Istrian Company Receives Award: Buzet-Made Helmets Exported Across World

Lauren Simmonds

As Glas Istre/Gordana Calic Sverko writes on the 18th of April, 2020, the Istrian company PAB Akrapovic is entirely export-oriented, and they expect their latest helmet to further progress their already impressive business results. At a premiere at the end of last year at the Düsseldorf trade show in Germany, this Istrian company based in Buzet thrilled potential customers. Orders started before the helmets could even be certified, and production begins in early May this year.

Some call the award this Istrian company has received the ”Oscar for design”. It’s one of the most renowned awards for product, industrial and communication design in the entire world, it is awarded in various categories by a jury of international experts, and it just arrived in the hands of PAB Akrapovic, an innovative Istrian company from Buzet. Namely, the company’s latest PAB FIRE 05 fire helmet, has been awarded the 2020 Red Dot Award for product design..

”We applied for the first time and were immediately recognised. And in such a way! The Red Dot Award, one of the most renowned awards for industrial design in the world, has definitely been received with absolute pleasure by the owner and CEO of the Istrian company, Miha Akrapovic, who praised the young team and the company’s development manager, Marko Basic.

Everyone is in charge of their segment, from testing, designing, constructing… and together this company has created a product that will be sold worldwide. This level of acknowledgment is just a confirmation that they are very much on the right track.

The award-winning Croatian protective visor helmet, the fifth in a series of professional firefighting helmets, is entirely their work. They developed the new product themselves as an upgrade to all previous series’ featuring functionality and aesthetics. It takes at least two years to develop such a product before its launch on the market. The helmet should be tested for impact, radiation, and temperature. Everything is done in Buzet except the main test during which the whole helmet is set on fire, which is carried out at an institute in Milan, Italy.

”When I came to this company fifteen years ago, a certificate for one helmet and visor cost seven thousand euros, and now it costs almost ninety thousand euros for certification,” Miha Akrapovic noted.

The Buzet-based company specialising in the development and production of professional firefighting helmets, as well as those used during technical interventions, forest firefighting and altitude rescue, is unique in the national context as it is the only manufacturer of firefighter helmets in the whole of the Republic of Croatia. It is also recognisable on the global market, and for many Buzet locals, today, the Istrian company is synonymous with its founder Ivan Akrapovic, who founded it as a young engineer in 1953 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and then moved to Buzet in 1978.

Ivan, and his grandson Miha, who succeeded him in taking over the family business, is said to have established a way of working that could be called “old school.” He primarily focused on product quality, so he would surely be proud of the company’s remarkable latest developments.

PAB Akrapovic employs about sixty workers who are mainly from the Buzet area. These Buzet helmets are shipped almost all over the world, and are marketed through distributors. This Istrian company is completely export-oriented. Almost 99 percent of their production is marketed abroad, from Europe all the way to Brazil and China, and most notably to Middle Eastern countries. They expect their latest helmet to further strengthen their business results.

Currently, this Istrian company has stated that it isn’t feeling the effects of the coronavirus crisis at the moment, but it is difficult to assess whether or not the situation will remain as such.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia page for more on Croatian companies, production and innovation.


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