In the sphere of protective clothing and PPE, discerning between "FR treated" and "inherent FR" fabrics holds paramount significance. This blog will assist in making informed choices, particularly for industries involving welding, where hazards such as molten metals, radiant heat, and electric arcs are prevalent. Let's explore the fundamental disparities between these fabric types and their implications.
Defining Inherent FR
"Inherent" denotes a quality intrinsically embedded within the fabric, an inherent characteristic integral to the fibres themselves. An "inherent FR" fabric signifies that one or more fibres comprising the fabric possess inherent flame-resistant (FR) properties.
Typically, these fabrics incorporate fibres like modacrylics and aramids, renowned for their remarkable defence against flames and heat. The superior performance of these fibres allows for lighter-weight fabrics, enhancing comfort due to improved breathability compared to heavier alternatives.
Conversely, "FR treated" fabrics are often constructed from materials such as cotton blended with polyester, para-aramid, or polyamide, these fabrics acquire their flame resistance through a chemical treatment applied to the fabric. This treatment permeates the fibres entirely, bonding throughout the fabric and imparting flame-retardant properties that endure for the garment's stated lifespan.
The decision between these fabric types isn't straightforward. It's contingent upon industry-specific demands and individual preferences. Here's a comprehensive overview to guide your considerations:
For FR Treated:
Pros: Solid defence against molten metals, reliable heat and ARC protection, cost-effective for shorter-lived, more rugged environments.
Cons: Potential fading of colours after repeated washes, potential increased weight to match inherent FR properties, compromising comfort.
For Inherent FR:
Pros: Exceptional heat and ARC protection, sustained vibrancy of colours even after extensive wash cycles (ideal for long-term use), lightweight and comfortable, suitable for cleaner environments valuing a polished appearance.
Cons: Marginally higher cost compared to FR-treated fabrics.
Ultimately, the choice hinges on specific needs and tailored requirements. For our AHP Arc flash coveralls, we chose to use an inherently FR fabric, with superior arc protection, longevity, durability and comfort at the forefront of our decision.
The fabric we used was the first inherently flame-retardant fabric using an innovative patented blend of fibres. Excellent char strength and superior electric arc performance at low weights. It is extremely durable with high tear strength, abrasion resistance and enhanced flash fire performance. It is certified to EN14116, EN11612, EN11611, EN61482-1-2, EN61482-1-1 & EN1149-3-5. EN11611 ensured it is fit for welding and allied processes.