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The Big Difference Between ANSI and EN 388 Cut Test Methods

by Julie on December 15, 2016

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How is Cut Resistance Measured?

To figure out how cut resistant a material is, it needs to be tested against a blade. The tricky part is that North America and Europe have two different test methods. Both of those test methods were updated in 2016. The most notable change was increasing the levels of cut resistance to spread out the range of grams to cut.

(Want to see what changes were made? Check out our infographic by clicking the picture below!)


ANSI/ISEA 105-2016:

This is the North American standard for measuring cut-resistant materials. It uses a Tomodynamometer Machine (TDM-100) and the test is based on the ASTM F2992-15 standard.

Feeling overwhelmed by all this information? Me too.

Basically, the goal of this test is to measure how much force is needed to cut through a fabric.

Here are the steps to the ANSI test:

  1. The glove sample is placed on a conductive strip and loaded onto the TDM-100. When the metal blade touches the metal strip, the test is terminated.
  2. A straight blade is loaded into the machine.
  3. Weight is added to serve as force.
  4. The blade moves across the fabric.
  5. The blade is replaced with a new one to ensure accuracy.
  6. The sample is cut five times, each with three different loads.
  7. The distance traveled to cause cut through at various forces is recorded.
  8. The data is used to determine the load required to cut through the sample.

“A TDM-100 cut resistance testing machine.”


EN 388 (Coup Test):

When the cut levels were updated in February 2016, the TDM-100 became the recommended testing machine for cut-resistant materials.

But here’s the catch: For a product to be legally sold in the European Economic Area, it needs to have the CE certified marking (pictured below). And the only test machine accepted for CE certification? The Coup Test.


The steps for the Coup Test are:

  1. A test sample is taken from the palm of a glove.
  2. A rotating circular blade is used to determine cut resistance under a fixed load of 500 grams.
  3. For accuracy, the test material is compared to a cloth reference material.
  4. The reference material and the test sample are cut alternately until at least five cut through results are achieved.
  5. The cut resistance is a ratio of the number of cycles needed to cut through the test sample compared to the reference material.

“Diagram of the two cut test methods.”


Why ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 is the Preferred Test Method:

It’s easy to see why the ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 is now considered the preferred cut test method:

  • It is straightforward — there’s no comparing the cut-resistant material to a test cloth.
  • It accounts for variables — the blade is replaced after each cut is made.
  • It’s suitable for all types of gloves — dulling of the blade means the Coup Test is not suitable for gloves containing steel wire.

The most important thing to remember is that these two tests are not equivalent. A glove that held up for 3059 grams to cut on the EN 388 scale, can’t be considered an ANSI Cut Level A6 (3000 to 3999 grams to cut).

So there you have it, the major differences between the two cut level tests. Want more information on cut test methods? Check out our infographic by clicking the button below!


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