Hainsworth has been working closely with firefighters for more than 150 years. The company dates its association with the firefighting industry to the formation of the London Fire Brigade. Since this time, the mill has been responsible for protecting firefighters, first with woollen cloth, more recently with the industry-leading TITAN fabric technology.
Those who work at Hainsworth are proud of the heritage of the company, but they also recognise the importance of continuous innovation to meet the changing needs of firefighters around the world. That is why Hainsworth is looking forward to attending Interschutz in June and AFAC in September because these major industry events will allow the company to introduce a number of new innovative products to the firefighting community.
Among them will be the latest addition to the TITAN family – TITAN 1260 – which complements the existing 1220 and 1250 systems by adding flexibility after flashover with the fabric remaining flexible with minimal carbonisation, ensuring that the garment remains intact and does not break open after exposure to flame and cooling down. TITAN 1260 has successfully undergone a number of trials which have demonstrated its enhanced breathability, durability and protection.
The PBI, DuPont Nomex and DuPont Kevlar combination contains a specially developed yarn to provide a smoother fabric surface which reduces fibrillation and consequently improves airflow to ensure maximum breathability and comfort. It is a new offer for structural firefighting and has come about through the work of the Hainsworth Innovation Centre – a UKAS accredited laboratory – in conjunction with its partners as well as firefighters in the UK and internationally.
The research and product development carried out by the Hainsworth Innovation Centre informs the processes of the company’s fully integrated, vertical textile mill which boasts its own spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing, printing and fabric conversion machinery – a result of its history but today offering a genuine point of difference in the protective clothing market.
In Australia, further Hainsworth innovation can be seen in the tests which are currently being carried out on the company’s ECO-DRY Shield technology.
As in the UK and Europe, so the Hainsworth innovation team has been working closely with its partners, which has included time spent alongside wildland firefighters who each year are faced with the challenge of tackling some of the most ferocious fires on Earth.
Hainsworth is playing a key part in ensuring that Australian Merino wool has a big future in the manufacturing of firefighter turnout gear. ECO-DRY technology, consisting of a range of solutions – both outer shell and linings – harnesses the many benefits of wool.
ECO-DRY Shield products have been specifically engineered to combine the unique properties of wool, Nomex, Kevlar and Lenzing FR. It has been woven using a unique rail system which leaves a visible stripe effect to the woven structure. The lightweight single layer construction aims to provide the wildland firefighter with mobility, flexibility, comfort and, above all else, maximum thermal protection in the most demanding of conditions.
Almost four years ago, Hainsworth launched a global marketing campaign to promote its products and the innovation it seeks to bring to the firefighting family.
Three core messages underpin the qualities the company seeks to achieve in all of its product development and were incorporated into the campaign. They are – design that saves, protection that shows and quality that lasts.
When Mark Jones, the soon-to-retire Chief Fire Officer of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Service, visited Hainsworth, he asked for a tour of the mill to discover more about how the company successfully allies heritage with innovation.
Mark observed that its products are “high quality and reputable and their customer focus superb”.
He added: “It is easy to see why their products remain a prolific part of so many emergency service uniforms.”
Firefighting just like Hainsworth has evolved during the last two centuries and both will continue to do so over the next two hundred years.
Firefighting garments are not something you can buy off the peg. Today’s firefighters are expected to perform a vast and complex array of duties – all very different depending on whether a firefighter is stationed in London, the Scottish Highlands, Scandinavia, Detroit or the Australian Outback. The introduction of TITAN technology and more recently ECO-DRY systems has taken PPE fabric intelligence to the next level.
The addition of TITAN 1260 and the ECO-DRY Shield products over the coming months ensures that Hainsworth and its partners are able to demonstrate that they continue to be in tune with the requirements of firefighters on the frontline wherever they are in the world.
Ultimately, the responsibility of businesses like Hainsworth is not merely about the weaving of fabrics or the assembly of garments. It is about ensuring that we use our collective history and our powers of innovation to ensure that the kit our firefighters wear gives them the confidence that they will return home safely to their families at the end of their shift.
For more information, go to www.protectsyou.co.uk