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Howell Test Fixture

$795.00


Optional for Howell SkiBindings — but suggested.

Available now.

 

        Howell Test Fixture (sm) validates, demonstrates and calibrates the unique settings for ACL-friendly Howell SkiBindings with additional, lateral-heel release.  

       Photo 1.  ‘Howell Test Fixture bolted to ski-tuning bench.  ‘Bench not included.

       Photo 2.  ‘Fixture firmly holding an alpine ski-boot.  

       Photo 3.  The ski is held only by the binding;  the binding is held only by the boot;  the boot is rigidly held by the fixture.

       Photo 4.  (Beta) Howell SkiBindings release setting recommendations chart for all 3 modes of release — torsion-about the long-axis of the tibia for lateral-toe release settings;  forward-bending-moment for forward-heel settings;  and abduction-moment for lateral-heel settings.

       Photo 5.  Current Howell SkiBindings release setting recommendations chart for verifying lateral-heel settings — by testing the complete ski-boot-binding system (see footnotes on chart). 

       Made of 303 stainless-steel — the Howell Test Fixture is one piece, welded.  Two stainless-steel micro-fiddle blocks and two high-strength sailing lines are included and pre-assembled.  The bench and bolts for mounting the fixture to a bench are not included.  Wooden shipping container and detailed instructions are included.  Total shipping weight including wooden shipping container: 11 pounds.  FOB Québec, Canada.


       Howell Test Fixture and its test-method rely on a combination of …

1—  … industry standardized recommended settings — DIN / ISO 8061 — for the ordinary 2-mode functions of Howell SkiBindings — lateral-toe and forward-heel;  

2—  … Howell SkiBindings pre-set for ordinary 2-mode function — including calibrated measurement of the recommended torsional release torque setting from point #1;  

3—  … the test-fixture’s ability to solidly-hold any ski-boot on just about any sturdy bench — to allow lateral-force to be user-applied to the ski that is held only by its binding.  

       ( Boot-sole length is automatically-factored.) 

       In this way, the special lateral-heel settings of Howell SkiBindings are tested to compare with the expected-settings.  

       The measurement-metric that is specified to test the lateral-heel settings is the position of the applied-abduction-force on the ski.  The special positions on the ski that are specified by Howell SkiBindings are conceptually-based on matching the actual vertical-distance from the base of the ski at the projected-axis of the tibia to the center of a given skier’s knee (‘abduction lever-arm’) — matched to the same distance between the mid-sole-mark on the mounted-ski-boot to a ‘zone’ on the back-half of the ski (the off-set between the boot’s mid-sole-mark and the projected-axis of the tibia is factored into Howell-recommended setting-specifications).  We call the special zone on the back-section of the ski, the ‘Transition-Zone’.  (The size of the specified Transition-Zone represents the average expected friction within the ski-boot-binding system.)  It’s generally not practical to measure the distance from the base of the ski to the center of a given skier’s knee.  Therefore, we provide a special chart that estimates the length of the abduction-lever-arm, which estimate also represents the position of the Transition-Zone on the ski — based on skier weight, gender, average boot-sole thickness under the heel, and the stand-height of Howell SkiBindings — including a tolerance, to form the size of the Transition-Zone’.  ‘See special BETA chart in photo gallery. 

A margin-of-release is imbedded into the Howell-setting-specifications based upon the ‘remaining-distance’ from the boot’s mid-sole-mark to the virtual-pivot that is formed by the lateral-heel release-binding’s toe-cup (that’s not a typo — that’s right, the toe-cup).  This ‘remaining-distance’ automatically-factors variation in boot-sole length to scale the margin-of-release in the lateral-heel mode of release.  Again, see special BETA chart in photo gallery for specifications.  

Howell-recommended lateral-heel release-setting specifications apply ONLY to Howell SkiBindings.

     Testing to validate lateral-heel release settings can be completed in minutes.  

     Testing should take place every 30 skiing-days or before the beginning of each ski season, which ever comes first.

     ‘Metallic-foot is fully-integrated.

     Howell Test Fixture is intended for ski shops — but can be purchased and used by any skier or ski shop.  

     (( ‘Also useful for demonstrating how ordinary 2-mode alpine bindings have no possibility of providing ACL or MCL friendly skiing at any setting.))


Detailed Test Method:
  

(1)  All three visual release indicators on left and right Howell SkiBindings should be ‘pre-set’ according to the ‘Howell SkiBindings Recommended Release Setting Chart’ — which lateral-toe and forward-heel pre-settings conform to DIN/ISO 9462 and ISO 8061 for ordinary 2-mode bindings.  See BETA chart in photo gallery (BETA — and not for use with any ski-bindings other than Howell SkiBindings.  This beta chart will be updated prior to October, 2023).  No standards apply to Howell SkiBindings lateral-heel release settings because this is an additional mode of release that is not provided (yet) by other alpine ski-binding companies.  Boots must conform to ISO 5355 — the main international alpine ski boot standard.  Boots must not have metal inserts for ‘pin-bindings’ (‘pin-bindings’ are hardly “tech” and can cause horrific tibia-tuberosity fracture).

(2)  Mount the Howell Test Fixture to a sturdy bench.

(3)  Firmly affix the ski-boot to the Howell Test Fixture by cinching the 2 high-tech sailing lines with the micro-fiddle blocks as depicted in the above photos.

(4)  (( 4.a)   Measure the distance from the base of the ski to the center of the knee — measure along the side of the lower leg — then transfer that same distance from the boot’s mid-sole-mark to the back-half of the ski and add +/- 4cm to mark a ‘transition-zone’ on the ski. ))  

   — OR —

(4.b)   Select the recommended ‘Transition-Zone’ from the Howell Lateral-Heel Release Settings Chart.  ‘See photo gallery.  (BETA — and not for use with any ski-bindings other than Howell SkiBindings.  This beta chart will be updated prior to October, 2023).  

If both ways of generating a Transition-Zone are deployed, use the longer distance.

(5)   Mark both end-points (the +/-4cm range) of the Transition-Zone on the ski.

(6)  Attach the ski to the boot that is securely held by the Howell Test Fixture.  

(7)   Semi-loosely secure the ski at 2-points through the use of your own ‘limiter-lines’ to block the range of motion of the released ski to prevent injury to the person conducting the tests.

(8)  Apply abduction (lateral) force to the inside-edge of the ski as follows:

     (8.a)  Apply lateral force with a gloved-hand to the ski at a point located 5 cm greater-than the Transition-Zone — to cause lateral-toe release;

     (8.b)  Apply lateral-force with a gloved hand to the ski at a point located 5 cm less-than the Transition-Zone — to cause lateral-heel release.

(9)   If lateral-toe release AND lateral-heel release do not take place as described in points #8.a AND #8.b (both conditions) do NOT change the lateral-toe release-settings.  Do not change the forward release-settings.  Do not change the forward-pressure settings.  Change ONLY the special additional lateral-heel release settings in Howell SkiBindings — provided, however, that no change in the lateral-heel release-indicator setting is greater than 2 lateral-heel release-indicator numbers.

(10)  If a change of more than 2 lateral-heel release-indicator numbers is required to cause the function that is specified in points #8.a AND #8.b — a list of ‘Troubleshooting Actions’ is provided by Howell SkiBindings to correct the function of the ski-boot-binding system.  (The few problems that arise are typically with the boot-interface ... and can be easily resolved ... for example, by removing mold-flashings on the boot sole.)

(11)   If, after applying the Troubleshooting Actions, the functions in points #8.a AND #8.b are still not occurring — the binding, the boot, or both — are defective and/or incompatible and should be returned to Howell SkiBindings (and/or to the respective ski-boot company) for warranty replacement.  

     In the unlikely adverse-scenario of point #11 — Howell SkiBindings are most likely remaining in compliance with ordinary 2-mode alpine binding function according to DIN / ISO 9462:  ordinary 2-mode testing procedures can verify compliance.  However — ACL, MCL, meniscus, tibial-plateau friendly skiing may be adversely compromised, just as it is always compromised with all ordinary 2-mode alpine bindings. 

     Using the Howell Test Fixture is simple and fast once the above methods are understood.

      Use of the Howell Test Fixture is optional with Howell SkiBindings — but suggested.

 

Available now.
     

Biomechanical Proof

     Howell Test Fixture is based on 20-years of intensively focused biomechanical research conducted by Rick Howell — peer-reviewed and approved by bona fide scientific committees at major international orthopedic / engineering / skiing safety conferences ...

     International Society for Skiing Safety (ISSS) Pontresina, Switzerland, 2003 (presented by University of Montréal biomechanical engineering researchers based on a 2001 grant-application promulgated by Rick Howell (Canadian federal government IRAP grant:  outcome published in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Fitness).  All other venues listed below involve scientific presentations investigated and presented by Rick Howell ) ...

... ISSS-Niigata, Japan, 2005;  ISSS-Aviemore, Scotland, 2007;  ISSS-Bariloche, Argentina, 2013;  ISSS-Cortina, Italy, 2015;  ISSS-Innsbruck, Austria, 2017;  ISSS-Squaw Valley, USA, 2019;  ISSS-Serre Chevalier, France, 2022.

     SITEMSH (International Medical Society for Skiing Safety [Société Internationale de Traumatologie et Médecine des Sports d’Hiver]) SITEMSH-Flachau, Austria, 2014;  SITEMSH-Inawashiro, Japan, 2016;  SITEMSH-Barcelona, Spain, 2018;  SITEMSH-Serre Chevalier, France, 2022.

     International Olympic Committee (IOC) World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport, Monaco, 2017,  and again in Monaco, 2021;

     European Society for Knee Surgery, Arthroscopy and Sports Traumatology (ESSKA), Barcelona, Spain, 2016 — peer-reviewed, approved, and published in British Journal of Sports Medicine;  and ESSKA-Virtual (originally organized to be held in Madrid, Spain — but became virtual due to the pandemic), May, 2021.

     International Society for Science in Skiing (ICSS), Voukatti, Finland, 2019. 

 

Biomechanical Engineering-Technology

        The biomechanical engineering-technology behind ACL-Friendly Howell SkiBindings and Howell-specified lateral-heel settings is simple.

        During ‘Slip-Catch’ or ‘Phantom Foot’ injury-events with shaped-skis, large abduction-moments are generated when the center of the forces that act between the snow and a shaped-ski enter the shaped-ski, laterally, close-behind the projected-axis of the tibia.  Shaped-skis do not slip at one end — thus, rotation about the tibia-axis is minimal while lateral-movement of the shaped-ski (relative to the position of the knee) is maximal.  The center of the abduction-forces that enters a shaped-ski is not sensed by ordinary 2-mode alpine ski bindings because it is located close to the tibia-axis:  there is no effective lever-arm within an ordinary 2-mode binding to produce ordinary 2-mode release.  There’s no possibility of release before ACL-rupture, irrespectively of the release-settings:  a child’s toe-setting would still prevent release before ACL-rupture.  This phenomena occurs because the same centrally-located abduction-force that enters the ski at the ski/snow interface, acts over the length of the lower-leg (in-part, the ‘abduction-lever-arm’) to produce a large abduction-moment across the ACL, MCL, meniscus, tibial-plateau and femoral condoles — to cause severe traumatic injury to these tissues …

        ... unless

        ... a special binding with additional, non-pre-releasing, lateral-heel release (also with special settings for lateral-heel release — see above) reads and reacts to the forces that are generated by shaped-skis during highly-loaded Slip-Catch or Phantom-Foot events.  ‘A 3-mode binding.

        HOWEVER — AN  IMPORTANT  HOWEVER — special bindings with additional lateral-heel release and specially-tuned lateral-heel release-settings MUST NOT pre-release.  Howell SkiBindings uniquely provide key know-how and key technology to block pre-release without high settings in all 3-modes of release.  Anti-pre-release is uniquely and decisively provided by Howell SkiBindings by ‘decoupling’ of each of the 3-modes of release (decoupling each mode from the others) AND by decoupling each mode of release from skiing-control modes that do not need release (edging).  See ‘Retention’ and ‘Edge Control’ sub-links in the Menu.  Each of the 3 modes of release in Howell SkiBindings is a separate system (3 separate springs;  3 separate cams):  each of the 3 modes of release function without being adversely effected by each other.  Further, all 3 separate release cams in Howell SkiBindings are widely-off-set knuckle-joints that filter-out the compressive forces caused by ski-flex from the release-functions.  Ski-flex can cause pre-release in all other brands of bindings — including in newly-announced soon-forthcoming competitors — unless they have highly elevated settings: highly elevated settings block necessary release!  Still further, each release-cam in Howell SkiBindings rotates in a way that is uninfluenced by edging.  Other bindings do not provide all of these combined features and functions because Howell know-how has refined them during 4 decades of research, development, testing, testing and … testing.  Lastly, the secret sauce is that Howell SkiBindings accomplishes all of these combined functions, simply.  ‘Simple’ importantly translates to durable and reliable.  All Howell-developed products (5 worldwide #1-sellers) embody the hallmark of robust-function within simple-execution.

 

 

 



Biomechanical Engineering-Technology

        The biomechanical engineering-technology behind ACL-Friendly Howell SkiBindings and Howell-specified lateral-heel settings is simple.

        During ‘Slip-Catch’ or ‘Phantom Foot’ injury-events with shaped-skis, large abduction-moments are generated when the center of the forces that act between the snow and a shaped-ski enter the shaped-ski, laterally, close-behind the projected-axis of the tibia.  Shaped-skis do not slip at one end — thus, rotation about the tibia-axis is minimal while lateral-movement of the shaped-ski (relative to the position of the knee) is maximal.  The center of the abduction-forces that enters a shaped-ski is not sensed by ordinary 2-mode alpine ski bindings because it is located close to the tibia-axis:  there is no effective lever-arm within an ordinary 2-mode binding to produce ordinary 2-mode release.  There’s no possibility of release before ACL-rupture, irrespectively of the release-settings:  a child’s toe-setting would still prevent release before ACL-rupture.  This phenomena occurs because the same centrally-located abduction-force that enters the ski at the ski/snow interface, acts over the length of the lower-leg (in-part, the ‘abduction-lever-arm’) to produce a large abduction-moment across the ACL, MCL, meniscus, tibial-plateau and femoral condoles — to cause severe traumatic injury to these tissues …

        ... unless

        ... a special binding with additional, non-pre-releasing, lateral-heel release (also with special settings for lateral-heel release — see above) reads and reacts to the abduction-loads that are generated by shaped-skis during highly-loaded Slip-Catch or Phantom-Foot events.

        HOWEVER — AN  IMPORTANT  HOWEVER — special bindings with additional lateral-heel release and specially-tuned lateral-heel release-settings MUST NOT pre-release.  Howell SkiBindings uniquely provide key know-how and key technology to block pre-release without high settings in all 3-modes of release.  Anti-pre-release is uniquely and decisively provided by Howell SkiBindings by ‘decoupling’ of each of the 3-modes of release (decoupling each mode from the others) — AND by decoupling each mode of release from skiing-control modes that do not need release (edging).  See ‘Retention’ and ‘Edge Control’ sub-links in the Menu.  Each of the 3 modes of release in Howell SkiBindings is a separate system (3 separate springs;  3 separate cams):  each of the 3 modes of release function without being adversely effected by each other.  Further, all 3 release cams in Howell SkiBindings are widely-off-set knuckle-joints that filter-out the compressive forces caused by ski-flex — ‘filter-out’ from the release-functions.  Still further, each release-cam rotates in a way that is uninfluenced by edging.  Other bindings do not provide all of these combined features and functions because Howell know-how has refined them during 4 decades of research, development, testing, testing and … testing.  Lastly, the secret sauce is that Howell SkiBindings accomplishes all of these combined functions, simply.  ‘Simple’ importantly translates to durable and reliable.  All Howell-developed products (5 worldwide #1-sellers) embody the hallmark of robust-function within simple-execution.

      

        100%  303 stainless steel:  7.75-pounds.  
       
        Shipping weight:  11-pounds.

        Lifetime Limited Warranty.

        Available now.

 

 

Howell SkiBindings, Inc.

P.O. Box 1274,  Stowe, Vermont 05672  USA

802-793-4849

 


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‘Howell Test Fixture’ (sm) is a Service Mark of Howell SkiBindings (sm).

Copyright © 2022 by Howell SkiBindings, Inc.; Howell Product Development Holding, Inc.;  and by Rick Howell.  All rights reserved.

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