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With all of the different styles available on the market, choosing the right cut-resistant glove for your employees can seem like an overly complicated task. To combat this, we’ve decided to lend you our years of experience within the industry, and provide you with some tricks of the trade that will help you cut (pun intended) through the clutter, so that you can choose the best possible gloves for your application.
1. There are only two main kinds of high performance yarn used in gloves.
In a nutshell, UHWMPE (also known as Dyneema®) and Para-aramid (which is typically referred to as Kevlar®) are the two main types of high performance yarn used in the creation of gloves; in fact, 98% of the gloves available on the market contain at least one of these materials. The reason why there are so many other names for these types of yarn floating about is because glove manufacturers will often use their own trademark names to describe the “blends” they have created. (These types of yarn are often mixed with stainless steel or fiberglass to improve performance). However, although they might be referred to by a different name, the raw ingredients still boil down to the same two high performance types of yarn.
For your convenience, here is a short list of some of the common names you might hear glove manufacturers use to describe the yarn they use: XKS (Para-aramid), Aramax (Para-aramid), ATA (Para-aramid), Contender (Para-aramid), TenActiv™ (UHWMPE), Rhino (Para-aramid), Taeki 5 (Nylon), Metalguard (Para-aramid), Armorcore (Para-aramid), and Intercept (can be either Para-aramid or UHWMPE).
2. Lab test results ≠ real world performance.
Most people don’t realize that the two cut-resistant glove tests, EN 388 and ANSI, are done in very different ways. The EN 388 test is performed using a circular blade (like a rolling pizza cutter) that goes back and forth until it cuts through the glove. In contrast, a person administering an ANSI test will use a razor blade, and apply different amounts of force in order to test the length it takes the cut through the glove in a slicing motion. The point is, however, that neither of these tests actually equates what happens in the field. If you have a burr on the edge of a metal part that adds a tearing motion, this kind of circumstance won’t be tested in the lab. In addition, these tests also don’t factor in if the gloves have been worn for a couple of weeks and are nearly in need of being replaced. Really, the outside factors are endless. Because of this, the lab results from these cut tests should be taken as a starting point for a decision on which gloves to trial, depending on what they are needed for, and nothing more.
3. Cut test results have large variations from test to test.
In round robin testing performed in various labs, although the same sample set of cut-resistant gloves are tested numerous times, the results of these tests can sometimes vary up to 20% from lab to lab. This indicates that a glove with an ANSI cut level 4 rating at 1800 grams in one lab could easily test as an ANSI cut-level 3 glove in another lab; this is due to the many factors and variables in knitting technology that prevent cut-resistance testing from being an exact science. As a result, lab results should always be taken with a grain of salt. To echo the last point: use these ratings as a means of helping you decide which pair of gloves to trial, instead of taking them as gospel truth.
4. Cut-resistant gloves can be laundered (and need to be, in order to continue to perform well over time!)
We visit a lot of facilities where cut-resistant gloves that cost $10-15 per pair are being thrown out when they get really dirty. Since typical laundering costs can be 50 cents per pair (or even less), if you can get even one additional cycle out of your gloves by washing them, you will cut down your cost of ownership by at least 50%! Not only will this save you a lot of money in the long run, but the performance of your gloves will be improved as well. It is quite common for factories to get 3-4 laundering cycles out of their cut-resistant gloves, so remember this the next time you consider tossing them! For more specific information about glove laundering, have a read through our Glove Laundering 101 Guide.
A few tips to consider when choosing gloves that you know you’ll eventually be laundering:
2. Ensure you have a durable glove from the start.
It’s better to spend a bit more on a glove you plan to launder at the forefront, since the additional cost will often pay off in spades for the added wear you’ll get out of the glove. That being said, don’t assume that a more expensive glove will last longer. Look at abrasion test results, and most of all, run glove trials to determine the true performance and life of a glove.
3. Test a small batch first.
Many gloves shrink quite a bit after being laundered. A good glove manufacturer and glove launderer will help you work through these issues.
While all of the above tips are very useful, there are many other additional factors that you should consider when trying to select the right pair of cut-resistant gloves for your workplace. In order to ensure that you’ve taken everything into consideration, consult our helpful Cut-Resistant Glove infographic for a much more detailed breakdown.
To find out more about the large selection of cut-resistant gloves we offer, click the button below.
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