Product Development and Testing

How We Design: Halcyon Product Development

Much of Halcyon's reputation was earned through the hard work of underwater cave exploration in Florida, Europe, and Mexico. In the company's early days, Halcyon product development meetings were likely to be held in a Tallahassee sushi bar after a hard weekend of cave exploration. Everyone would debate about how the current wing made a dive more or less comfortable, or how changing a material would be an improvement. While some of us were putting the gear through its paces in the caves, others were doing the same on wreck and reefs from the Baltic to the Caribbean. As soon as the feedback filtered in, a new batch of wings with the suggested changes in place would roll out of the factory, made better by the previous two weekends of diving.

Some things have changed over the years, but only by a matter of degrees.

Halcyon is still one of the only major dive manufacturers to house a significant amount of production capability in one location. Our High Springs, Florida, factory affords us unparalleled ability to design, prototype, build, and test gear in one place. Our product development team includes most of the senior staff at Halcyonand the input of a select team of divers worldwide.

We obsessover every possible detail. New materials are constantly being evaluated in an effort to tweak as much performance as possible out of an existing design. Ideas for new products are hashed out in the meeting, then materials are sourced and CAD drawings created to be used as our manufacturing blueprint. Production Manager Steve Pulliam works with our machinists, fabric welders, seamstresses, and assemblers to create a prototype. By the end of the week, the development team can have samples in the water for evaluation.

Once a new design or upgrade has been thoroughly tested in-house, we turn to our team of test divers for the second round of evaluations. Halcyon's team of product testers includes some of the most recognized names in exploration and dive instruction. We send gear around the world to get feedback on operation in every conceivable environment. Halcyon might be in Florida, but our gear only makes it to you by a route that includes real-world testing in the Baltic and the Pacific, by way of New England, the Great Lakes, and the South China Sea.

Once suggestions are made for improvements, the process begins again—and it continues until we're convinced that we've made the best possible product. Another advantage of keeping design, testing, and production under one roof: when we catch a problem with a material or design, we have the capability to identify and remedy the problem as quickly as possible. Halcyon is dedicated to doing the right thing to make sure every bit of gear that leaves the factory meets the highest standards found in the dive industry.

Of course, design is just the first step in a process that includes close control of the manufacturing process, ranging from the fabrication of our own tools to production of Halcyon gear and finally to our rigorous in-house quality control team.