Arc Flash Wear
Resources 01

Fabric Selection

It is essential to priortise fabric performance above all other considerations to arrive at a fabric selection best suited to your unique needs.

FABRIC SELECTION 


One of the greatest risks employees face in manufacturing and industrial environments is operating under conditions where the potential for arc flash and flash fire injuries is high. In these environments, it is important that workers utilise the proper PPE to keep themselves safe in the workplace.

Flame resistant (FR) and arc rated (AR) workwear is an essential component of PPE for personnel working in an environment where contact with heat, flame or arc flash is likely. Workers exposed to flammable liquids, open flame, high-energy electric components or combustible dusts are at high risk for serious and sometimes fatal injuries due to arc flash or flash fire. In addition to adhering to safety standards, understanding proper care for FR/AR apparel is equally important. Precautions must be taken when laundering and mending garments to ensure the apparel retains its flame resistant qualities and keeps employees safe.

Selecting the 'perfect' FR/AR fabric is a complex process. These fabrics have particular properties, which either provide benefits or shortcomings. Fabric manufacturers blend fibres in an attempt to balance these individual properties to maximise fabric performance. Blended FR and AR fabrics are constructed using a combination of inherent or inherent/treated fibres woven or knitted together. The inherent fibres are synthetic materials engineered to have their own flame or arc resistant properties. Treated fibres are typically organic materials, for example cotton. The fibres are blended together to create fabrics that have a combination of properties that would be difficult to achieve using inherent or treated fibres alone, for example being lightweight and durable. 

 


The key to specifying a quality fabric for any protective garment is to analyse the hazards employees face.

If protection is equal, choosing a fabric becomes a matter of comfort, user preferences and consensus standards performance.

All FR and AR fabrics must meet one or more of:

  • NFPA 2112
  • CGSB 155.20
  • NFPA 70E

When specifying fabric for protective garments, Westex, the manufacturer of industry leading arc flash and flash fire resistant UltraSoft®, recommends end users consider five key criteria.

  • Does the fabric meet hazard requirements.
  • How does the fabric perform in laboratory evaluation.
  • How does the fabric perform in the real world over time.
  • Does the fabric demonstrate performance and longevity characteristics important to the end user.
  • Will employees want to wear it. 

 

HOW FR FABRICS ARE TESTED

Fabric test methods for evaluating flash fire and performance for baseline arc flash:

  • ASTM D6413 Vertical Flame Test
  • ASTM F1506 Flame Resistance
  • NFPA 2112 Flash Fire
  • ASTM F1930 Instrumented Mannequin Test
  • ASTM F1959 ATPV / Ebt

NASCO ARCWEAR AND PETROWEAR PROTECTIVE OUTERWEAR - ASTM STANDARDS 

  • ASTM F1891 Arc Rating
  • ASTM F2733 Flash Fire
  • ASTM F903 Chemical Splash
  • An ISO 9001:2015 Company
  • Digitally mastered patterns
  • Computerised assembly techniques

ABOUT ARAMID FIBRES


Aramid fibres (meta-aramid and para-aramid) are a man-made class of synthetic, high-performance fibres with molecules characterised by relatively rigid polymer chains linked through powerful hydrogen bonds that effectively transfer mechanical stress. The term aramid is short for 'aromatic polyamide'. Aromatic polyamides were first applied commercially as meta-aramid fibres in the 1960s, with para-aramid fibres being developed in the 1970s. The first commercial aromatic polyamide was produced by DuPont™ and branded Nomex®. Thanks to its strength and heat resistance combined with tactile characteristics that were close to normal textiles, Nomex® was quickly adopted for a number of uses including protective apparel, insulation and more.

In addition to Nomex®, other leading brands of aramid fibres include DuPont™ Kevlar®, Kermel, Modacrylic and Twaron®, Technora® and Teijinconex®. Aramid fibres are renowned for their high tensile strength. Aside from their resistance to abrasion and piercing, they also have high resistance to organic solvents and intense heat. They have no melting point and only begin to degrade at extremely high temperatures. They also have low flammability.

FR and AR garments made with premium materials deliver superior heat, flame, arc flash and flash fire protection while providing lightweight, comfortable solutions that meet or exceed industry standards.

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ABOUT KERMEL 


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Since its foundation, Kermel has designed the best protective solutions so that professionals can fight electric arc and fire with the highest levels of safety.

Kermel is a leading European solution provider of textile innovations made from its heat and flame resistant fibres; yarns, fabrics, knits, FR protective clothing are adapted to specific needs of end users.

Fire suits for firefighters, together with protective clothing for public order squads, police, military and industrial uses are some of the most popular applications chosen for total protection.

ABOUT WOOL - NATURE'S MIRACLE FIBRE


 

Regarded as nature's miracle fibre, Wool's naturally inherent benefits make it a fibre of choice for FR workwear.

 

 

This 3D animation showcases the complex chemical structure of Wool fibre, which allows us to delve into the makeup of the fibre and show why Wool is one of the world's most technically advanced fibres.