TECHNICAL TERMS EXPLAINED

Renowned for their passion regarding all things safety, which involves caring for the environment, EQUISAFETY are also constantly looking for new ways to become more eco-friendly.

At present we are following the research being carried out into dry-dying. This revolutionary idea is big news in the fashion industry and is backed by the Greenpeace Toxic Fashion Campaign.

So what is dry-dying?

At present the textile industry uses a lot of water. On order to dye ONE kilo of textiles, between one hundred to one hundred and fifty litres of fresh water are needed. Once used this, once fresh, water is full of polluting chemicals and somehow disposed of! Therefore, water pollution by chemicals from the textile industry is a huge problem.

Dry-dying uses a revolutionary machine that uses CO2, a gas that naturally flows in the air. The machine makes use of a natural law: under high pressure (250 bar) CO2 transforms from a gas to a liquid. This liquid CO2 is then used to dye fabrics, so No water is needed. At present this technique can be used for synthetic fabrics like the polyester filaments we use in all our clothing apparel.

Besides radically reducing the amounts of fresh water used for dying, the machine also reuses up to 95% of the CO2.

There are also economic benefits to using dry dying. Production costs are 30-50% lower than when using normal water dying. The dying process is also increased meaning the production of the fabric is reduced by almost half the time. Equisafety is also working hard to ensure all its packaging comes from recycled materials and that the packaging can be used or re-cycled again.

WATERPROOF FABRICS

Coating Fabric to make it Waterproof

Lamination techniques are used to enhance properties of fabrics such as polyester or nylon. The laminate is a glue-type substance that is poured onto, and spread evenly over the fabric surface, to make it waterproof.

There are also standards for waterproof fabrics - ASTM D3393 is the Standard Specification for Coated Fabrics Waterproofness


Waterproof/breathable fabrics resist liquid water passing through, but allow water vapour to pass out. Their ability to block out rain and snow while allowing vapour from sweat to evaporate, leads to their use in rainwear and waterproof outdoor sports

A rain drop is 100 times larger than vapour from sweat. So, while the vapour can disperse easily through the laminated fabric the rain water is unable to: a bit like trying to push a football through a sieve.

However there are many different types of quality of waterproof and breathable fabric. This is measured by DWR (Durable Waterproof Resistance) - the pressure at which the rain/water assaults the waterproof fabric.

A walker (4mph) and a motorcyclist (70mph) will require different levels of waterproofness due to the pressure put on the water being forced onto the fabric.

Good waterproof fabric starts at 3,000 DWR and can go over 25,000, whilst the majority of general waterproof high street jackets range from 1,000 to 10,000

Although the fabric has been laminated to make it waterproof, the laminate can also be breathable, and again there are many levels of breathability.


BREATHABLITY OF FABRICS

Breathability can be dramatically reduced or increased by wearing wear the correct base layers (t-shirt/ sweat shirt / jumper). If it’s a cotton or wool under layer you’re going to feel damp as the fibers swell (hydrophilic) and can hold up to 70% of the your body moisture. Yarns that repel (hydrophobic) moisture like polyester, are woven in such a way that they form a multitude of small ducts. Sweat is forced into these ducts and, due to the repelling quality of the fabric, the moisture is forced up through the ducts to the surface. The smaller the radius of these ducts, the greater the distance the moisture will travel, as shown in the diagram below. Hence thinner, tighter, woven fabrics perform the best.


REFLECTIVE TAPE

Glass bead tapes are the oldest and most common retro-reflective tape. These tapes reflect light via thousands upon thousands of small glass beads embedded into the tape, with each glass bead reflecting light back to the source. Hence the name retro-reflective tape.

There are two main varieties in this class of tape: silver tape and high intensity plastic coated tape.

Silver Reflective Tape: This has no pattern on top and is simply a solid colour to the naked eye, and more commonly seen as a grey silver tape. When a light source (i.e. headlights) strikes the tape it is reflected back and the tape appears to light up. Silver tapes typically reflect at a rate of about 75 candlepower.

High Intensity Reflective Tape: Characterized by a honeycomb pattern, also referred to as encapsulated lens tape. Within each honeycomb there are concentrations of glass beads - many more per square centimetre than the silver grade tape. This concentration of glass beads creates a much brighter tape. High Intensity tapes give off around 250 candlepower. Traffic cones and road barrels use this material, as well as many brighter street signs and it is also generally used on higher class Workwear.

However, an alternative way that reflective tapes reflect light is through small microprisms built into the tape. A company called "Reflexite" invented this type of tape several decades ago. These are called ‘Prismatic Tapes’, or, depending on the manufacturer, Diamond Grade or Crystal Grade tapes, and they are the brightest of all the tapes.

They are the brightest of all the tapes and utilize small prisms that reflect light back to the source in higher concentrations than glass beads.

There are many fantastic new tapes to choose from these days and we are looking at exciting ways to utilise them within our designs.

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