Following four years of research and development Gore Workwear has just launched its latest innovation: lightweight arc rated GORE PYRAD protective clothing for all day wearing. Here Dr Peter Wimmer, GORE PYRAD development leader, explains the new technology and its importance to the safety of workers in the electrical market.
Back in 2017 we launched GORE PYRAD fabric technology into the UK electrical engineering and utility market. Garments constructed with lightweight heat and flame-resistant, arc rated weatherproof fabric are now widely used across the UK utility sector. Workers keenly adopted garments made from this lightweight weatherproof fabric technology because it offers high level and multiple normal protection, is extremely comfortable to wear and doesn’t restrict movement, whilst other PPE in this sector is heavy, bulky and restrictive.
We listened carefully to the needs and requests of our customers, the manufacturers of protective garments, as well as the workers who rely on PPE, day in and day out. The new class 2 arc rated GORE PYRAD protective garments were developed in response to market demand when waterproof protection isn’t required but when electrical workers still need to be wearing PPE to protect against the thermal hazards of an electric arc. They are suitable for wearing all day, indoors and outdoors, in dry and temperate conditions.
The first functional arc rated one layer fabric
For end users who work closely on or near to the live parts of electrical equipment, the risk of an electric arc incident is a real reality and safety hazard. Until now the fabric solution to PPE that can eliminate class 2 arc protection risks has needed to be at least two layers thick, often more. From intensive research and development at Gore, we have developed the first functional fabric that allows for the manufacture of protective garments with only one ply, while still giving the wearer the highest level of class 2 arc protection. Coveralls, trousers and jackets manufactured from this new fabric, which weighs less than 330g/m², are up to 50 per cent lighter than other garments with electric arc class 2 protection. They comply with IEC 61482-1-2:2014 class 2 (7kA) protective clothing against the thermal hazards of an electric arc and provide an IEC 61482-1-1:2019 arc rating ELIM value of 33 cal/cm² (ATPV at 39 cal/cm²).
How does this new technology work?
The new laminate consists of three components in one fabric: the outer shell, a wafer thin non-flammable ePTFE membrane with the incorporated protective GORE PYRAD technology and a flame-retardant backer.
GORE PYRAD technology is made up of countless little dots made of a graphite material on the outer fabric. In everyday use this fabric remains lightweight, supple and flexible. When an electric arc occurs it releases a massive amount of energy within 25 milliseconds. However, the GORE PYRAD technology is even quicker to cover the area: the dots react immediately to form a stable carbonaceous char that effectively blocks the massive convective heat flow during arc exposure. In layman’s terms this reaction is similar to that of a car airbag and real-time protection is achieved.
Arc protection and wearing comfort
GORE PYRAD protective clothing provides essential protection from the possible exposure to an electric arc incident: even at temperatures of 40°C to 50°C which can sometimes be reached in switch rooms or on very hot summer days. They are engineered to act as a protective shield against plasma that can reach temperatures upwards of 5000°C, which is a similar temperature to the sun’s surface.
What does this mean to the wearer? No burns on the skin, no burning garments, no holes in the fabric – despite exposure to incredibly intense heat. And importantly, these lightweight, multi-norm electric arc class 2 protective garments are designed for everyday use and are comfortable to wear.
GORE PYRAD protective garments are available in a variety of colours, including high vis yellow.
Multiple norm protection
The new fabric technology provides class 2 electric arc protection and complies with the following IEC and EN Norm Standards: IEC 61482-1-2:2014 class 2 (7kA) protective clothing against the thermal hazards of an electric arc; IEC 61482-1-1:2019 arc rating ELIM value of 33 cal/cm² (ATPV at 39 cal/cm²); EN ISO 11612 Clothing to protect against heat and flame; EN ISO 14116 Protection against flame; EN ISO 11611 Protective clothing for use in welding and allied processes; EN ISO 20471 High visibility clothing; EN 13034Protective clothing against liquid chemicals; EN1149-3/-5 Protective clothing: electrostatic properties.
For further information please contact: Jonas Andersson, Gore Workwear Associate email@example.com