Innovation in testing protective clothing and PPE
The James Heal team first established their Performance Testing Range having recognised the shift in consumer behaviour with trends towards ‘athleisure’ wear, and more advanced properties becoming commonplace features of everyday garments. Roll on four years from its initial launch at ITMA 2019, the James Heal Performance Testing Range has continued to expand, creating a suite of instruments that together cover a very different type of performance wear.
Further development of the range has been made to include new aspects of performance testing to incorporate what they saw as an increasing area for growth in the market for technical textiles in protective wear, particularly for first responder and military kit that has very specific challenges and testing requirements.
Each of the six performance testing instruments in the range has its own unique features, some groundbreaking. In particular, WickView having moved ahead of the current test standard for moisture wicking behaviour in fabric, and AquAbrasionwhich tests the effects of wet abrasion to better replicate real-life wear situations. Having developed their own test methods, James Heal is working with the industry to establish new standards in these revolutionary areas of textiles testing. In addition, the TruRain sustainable water repellency tester recycles water, cutting waste by 99%, and creates efficiencies to reduce operating costs by 83%. Test instruments for hydrostatic head, air permeability and drying rate complete the range.
To assist the industry with this specialist area of textile testing, James Heal has released a free whitepaper: The Lab Manager's Guide to Performance Testing.
Running alongside this innovation and complementing James Heal’s line up are the more traditional textiles testing instruments, such as for flammability, abrasion, tensile strength, and tear resistance, which together are widely used across the protective wear sectors for numerous applications to test for safety, durability, as well as comfort of the wearer.
Colin Whittaker, Business Development Manager at James Heal commented, “PPE fabrics and garments are critical for protecting first responders and military personnel in hazardous environments. They must possess specific functional attributes, such as flame resistance, thermal protection, breathability, and water resistance. They must also be tested to ensure that they meet the necessary standards for effectiveness and safety. The construction of these fabrics and garments is complex, often involving specialised techniques and a combination of fibres to achieve the desired characteristics. Our range of test instruments covers these complex requirements, and will continue to be developed alongside the ongoing advancement of technology in textiles.”
Established in Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1872, James Heal design and manufacture textile testing instruments, which are used worldwide. The brand became part of the wider PPT Group in 2014, with a number of sister brands each focusing on testing many aspects of materials and products.