Emerging Technologies

Innovative tools of the trade 

By Daren Maynard

Fighting flames for protection innovative tools of the trade

Wherever people work, employers worry about safety – a paramount concern for people who work in places full of hazardous environments, such as the electric, oil, utility and some manufacturing sectors. Industrial engineers often function as safety engineers, protecting the workforce from inherent occupational dangers.

Bulwark and Milliken & Co. teamed up to develop new flame-resistant iQ garments for those who work in potentially flammable environments, while Morgan Advanced Materials’ FireMaster FireBarrier cement can line tunnels to keep flames from starting.

Bulwark and Milliken made six changes to the iQ flame-resistant apparel line in terms of breathability, durability, fabric weight, mobility, moisture management and softness. These changes improve the wearer’s experience while still meeting the National Fire Protection Association’s standards on flame-resistant clothing.

The iQ line of apparel is made from Milliken’s Amplitude G2, a low-density fabric made from special chemical-engineered fibers. Traditional flame-resistant garments are thick and tend to make the wearer feel hot. With the iQ Series, the sewing designs permit air flow through the clothes, offering a more breathable experience. Advanced chemistry modifies the fabric fibers to improve durability and ensure advanced protection from flames over the garment’s lifetime.

The fabric has a low coefficient of friction, allowing both the garment and the wearer to move with more ease. The stitch work reduces rigidity, and stretch panels increase mobility when doing extended ranges of motion. With iQ apparel, sweat rises to the surface of the clothes quicker because of the innovative performance-wear design. Faster evaporation means longer coolness and comfort, and the soft, flexible fabric removes the stiffness often associated with flame-resistant clothing.

Fire protection is a solid preventive measure for various tunnels, water mains, shafts and communication cables. FireMaster FireBarrier 135 cement provides tunnels with a lining that can resist repeated and prolonged exposure to high temperatures. The cement has a high adhesion strength, can be applied easily in a single layer and allows fixtures to be attached directly to it. It can be placed on top of regular construction (metals and concrete) materials. Where spraying is not suitable, FireMaster FireBarrier can be cast into sheets, installed as a dry board or trowelled flat. The cement is strong enough to resist the high pressure water sprays that are used to clean tunnels.

FireMaster FireBarrier 135 cement meets the NFPA standards on passive fire protection products. The innovative engineered ceramics design provides high-temperature resistance to fire, minimal waste during its application and gives a lightweight feel to the protected structure. The easy, fast application allows safety engineers to repair structures quickly, reducing downtime by returning them to a safe, operational status.

Daren Maynard is the portfolio management lead for Novus Tech Limited and F1RST Media Limited in Trinidad and Tobago. He has an M.S. in program and project management and a B.S. in industrial engineering. He is a member of IIE’s Young Professionals group. 

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