PROTECH (PROTECTIVE TEXTILES)
Industrial hand gloves serve as an item of protective apparel for workers in factories. They are classified under Cut-Slash Protection as well as Thermal Protection. Gloves are best for protection from rough objects, sparks and heat, and for cushioning from blows in heavy-duty work requirements. Hand gloves are of various types (leather, knitted, nitrile) and sizes (varying gauges). The materials that go in the production of hand gloves vary from cotton fabrics and asbestos to variety of leathers, p-aramid etc. Gloves are widely used in Industry and Defence (Cut-Slash protection). Due to rapid industrialization, the use of industrial hand gloves is expected to grow considerably. The gloves used for industrial and general purposes are categories as Leather gloves, Knitted gloves, Non-latex gloves e.g. Nitrile gloves, Rubber/Latex gloves .The leather, knitted and nitrile gloves are used in industrial applications for protection and have accordingly been discussed in this section. The rubber/latex gloves are used for surgical purpose. The typical characteristics of gloves are like Mild heat resistance, High abrasion protection, Better grip with anti slip coating, Comfortable and durable, Protection against cut and hot splash, for gloves made from Aramid (para) –temperature tolerance ranges from 250 to 750 Centigrade, Nitrile gloves provide chemical splash protection. Other than leather gloves the artificial fibres used for industrial gloves include: Kevlar (Para-aramid), Spectra, Basofil and Dyneema.
High altitude clothing are used for protection against extreme weather conditions like extremely low temperature, high velocity winds, snow fall etc. especially in critical combat areas like Siachen. The clothing at high altitudes needs to meet both functional and comfort properties. High altitude clothing is also known as Extreme cold climate clothing (ECC). The high altitude clothing consists of jacket, waist coat, trousers, glacier cap, rappelling gloves and glacier gloves. The gear typically weight of special clothing is around nine to ten kilograms. The typical characteristics of high altitude clothing are like Hydrophilic - Waterproof and moisture resistant, Breathable, Abrasion resistance, Maintain high integrity, Resistance to quick wear and tear. The material used for these clothing is typically hydrophilic polyurethane coating, Gore-Tex coating or Sympatex coating. The hydrophilic properties are introduced by these coatings or laminates. Microporous coatings or laminates can be produced by mechanical fibrillation, phase separation, solvent extraction or solvent exchange.
Chemical Protective Clothing (CPC) is used for protection from chemical and physical hazards. The chemicals get absorbed into the human body by two ways Physical contact-The chemicals gets absorbed through the skin, Inhalation the chemicals in gaseous state get absorbed in to the body through breathing. Chemical protective clothing is used for protection of the whole body against toxic chemicals which manifest their effect by absorption through skin. The durable Chemical protective clothing is made of non-permeable textile fabrics (PVC/Rubber coated fabrics).The protection is achieved by blocking the penetration and permeation of the chemicals through the fabrics in the clothing. This is an effective method for providing sufficient protection to professionals from contact of toxic chemicals. The carbon-containing material developed so far includes carbon-coated non-woven fabric, carbon-impregnated polyurethane foam, hard carbon microsphere-adhered woven fabric and activated charcoal cloth
High visibility clothes (also known as Reflective-wear) have become very essential for the protection of people working in poorly lit environments like mines, highways, airport runways, cyclist etc. In the dark, the high visibility clothing increases the ability to spot working and guiding personnel. There are broadly three types of high visibility clothing Reflection materials which shine when struck by light, Photo luminescent material which give yellow light in dark, Fluorescent material which is more visible even during the day Photo luminescent materials absorb the artificial light and emit green-yellow light in the darkness. The major market for these products is primarily the Armed Forces and to a lesser extent NBC Emergency response units (National Disaster Management Authority)/Central Paramilitary Units/Other Civil Defence units etc.
Hazardous material (Hazmat) suits were designed to protect users handling hazardous waste material such chemicals, radioactive material etc. A more specialized variety of these suits are NBC (Nuclear Biological and Chemical) suits. Developed to protect soldiers, these are designed to protect the user in a hostile environment with chemical/biological agents and against radioactive fallout dust. The suits are designed to be worn for extended periods while continuing to operate in a combat environment. The NBC suit consists of a trouser and jacket and can be used directly over the under garments. The suit is permeable and allows evaporation of sweat (breathable). The suit is made of three layers; Inner layer: Fabric cotton, Middle layer: Active charcoal treated non-woven. Outer layer: Fabric with chemical and fire retardant fibres (inherently retardant). The physical characteristics of the NBC suit are Fire/Heat/Cold/Water repellent outer fabric, Breathable, Effective in the temperature range of -35°C to +55°C, Resistance to wear and tear – high abrasion resistance , Can be decontaminated at least two times, Washable, Shelf life of five to seven years.
The fire/flame retardant apparels have an industrial need as they offer protection from fire and other heat intensive tasks. Flame, heat and splashes of molten metal etc. are hazards in many heavy engineering working conditions. The fire retardant apparels are used in refineries, iron and steel plants, aluminum plants and welding industries. The fire retardant apparels can be manufactured from two varieties of fabric: 100% cotton fabric with flame retardant coating or fabric made of inherently flame retardant fibre. The typical characteristics of the apparel are like Flame resistance – must not catch fire, Should be breathable, Easy to wear, Light weight, Should have high abrasion resistance.
The normal textile consists of highly ignitable materials and turn into primary source of fire percolation in case of a break-out. However fabrics are required for aesthetic appeal. Fire retardant fabrics per form both the task of providing aesthetics to the surroundings and preventing spread of fire. The there are typically two major categories of fire retardant fabrics which are coated fabric and inherently fire retardant fabric. The fire retardant fabrics are primarily of two types, 100% cotton fabric with coating of fire retardant chemical, inherently fire retardant fabric. The cotton fabrics are coated with fire retardant chemical in a bath which results in a layer of fire retardant getting formed on the cotton surface. The typical characteristics of the fire retardant fabric are like Very low fume toxicity in fire, High tear and abrasion resistance, Breathable and comfortable, Anti decay and Anti mould, Crease resistance, High dimensional stability, No fading and excellent colour tone. The key industries which drive the off-take of fire retardant fabric are all building and constructions need to get fire safety clearance from the fire department. However these clearances are more from the construction perspective rather than furnishing perspective. With boom in retail and real estate there has been rapid emergence of shopping complex, malls, cinema multiplex etc. There is need of fire retardant fabrics in these areas from the security point of view. Airlines, Railways and Ships are another key market, Office furnishings and hospitals and another key sector. The fabrics find application in curtains, sheers, upholstery, stage curtains, blankets, bedding, wall coverings and blinds.
Ballistic protection involves protection of the wearer‘s body and eyes against projectiles and fragments of various shapes, size and impact velocity. The projectiles are a part of ammunition shot through weapons such as pistols, revolvers and rifles. Ballistic protection equipments have been used for ages, the earliest form of protection was metallic suit. The ballistic protection equipments evolved from metallic to natural fibre fabric (layers of silk). With the advent of synthetic fibres, all the ballistic protection equipment was made using synthetic fibres like aromatic polyamide (Aramid), Ultra High Modulus Polyethylene (UHMPE) and p - phenylene-2, 6-benzobisoxazole (PBO).The bullet-proof jackets are made from Aramid, Nylon 66, UHMPE, Carbon fibres or PBO. Each jacket has about 0.6 square metres of non-woven material weighing around 750 GSM. Bulk of the jacket is made from woven material as the combination of weave and the fibre characteristics influence the energy absorption characteristics of bullet-proof jacket. The synthetic fibre (Aramid) used in production of bullet-proof jackets is primarily imported (DSM Netherlands/DuPont etc) with the exception of carbon glass fibre With the rising trend of crime, violence and terrorism, the demand for bullet-proof jackets is rising as well. The major customers of bullet-proof jackets are Defence, Paramilitary forces engaged in counter terrorism/insurgency operations and Law enforcement agencies (police).