Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Abrasion Resistant Gloves and Ratings

I'm going to diverge from the straight and narrow of Office Supplies again because I saw a pair of gloves being sold as "Safety Equipment" - that is tangentially related to Office Supplies. I've never been in a proper office that required people wear gloves designed in a specific color to help "hide grease and grime," but every small-business is unique. Kimberly-Clark sells these knit nylon gloves where the entire usable surface is coated in foam (Yes, you can make a solid coating of foam). Solid foam, aside the thing that caught my eye about these gloves is that they carry an Abrasion Resistance Rating of 4 out of 4 using EN Standards.

That's not a great photo, it looks oddly alien, but don't mind it. These Abrasion Resistant Gloves are available in a rage of sizes as Medium Gloves, Large Gloves, or X-Large Gloves. So I was curious about just how Abrasion Resistance was measured and what that actually means, so I went digging. First thing I found was a page with a bunch of tables and a bunch of overly technical nonsense, but it did tell me that the EN Standards refers to the EN388 Mechanical Rating and that a rating of 4 means that it took more than 8,000 cycles "to abrade through a sample glove." Of course inquiring minds want to know what kind of cycles, and what kind of abrasion?

So I went looking some more and found this company called SATRA that builds an abrasion machine that is the industry standard for these tests. I have no clue how it works, but I found this photo of the machine in action that provides no actual insight. I found another document that states 300g/m glass paper as the abrasive source (glass paper is just like sandpaper except with glass particles). I also found that SATRA sells this awesome Pedatron that is essentially a giant Android leg that will test your carpet and/or shoes for wear. In conclusion, for The Kimberly Clark Abrasion Resistant Gloves to receive their 4 out of 4 rating they need to survive 8,000 attacks from a sand paper machine before it wears through.