Inherent dangers require inherent protection!

The Bova ARC range

FOREMOST local safety wear manufacturer Bova, a BBF Safety Group brand, has launched its range of BOVA Arc Flash Protection garments. The range has been designed to provide the best balance of inherent protection against the hazards of an arc flash, with lightweight, comfortable and durable garments.

The Bova ARC range incorporates Beier’s I-ARC fabric; an innovative solution in thermal protection fabrics that was developed in collaboration with LENZING™, a global leader in inherently Flame Resistant (FR) fibres.

The I-ARC material gives the Bova Arc range a significant advantage in both comfort and its inherent FR protection, as if it is built into the fabric’s DNA. With the Bova brand priding itself as being Engineered with Purpose, the significant benefits of having inherently FR properties was seen as a non-negotiable as opposed to having garments with a chemical FR treatment. Inherent materials maintain their FR qualities and these cannot wash or wear away, even when subjected to everyday household detergents and bleach. The fabrics also offer strong abrasion resistance and low shrinkage.

“Arc flash is extremely dangerous and the shorter the person’s exposure to the resultant flame, the better, which is why the garments must have the ability to self-extinguish as quickly as possible,” explains Deane Nothard, Marketing Manager at BBF Safety Group.

The standard for arc rated garments is that they can self-extinguish within 2 seconds after a flame has been removed. However, this is normally measured in laboratory conditions on an unused garment, Bova wanted to emulate these tests with more real-life laundering scenarios. Internal tests were conducted after washes with an every day household detergent that includes stain removal and fine print advising against washing FR materials. The chemically treated FR fabrics representative of a number of popular arc garments currently in use, failed after as few as 15 washes and completely burnt out, whereas the I-ARC fabric at 15 washes didn’t ignite at all. The bigger concern is that the treated fabrics showed no noticeable deterioration prior to their failure.

“This is probably the scariest factor,” adds Nothard. “Wearers may believe they are protected against potential burns when in fact their FR treated garments have lost their protective abilities. It is also the major benefit of inherently FR fabrics – so long as the garment is visually intact the wearer is protected, the FR quality does not wash or wear away.  The other major benefit with the Bova range specifically over other inherent FR garments is the comfort factor.”

In any working environment, it is important to work comfortably.  The Bova ARC range offers a superior weight to protection ratio – The lighter weight of the garments across both Category 2 and Category 4 compared to leading competitors add to the proven comfort provided by the fabric’s breathable properties and good moisture management; ensuring the wearer can still feel cool and dry while benefiting from the inherent FR protection.

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