1 of February of 2021
A. Sampaio, in partnership with Fiação da Graça, Citeve and Centi, developed a set of products in synthetic and natural fibers, with characteristics of protection against heat, flame and electric arc, anti-static and high visibility, for clothing that protects and at the same time keeps the user comfortable.
The individual protection market is not new for A. Sampaio, as stated by João Mendes, administrator of the company, when presenting the results of this research project, integrated in Texboost. “We didn´t start a year ago, we started about eight years ago and we continue to learn and grow”, he revealed.
Creating meshes for this segment, however, implies overcoming some
challenges. "When we started this project, we took care to make an inquiry
to several international players in the area of protective clothing to
understand which were the attributes that gave more value to their
pieces", he said. The two key concepts mentioned were, in addition to
complying with all protection standards, user comfort and easy maintenance.
"The question of comfort paves the way for the circular knitting, which are clearly more
comfortable than the woven fabric, they have is the challenge of complying with the
same characteristics of mechanical resistance and durability that normally the woven
fabrics can achieve", stressed the administrator of A. Sampaio .
In relation to cleaning, "there is a large business in workwear, not exactly in the protection sector, which is the business of industrial laundries that usualy provide the workwear to customer companies in the provision of services", pointed out João Mendes. "Now it turns out that companies need not only workwear, but protective clothing and industrial laundry companies need to be able to handle protective clothing in an industrial wash cycle, which is also a challenge for knitwear" he said.
From the yarn to the piece of clothing
To respond to these challenges, A. Sampaio, Fiação da Graça, Citeve and Centi wanted to obtain “knitting structures that simultaneously meet different regulatory requirements, by using high performance polymers and also mixtures with wool” and that respond “to the requirements of industrial washing”, explained Graça Bonifácio, Citeve researcher.
The project included the development of extrusion yarns, focusing on PEI yarns (polyetherimides), and conventional yarns, from which two 100% wool yarns with different finishes and a 70% wool / 30% modacrylic yarn were selected.
“The yarns developed were knitted on a laboratory loom, Tricolab, to verify their validation, in terms of both knitting and the possibility of resistance to the main standards we wanted to follow,” added Graça Bonifácio.
In terms of knitting, structures were developed such as pique, polar fleece, interlocks, fantasy interlocks, a softshell, a reversible fleece and jerseys, with the aim of creating Knit architectures that “simultaneously comply with heat protection standards and flame, to splashes, to liquid chemicals, anti-static, high visibility, electric arc according to European standards, and even to industrial washing”, enumerated the Citeve researcher.
The research work continued with the creation of garments. Among the prototypes developed, Graça Bonifácio highlighted an underwear suit that can pass in an electric arc with an ATPV (Arch Thermal Performance Value) of 8 kcal, a sweatshirt with high visibility in orange and a half-collar swearshirt and zip with placket made in plush reversible with wool.
“All of these pieces do not exist on the market and are different”, guaranteed the researcher, stressing that most of the products that reached the prototype “are already in a final testing phase or have already finished their tests and may go on the market very soon”, And “many of them were presented at fairs and were very well accepted”.
It also proves that "there is a growing market for knitwear in personal protective clothing?, accompanied by a growing challenge also for those who have to manufacture and develop them", as stated by João Mendes.