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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

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Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about our workwear and our company services. If you have any further questions, we would like to hear from you – please contact us at sales@progarm.com

 

What does Lifetime Seam Guarantee mean?
The Guarantee applies to the main structural seams on the garment. The Guarantee is not valid if the seam has split due to mechanical damage which includes tears or cuts as a result of sharp edges or tools, or if the fabric is otherwise worn out from general wear and tear. In the unlikely event that you should have any issues, please contact our UK sales office to discuss.
What are Delivery Times for ProGARM products?

The product range consists of Core Products which are featured on this website. We stock, or have in production garments within these product ranges in an assortment of sizes. In-Stock products can be dispatched within 24hours from our warehouse, or for stock holding, please contact the UK sales office to discuss further.

Charges are incurred for orders below £150, and that delivery outside of UK will be longer than 24 hours, and we will advise when the order is placed.

ATPV v’s Box Test Method
It is the opinion of the UK technical committee PEL/78 that the “Box Test” does not provide the user with a realistic and reliable test. A premise of this test is that the fault currents will not exceed 4000 A or 7000 A (4kA or 7kA) and the worker will not be closer than the specified distance from the arc - in reality this cannot be guaranteed.

The energy on the worker’s body is directly proportional to the length of the arc, the current and the duration of the arc.For example, if a worker is positioned at 60 cm from the arc and is exposed to 4 cal/cm2, at 30 cm from the arc the energy will be approximately 16 cal/cm2. Experience in the field has shown that hazards can range in strength starting from 3 or 4 cal/cm2 to levels higher than 40 cal/cm2. 

The UK technical committee PEL/78 believes that IEC 61482-1-1 will provide the best way to determine whether a particular material will provide the best protection for the worker for any given job”

Quotation taken from the National Forward of BS EN 61482-1-2 

ProGARM garments are tested to the European Box Test Method as has been the preferred and requested Test Method. However, many garments in the collection are now certified to also include the APTV or EBT Cal rating.
Garments stating GO/RT 3279 Version 6 not Version 7
Some of our garments currently state certification to GO/RT Issue 6, when in fact a more recent version of this document was released in September 2012. The protective properties of any of our garments certified to Version 6 are no less than those certified to Version 7, and over time, we will upgrade the certification to the latest version. You can find more information regarding this subject in our Media section
ATPV vs EBT Arc Ratings

In the past some have asked the difference between ATPV (Arc Thermal Protection Value) and EBT (Energy Breakopen Threshold). So in this article we aim to highlight and explain the differences between ATPV or EBT.

Calorific Values

The important thing to be considered is the cal/cm2 which the fabric can support. In the US the requirements are summarised as followed:

  • Category I > 4 cal/cm2
  • Category 2 > 8 cal/cm2
  • Category 3 > 25 cal/cm2
  • Category 4 > 40 cal/cm2
What you need to know.

In the development stages of the ASTM F1959 Standard Test Method (which was used to determine the the Arc Rating of Materials for Clothing) it was quickly recognised that some materials would allow skin burn prediction to be reached before they "broke open" and others would not. Initially these had become two ratings – the first was an ATPV, an arc thermal performance value and then the other was an EBT, an energy breakopen threshold. The reason why one of these ratings was marketed better than the other was because the materials they had tested did not exhibit the "breakopen" phenomena.

This way of thinking was a mistake and later it was determined that every fiber type can breakopen before its burn prediction level is reached. Today we recognise that knits usually breakopen before the point of burning and woven cloth shows signs of burning before the breakopen point. In fact all fibers have their disadvantages and advantages. It was therefore decided that the term would be renamed to “Arc Rating”. The main reason for arc rating was so that labeling would be less technical and easier for the user to understand. Additionally it was to remove false stigma associated with EBT. The arc rating term was announced back in 2000 but it took several years for it to be fully adopted. Due to this it was decided to leave the term EBT and ATPV as a subscript or an addendum to the term Arc Rating. This means that today you will see a label with Arc Rating (ATPV) = X cal/cm² or Arc Rating (EBT) = X cal/cm². In case you do not understand what the label is telling you, both are a fifty percent probability of the behavior at which the material can give a second degree burn. The Arc Rating (EBT) fabric has not exhibited a second degree burn on the calorimeter sensors in the majority of cases because the material has a one inch crack or a ½ square inch hole which is not directly over the sensor.

Each material receives an EBT or an ATPV. Although both of these values can be reported only one of these is the Arc Rating for the fabric. According to the ASTM F1506 specification, it is only the lowest which can be used on the clothing label. In order for a piece of clothing to be arc rated in the ASTM F1506 standard, the fabric has to undergo several tests which it must pass including wash testing and vertical flammability testing using ASTM D6413 which is a small scale test. To be really flame resistant for arc flash, flash fire or any real fire conditions, the fabric must pass a battery of tests and/or a full scale test.

An additional way to look at these ratings is as follows:

Arc Rating can be of two types.

1. ATPV: This is 50% probability of second degree burn in the 8kA arc test on a flat panel.

2. EBT: This is the 50% probability of a one inch crack in the material in the 8kA arc test on a flat panel.

So the conclusion from this is that neither is better. EBT fabrics are generally more insulative than they are strong and ATPV materials are stronger than they are insulative. Usually EBT would indicate that the garment is a knit and more comfortable but essentially no less protective to the user. This means that in the future never make a clothing protection decision based on the fact that the clothing received an ATPV or an EBT as They are "functional equivalents".

With the ProGARM® brand we focus on continual improvement with Flame Retardant Workwear and are constantly developing the next new concept to protect our customers, the wearers. Also take a look at our Flame Retardant Waterproof Clothing range.

Differences between EN471 and the new EN ISO 20471 Standard?

In case you are not aware, the EN471 has been replaced with the EN ISO, and when this change occurred, several improvements were been made. This article will explore the new features and major changes between the two.

  • The Class 1 retro-reflective tape is not an option anymore, because the ISO 20471 requirements for single performance retro reflective tape is equal to the EN 471 Class 2 tape. On the other hand, the performance after washing the test method differs as 20471 requires each cycle to be a wash and dry cycle. This was not the case for the EN471, as it only required washing after the last cycle. In addition to this, product markings will no longer state the performance class of the retro reflective tape. However, the combined performance tape may still be used on class 1 garments (again, the test method has changed)
  • (The placement of the retro-reflective tape) although the mandatory patterns for retro-reflective tape has not changed, it now clarifies that additional bands of tape may be used to achieve the required areas
  • It is also essential for the Class 3 garments to cover the torso and have either full length sleeves and/or full length legs
  • For the garments that have short sleeves, if the sleeve obscures a torso band of retro reflective tape, changes mean that the garment must now also have a band of retro-reflective tape about the sleeves.
  • If there is a maximum number of washes (or Dry Cleans cycles) stated by the manufacturer then fluorescent background material must adhere to the chromaticity and luminance requirements after the specified number of washes. If no maximum number of washes have been stated then it must meet the requirements after 5 washes and this must also be reflected in the user information.
  • The tensile strength, burst strength and tear strength (on coated fabrics/ laminates) requirements on fabrics have been reduced.
  • Additionally, colourfastness to perspiration has had the staining requirement increased to four.
  • Colourfastness to washing or dry cleaning has had the staining requirement reduced to four for the non-fluorescent fabrics.
  • Water vapour permeability requirements for fabrics (which excludes coated/laminate fabrics that protects against rain) has been amended to

EN ISO 20471 is an EN standard that will be introduced into ProGARM garments over a course of time as certification becomes available from fabric and accessory suppliers. If this new EN standard becomes a necessity as part of your risk assessments, please do not hesitate to contact our UK sales office and we will be happy to discuss this further.

Disclaimer
All ProGARM technical files, product descriptions, designs, line drawings, presentations or other documents give the latest update of the standards and design or style features of each product. However, any products delivered may comply with previous standards, design or style features. In this instance ProGARM disclaims any liability whatsoever. Please contact our Sales Department for information if specific requirements are needed.
Washing Instructions for ProGARM FR Garments

The following questions are occasionally asked regarding the Washing Instructions on the Care Label of our garments. We would however draw your attention to the fact that VXS+ Modacrylic fabrics are produced using an Inherent Fibre which retains its flame resistant properties for its lifetime. This is in contrast to chemically treated fabrics which may wash out with excessive washing.

Why do you advise not using soap based products on the coveralls?
The testing of the coveralls and fabrics has been conducted using detergents not soaps. It is well documented that soap curd residues on Fire retardant fabrics may mask the fire retardant properties.

If soap based products are used, does this affect the fire retardant properties?
It may do, but without testing the garments and fabrics after multiple washes in soap it is difficult to say whether this would affect the properties to a degree that would then cause the garments not to offer the claimed protection.

Please advise what you mean by soap based products? (I assume you do not mean home washing powder)?
By soap we mean soaps that are derived from the saponification of animal or vegetable fats. So no this does not mean home washing detergents. (Although soap flakes such as Lux are soap, not detergent).
Our advice in accordance with the garment testing we conduct, is that when washing fire retardant clothes in general the following products should be avoided unless allowed in the manufacturers care instructions:

  • Soap
  • Fabric Softners
  • Bleach
We recommend that if you have any further questions, please contact our sales department or request your Laundry provider to contact us stating the chemicals that they intend to use.
Importance of Care Labels in FR Arc Garments

The Care Label in each ProGARM garment provides the wearer with important information about the European Norms that the garment is certified to along with Washing and Care Instructions to ensure that the protective properties are retained during the life of the garment.

This label also contains information relating to our Quality Control procedures and Batch Traceability and removal of this would void any warranty or claims on the garment.

If you require further information, the Sales Department would be happy to assist.

What is LOI?

Limiting Oxygen Index (LOI) can have a great impact on the capabilities of a fabric and garment, it is good to have an understanding of how it impacts the FR and Arc properties of a fabric.

Our fabrics use a self-extinguishing fibre; which means when it comes in contact with an ignition source it emits an inert gas which pushes oxygen away and thus prevents the continuation of flaming and spread of any fire. The fabric works in a way similar to a fire extinguisher by removing one of the three elements vital for fire, in this case oxygen, and thus removes the ignition source. This mechanism is instantaneous and stops as soon as the flame is no longer present.

This powerful FR mechanism can be illustrated further by studying Limiting Oxygen Index (LOI). LOI is the amount of oxygen you need in an atmosphere for a material to ignite. In our atmosphere there is 21% oxygen, so anything which has an LOI of less than 21 will burn readily, such as cotton which has an LOI of 17.

The fibre we use in our fabrics has an LOI of 34, If you compare this to aramid fibres these only have an LOI of 28-29, it illustrates the great impact that a good LOI can have upon a fabric and in turn, garments.