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 Post subject: Arc Rated Clothing worn for welding
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:15 am 
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I've seen some discussion regarding FR clothing vs Arc rated clothing, but this one puts a little bit of a new twist on it for me.My company plans to switch clothing suppliers and purchase only HRC 2 rated shirts and pants. To reduce costs, they plan to eliminate the purchase of what we call "welders jackets", which are the green jackets I think are pretty commonly used for light welding. (The tag inside the green jacket reads "Westex Proban/FR-7A").

So my question is, will any HRC2 rated clothing provide as good or better protection when welding or performing other hot work as the "welders jackets" we currently use?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:27 pm 
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e02325 wrote:
I've seen some discussion regarding FR clothing vs Arc rated clothing, but this one puts a little bit of a new twist on it for me.My company plans to switch clothing suppliers and purchase only HRC 2 rated shirts and pants. To reduce costs, they plan to eliminate the purchase of what we call "welders jackets", which are the green jackets I think are pretty commonly used for light welding. (The tag inside the green jacket reads "Westex Proban/FR-7A").

So my question is, will any HRC2 rated clothing provide as good or better protection when welding or performing other hot work as the "welders jackets" we currently use?


For the description you've provided, yes. The major difference is that a lot of welder's greens have a coating which washes out over time (about 50 washings). Westex in particular sells an ammonia cured fabric (Indura Ultrasoft) which is permanent even after years of use and washing. I switched everything at my last employer (a foundry) with the exact same issue.

In general welding clothing is FR but not all FR is tested and rated for arc flash ratings. The major difference (other than the certifications) is time...welding PPE is designed not catch fire if it gets hit with slag which is a much lower temperature and will generally be exposed longer while arc rated PPE has to withstand radiant heat for a much shorter period of time. For 8 cal/cm^2 vs. "light duty" welding this difference is immaterial because they are the same. But as the arc flash rating and/or the fire retardancy goes up arc rated clothing adds multiple layers and insulation whereas welding gear goes towards thicker materials (leather, then aluminized) along with insulation.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:51 am 
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PaulEngr wrote:
For the description you've provided, yes. The major difference is that a lot of welder's greens have a coating which washes out over time (about 50 washings). Westex in particular sells an ammonia cured fabric (Indura Ultrasoft) which is permanent even after years of use and washing. I switched everything at my last employer (a foundry) with the exact same issue.

In general welding clothing is FR but not all FR is tested and rated for arc flash ratings. The major difference (other than the certifications) is time...welding PPE is designed not catch fire if it gets hit with slag which is a much lower temperature and will generally be exposed longer while arc rated PPE has to withstand radiant heat for a much shorter period of time. For 8 cal/cm^2 vs. "light duty" welding this difference is immaterial because they are the same. But as the arc flash rating and/or the fire retardancy goes up arc rated clothing adds multiple layers and insulation whereas welding gear goes towards thicker materials (leather, then aluminized) along with insulation.

Now every safety equipments manufacturing company has upgraded their production technology and providing best quality of products to their customers or consumers.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:56 am 
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PaulEngr wrote:
For the description you've provided, yes. The major difference is that a lot of welder's greens have a coating which washes out over time (about 50 washings). Westex in particular sells an ammonia cured fabric (Indura Ultrasoft) which is permanent even after years of use and washing. I switched everything at my last employer (a foundry) with the exact same issue.

In general welding clothing is FR but not all FR is tested and rated for arc flash ratings. The major difference (other than the certifications) is time...welding PPE is designed not catch fire if it gets hit with slag which is a much lower temperature and will generally be exposed longer while arc rated PPE has to withstand radiant heat for a much shorter period of time. For 8 cal/cm^2 vs. "light duty" welding this difference is immaterial because they are the same. But as the arc flash rating and/or the fire retardancy goes up arc rated clothing adds multiple layers and insulation whereas welding gear goes towards thicker materials (leather, then aluminized) along with insulation.


Paul - thanks for the reply.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:55 pm 
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FR7A is not rated for arc by Westex to my knowledge. It could pass but it is only guaranteed for 25 industrial washings and 50 home launderings so I believe that is why they decided not to rate it. It is not coated but it is treated differently than the Indura or Indura UltraSoft fabrics and does not maintain it's FR for as long (as Paul correctly noted).

Most products which are arc rated are more durable AND they have actually been tested for arc flash protection levels. I'm not against FR7A. It is quite good but less consistent in treating due to how it is treated.

I proposed changing the language from "FR" to "Arc Rated" since this let's the end user know that something meets an arc standard. There are some "FR" labeled garments which don't actually meet any standard. FR7A does meet applicable standards and doesn't melt in any testing.

Using "arc rated" for welding might not be the best choice since some "arc rated" materials don't do well with welding slag. I recommend using FR cotton (or blends), OPF fibers, some Lenzing FR blends and just a few other products. If in doubt, ask the manufacturer what works for welding. They will often have recommendations. Indura or Indura UltraSoft or Mount Vernon Mills FR, WallsFR or BanWear all work well with welding slag and have arc ratings. Avoid aramids unless the blend says it works since welding slag sticks to Nomex, Conex, and other aramids unless they are blended with a non synthetic fiber.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:07 pm 
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elihuiv wrote:
Most products which are arc rated are more durable AND they have actually been tested for arc flash protection levels. I'm not against FR7A. It is quite good but less consistent in treating due to how it is treated.


I can vouch for the effectiveness of FR7A over time. In the same foundry the older the FR7A (more washings), the more popular it was because FR7A when new is fairly stiff and gets softer over time, just like cotton duck.

However, a man with a particularly old welding "green" got hit with some slag and his jacket didn't just singe a little like cotton. It actually lit on fire and went up much quicker than anyone would ever expect even for untreated cloth. I don't know the precise reason for this huge difference but suffice to say that after that, the guys in the foundry were definitely not so interested in getting the "old ones" any more.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:30 am 
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Some of the arc related clothing worn for welding are
  • Aprons
  • Cuffed Sleeves
  • Jackets
  • Strapped Sleeves
  • Chaps
  • Arm Guards
  • Bib and Brace
  • Fleximasks
  • Glove protectors and more


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