Chemicals for Workwear

Functions of workwear and protective clothing

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Increasingly more employees worldwide are wearing workwear or protective clothing during working hours. Above all in the manufacturing sector and the construction industry, utility, water supply and waste disposal, hospitality industry and health care staff are using professional textiles, either to protect themselves against the risks at work, as corporate fashion or to comply with hygiene regulations.

The classic boiler suit is outdated. Such aspects as comfort and fashion are becoming increasingly important, traditional clothing is more and more replaced. Optimised workwear/protective clothing combines safety at work, wear comfort and ergonomics, because staff only like wearing protective clothing if they feel comfortable in it.

Over the course of the past few years numerous trends have emerged in the field of workwear/protective clothing. On the one hand, multifunctional protection is increasingly demanded to avoid staff having to change their clothes when switching the work area with different hazard sources. On the other hand, the best possible protection against specific hazards is demanded.

Workwear/protective clothing should be affordable, i.e. have an optimum cost-performance ratio including a long and effective service life. Attractive design and good fit of made-up clothes are more and more important. The best example for improved ergonomics is the large number of collections for women. It is, of course, expected that workwear/protective clothing comply with both legal and further requirements.

High wear comfort and functionality are the paramount customer requirements of workwear/protective clothing. Functional textiles have successfully found their way into sports wear, business clothes and, last but not least, workwear/protective clothing would not like to do without the clever properties of functional textiles. No matter whether at high or low temperatures, functional textiles keep you dry and well acclimatised. Thus, functional textiles make the working day more pleasant, comfortable and safer. RUDOLF GROUP offers a wide range of fi nishing possibilities. The following pages hold further information on:

  • flame retardancy
  • repellency
  • water vapour permeability
  • protection against bacteria
  • moisture management
  • anti-static properties
  • UV protection
  • easy-care properties

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Protection against burns

 

In many industrial areas, such as the steel, electrical and chemical industry, in power stations, municipal utilities and gas plants, it is necessary to protect employees against any brief contact with flames and/or radiation heat as well as molten metal droplets. The required protective clothing may prevent burns and enable a safe retreat from the danger zone.

Cotton still is the major material used in protective clothing. In contrast to non-finished synthetic fibres cotton captivates by its high moisture pick-up and pleasant wear physiology.

RUDOLF GROUP recommends the use of ®RUCO-FLAM PCE/PCE-E for the wash-resistant flame-retardant finish of cotton or blends with synthetic fibres (proportion ≤ 20%). Comfort properties such as breathability, moisture transport as well as natural softness will not be impaired by ®RUCO-FLAM PCE/PCE-E. The protective function against thermal influences like flames, liquid metals, radiation is maintained even after 50 or more cleaning cycles.

Further RUDOLF GROUP products:

  • ®RUCO-FLAM PSY-E - Flame retardant for synthetic fibres, resistant to mild washing

Stay dry and clean

 

Water repellency

Especially for activities outside, employees of the most different sectors are exposed to rain, snow, fog and soil moisture. To prevent them from getting wet and from freezing, finishing with a hydrophobic finishing agent or coating is decisive - apart from the optimum fibre material and fabric construction.

With products of the ®RUCO-GUARD or ®RUCO-COAT FC range excellent high-level water-repellent effects can be obtained.

 

Resistance to chemicals

Protective clothing for the chemical and oil but also the metal industry, for transport and utility is to offer brief protection against small splashes or minor spray of chemical liquids. A complete barrier against the penetration of liquids is rarely necessary, because in case of contamination the user can take suitable measures in time.

For chemical protective clothing 6 hazard classes are  being distinguished. Type 6 protective clothing has the lowest performance, which means that resistance against the penetration of liquids exists.

Finishing with a fluorocabon polymer such as ®RUCO-GUARD AFB6 CONC combined with ®RUCO-GUARD XCR (booster) fulfils this function. ®RUCO-GUARD AFB6 CONC provides water, oil and soil-repellent properties, ®RUCO-GUARD XCR the resistance to washing and the effect level. If perfectly combined, both components develop extraordinary high resistance to chemicals.

 

Petrol repellency

There is protective clothing for example for filling station attendants or for employees working on offshore platforms, where common resistance to chemicals is insufficient. The additional function of petrol repellency is necessary to guarantee sufficient protection. For workwear/protective clothing which has to be petrolrepellent, RUDOLF recommends ®RUCO-GUARD AFR6®RUCO-GUARD AFR6 is a so-called all-in-one product, which already contains a booster component. ®RUCO-GUARD AFR6 is highly resistant to washing and dry cleaning and, simultaneously, has good hydrostatic head. Due to the excellent orientation of the fluorine side chains on textiles, ®RUCO-GUARD AFR6 is highly effective.

 

Blood repellency

Especially in the health sector, employees have to be protected against the contact with blood, which is why blood repellency is an important protective function. For blood repellency we suggest the combination of ®RUCO-GUARD AFB6 CONC and ®RUCO-GUARD XCR. With this flexible 2-component system the quantities of the individual components can be varied.

 

Soil-Release

Apart from active stain repellency, there are areas where soil release is important e.g. workwear of restaurant staff. Once soil on textiles has dried, it is often difficult to really clean them by washing.

For this you need special fluorocarbon polymers, which form a kind of net but no film around the fibre. Products like ®RUCO-GUARD USR6 ensure that oily soil, such as sauces, ketchup or dressings may easily be removed from textiles. Dried stains may be easier removed too. Thanks to the intelligent dual function ®RUCO-GUARD USR6 distinctly increases the lifespan of textiles. 

®RUCO-GUARD USR6 is particularly effective on pure cotton or cotton blends. For polyester fibres RUDOLF offers FERAN ASR for better soil release effects. FERAN ASR imparts a functional protective layer to fibre surfaces. Thus, soil sticks less and is easier removed by washing.

 

HYBRIDTEX®

With HYBRIDTEX® RUDOLF has succeeded in combining two independent functions on one textile only and in thus obtaining a new textile. By textile coating, one side of the textile can be finished hydrophobic and the other one hydrophilic. This imparts soil repellency during use and repellency of spray and rain with simultanously high moisture transport.

Depending on the field of application, the outside can be water and soil-repellent and the inside moistureabsorbing. In this case one speaks of HYBRIDTEX® CLASSIC. HYBRIDTEX® CLASSIC is used on shirts or outdoor jackets. With HYBRIDTEX® INVERS it is quite the opposite. The side worn towards the skin is hydrophobic. In motion, perspiration is pressed through the thin repellent layer and is immediately absorbed and dispersed by the hydrophilic outside. The skin stays dry and the wearer feels comfortable despite physical exertion. HYBRIDTEX® INVERS is often used for underwear.

No unnecessary moisture accumulation

 

In addition to the protection against rain and snow, outerwear requires high water vapour permeability for the use outside, the so-called breathability. When sweating, the air humidity in the jacket rises, which has to be transported outside. However, if it is cold and the employee does not sweat, it is important that heat is not lost.

With ECO-VENT® RUDOLF GROUP has developed a new generation of ecological, water-vapour-permeable PU coatings, which are entirely solvent-free in contrast to other systems. With ®RUCO-COAT EC 4811 and ®RUCO-COAT EC 2811 we offer two polyether polyurethane dispersions with different degrees of hardness, which can be easily combined with one another or many other additives. This system is suitable for direct or transfer coatings.

No unpleasant odour

 

Physically strenuous work causes sweating. Extreme perspiration may cause very unpleasant odours, which are caused by bacteria. The degradation products of bacteria are water-soluble and can be removed by home laundering. However, the clothes cannot always be washed after each wear. This is especially valid for workwear and protective clothing. This is why in this area the use of anti-microbial textiles is very important and growing strongly.

Bacteria are everwhere, i.e. employees are in constant contact with bacteria. However, in health care, elder care, in the food industry and catering this is not desired. To comply with high hygienic requirements in these branches, antimicrobially finished textiles are increasingly used.

For centuries, man has counted on silver. Not only as a material for jewellery or an article of daily use, but especially because of the bacteriostatic effect of the element silver.

The RUDOLF GROUP makes use of this knowledge, and with SILVERPLUS® offers a unique technology that imparts hygiene and freshness to textiles. The multiplication of odourcausing bacteria is prevented, the textile stays fresh longer. The SILVERPLUS® technology captivates with high efficiency due to its outstanding resistance to washing and dry cleaning. SILVERPLUS® does not impair the natural skin flora. Handle, colour, lightfastness, wash and rubfastness are not affected. Quite the contrary, SILVERPLUS® can be combined without problems with performance techniques, such as moisture management, stain release or flame retardancy.

RUDOLF product:

  • ®RUCO-BAC AGP, the main product in the family brand SILVERPLUS® - Provides numerous benefits with regard to hygiene and freshness to the customer.

To keep your skin dry

 

Apart from odour management, moisture management is another important point when sweating. With physical activity moisture can be rapidly absorbed by the textile, be transported away and disperse on the fabric surface. This favours the evaporation of moisture and thus rapid drying. Usually, especially synthetic fibres like polyester hardly absorb moisture and are thus less comfortable. ®FERAN ICS is our product for high-performance moisture management. It works like blotting paper, with moisture being drawn from the skin and, thus making you feel comfortable.

Wash-resistant soil/stain release properties and good antistatic properties add to your well-being.

Further RUDOLF products of the HYDROCOOL® family brand:

  • ®FERAN ICP - Hydrophilic finishing agent for PA, resistant to mild washing
  • ®RUCO-PUR SLY - Hydrophilic softening agent for CEL, hydrophilic finishing agent for SYN
  • ®RUCO-PUR SPH Hydrophilic finishing agent for PA, resistant to mild washing for hydrophilic soft handle finishing for CLY and CMD

No electric shock

 

Depending on the working environment, a lack of anti-static properties may have severe consequences. In areas such as refineries, fuel depots, mixing equipments or in mills and silos where gas-air mixtures or air-dust mixtures occur, it is possible that static charge may even cause explosions.

Anti-static clothing prevents the formation of sparks caused by static charge, which may cause fire or explosions. To achieve anti-static properties on textiles, conductive fibres, bi-component fibres with conductive C-core, metal-coated fibres as well as anti-static finishes are used.

With ®RUCO-STAT ADM the RUDOLF GROUP offers a product for wash-resistant and anti-static finishes. It obtains excellent anti-static effects on synthetic fibres. 

No sunburn

 

Our skin has an excellent memory. Skin protection against UV-radiation is an increasingly important topic in the field of workwear and protective clothing. UV-radiation may penetrate clothing and thus cause sun burn or other skin deseases. This is why clothes alone are no protection when working in the sun. Additional protection is necessary. Those affected are construction workers, gardeners, waiters, farmers, law enforcement forces or office cleaners.

It is possible to add an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) to clothing. Thus, employees can stay in direct sun many times longer than without UV protection textiles.

With ®RUCO-SHIELD RAY the RUDOLF GROUP offers a product which is based on mineral titanium dioxide and whose mode of action is a combination of physical absorption and reflection effects. The portion of transmitted UV-radiation is reduced to a minimum. Depending on the fabric construction, a UPF of 50+ can be reached.

Washing and ironing made easy

 

Resin finishing of cotton

Workwear and protective clothing are articles of daily use. Apart from technological properties, care properties are important when choosing suitable articles. Cellulosic natural or chemical fibres tend to shrink or form creases when being washed. Resin finishing, also known as easy-care or non-iron finishing, ensures the best possible care and wear properties. In detail, this means reducing the tendency to creasing, dimensional stability, self-smoothing after washing as well as easy-iron characteristics.

Resin finishing is based on the chemical crosslinking of cellulosic fibres. RUDOLF offers two systems, dry or wet crosslinking.

In terms of process engineering, wet crosslinking is by far the greater challenge and is used for high-quality shirt, blouse or trouser cloths. In this case, a special crosslinking component like ®RUCON FND is applied in combination with a catalyst, ®RUCO-CAT MCC. The crosslinking of the fibre is more intensive, but also more gentle. Thus, high-quality articles can be manufactured with extraordinary non-iron and easycare characteristics as well as optimum wear properties. Dry crosslinking, which is easier to handle, is the most common process. The care properties obtained are good and in many cases sufficient. ®RUCON FAN is the crosslinking agent that is used for dry crosslinking

 

Permanent anti-felt finishing of wool and its blends

Still today classic business wear has high quality requirements. New wool articles provide excellent wear comfort and superior fabric quality. New wool is a robust fabric classic with excellent dimensional stability.

For business wear good care properties are paramout. Due to the scale structure, the wool fibres can hook and join together.

Finishing with ®RUCO-PUR DAF may prevent felting in washing machines. ®RUCO-PUR DAF covers the wool scales with a type of protective layer to prevent them from hooking. If wool is finished with ®RUCO-PUR DAF, it can be washed in the washing machine and be tumble-dried to thus fulfil the IWS Superwash Standard. Prior chlorination or oxidative treatment of the fabric is not compulsory. In addition, ®RUCO-PUR DAF reduces the tendendy to pill and snag and improves seam strength and the fastness to abrasion. A combination with ®RUCO-GUARD products, which impart oil and waterrepellent effects, is also possible.

Maintain protective functions

 

The wear of personal protective equipment is considerable. The regular revitalisation of repellent effects is necessary after a certain number of cleaning cycles. For reliable protection even after revitalisation RUDOLF offers a complete range of products for formulating water, oil, soil-repellent and chemical-resistant sprays.

Our products for formulating impregnating agents for revitalising personal protective equipment comply with the highest ecological, safety and performance standards. 

The layer model

In the field of workwear/protective clothing an optimised concept, according to the multilayer principle can be constructed. Depending on the season and weather conditions, the clothing system is designed in a way that in high temperatures the body is cooled by moisture evaporation, in low temperatures hypothermia should be prevented.

Depending on climate and weather, several layers of functional textiles are worn on top of each other. In principle, the clothing system can be divided into inner, middle and outer layer.

 

Inner layer - Absorbing moisture and transporting it away from the body, odour neutralising, antistatic etc., e.g. underwear, socks

Intermediate layer - Insulating, moisture-absorbing, etc., e.g. polar fleece, tights, shirts

Outer layer - Windproof, water and soil-repellent durable antistatic properties, e.g. functional jackets

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