the heart through the veins, a user can feel slightly dizzy, experience temporary shortness of breath or reduced blood flow to the skin, feet and hands. These areas may become cold, temporarily less flexible, less useable and slightly discolored. Cold blood is also slightly more viscous and compounds the transport-through-a-constricted-space problem.




AXIAlign™

The Duckbill AXIAlign
™ approach seeks to maintain the axial alignment of the spinal column and eliminate or reduce torque, shear and stress in two ways. One: by sharing the load among more of the purpose-built muscular and skeletal structures in the body. Two: by giving the user flexibility and control over his/her body type and where/how/when the weight is most comfortably allocated.

The Power Zone

The power zone is the area closest to the spinal column when it's erect. Good ergonomic design insists on maximizing user comfort and ease of tool access without violating the power zone.

We have identified the design principles that output a platform ergonomically loaded with interchangeable task-specific modules that are configured to purge distended weight.

 

Maximum Connectivity

The Duckbill MaxCon docking technology is a patented solution to modules that shift and creep along a tool belt. By utilizing Velcro® on our modules, belts and suspenders in an overlapping clamshell design, we can assure that once positioned, our modules will not move. This leads to two main benefits. First: It provides a stable plaform without the need for incremental muscle adjustment during the course of the day which often leads to muscles fatigue and discomfort. Second: With 100% connectivity between modules and belt, 360° of support and weight distribution is achieved around the users' waist which provides a "suspension" of the weight leading to a more ergonomic and comfortable experience.

 

Customizable Module and Tool Location

As a result of Duckbill's MaxCon docking technology, the user is able to position our modules anywhere on the platform they choose. This allows for the most comfortable and convenient location and tool access for each individual. If wearing our suspenders, the vertical plane of the front struts can also be utilized, putting often used gear within easy reach. If the tool mix changes, our modules are easy to reposition, once again putting the tool-set in the most convenient location for the individual. This all reduces the number of bending, twisting, lifting and shearing events, leading to a more productive and comfortable experience.

 

 

 

 

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