Whether for hygienic reasons, with regard to special functions, as a distinguishing feature for professions and stands, or for an elegant and uniform corporate image: workwear must always be resilient, durable and comfortable. If only for reasons of acceptance by the wearer, otherwise it cannot fulfil its intended purpose.
The textile testing service provider Hohenstein is able to specifically implement the diverse requirements for modern workwear. These include product performance, wear comfort, fit, product certification, durability as well as the leasing suitability and sustainability of the products.
Outstanding Product Performance
Optimal workwear is characterised by a perfect balance of function, design and long durability. And if you feel comfortable in it, your work performance even increases. Workwear must therefore always be optimally matched to its intended use – regardless of whether work is done indoors or outdoors. It is particularly stressful when working outdoors for hours on end with high temperatures and strong UV exposure.
Wear comfort has a decisive influence on the well-being and performance of those wearing workwear, especially during sweaty outdoor activities. Their acceptance is particularly important because the garments have to be worn for several hours under special climatic conditions and physical stress. Hence clothing systems for workwear must always be optimised with regard to their respective application. This starts with the right material composition to ensure, for example, breathability, waterproofness or moisture management.
“textiles offer a particularly high level of protection against intense solar radiation”
If you sweat more, you need clothing with good sweat transport and evaporative cooling. This is best achieved with textiles made of polyester/polyamide, which are also characterised by their lightness, robustness and ease of washing. Hohenstein is also currently working on new technologies to provide effective solutions against perspiration odour in textiles. Neutral and independent proof of quality can help to ensure continuous product quality. Many manufacturers use this proof as part of their product responsibility throughout the entire life cycle of the textile, even in the run-up to the technical performance specification or even when testing suitability for leasing.
An ever-greater challenge for manufacturers of workwear is compliance with necessary regulations. Here, tests of the parameters for applicable regulations and assurance of product conformity, also internationally, provide the necessary security.
Effective UV Protection
To protect the skin, prevention is the focus for all outdoor professionals. Here it is important to avoid UV radiation and to use sunscreens correctly. Better than sunscreens is clothing that covers the body.
Textiles are virtually predestined as effective UV protection, as they offer a particularly high level of protection against intense solar radiation when suitable materials and construction are used. Standardised measurement procedures provide information about the UV protection properties of textiles when they are new for the Hohenstein UV Protection Quality Label.
Testing according to UV STANDARD 801 goes one step further: additional laboratory tests determine the protective effect against UV radiation of textile materials under realistic conditions of use. In contrast to other international standards, aspects such as the stretching of the textile during wear, moisture caused by perspiration, and the aging of the material as a result of washing for example, are also taken into account here.
Comfort and Fit
Fitting workwear not only looks good, but it is also important for wearing comfort. Restricted freedom of movement and a lack of functionality also often lead to returns and thus to unnecessary costs. Reason enough to ensure that everything fits.
Clothing systems for workwear must therefore always be optimised with regard to their respective application. This starts with the right material composition to ensure, for example, thermal insulation, breathability, waterproofness, UV protection or moisture management.
Each occupational profile has its own typical body postures and movement situations. Hohenstein incorporates these factors into the development of cuts and fits to ensure optimum wearer comfort.
“UV STANDARD 801 goes one step further: additional laboratory tests determine the protective effect against UV radiation”
In addition to traditional fit processes, the future is establishing itself with 3D and 4D technologies. Visualisations and the first simulations of garments are expanding the possibilities in the process chain. From appealing product visualisation to online fitting, many things are possible. This reduces the number
of physical prototypes, the associated material usage, as well as transportation costs and carbon footprint. Consistent fit increases customer loyalty and drops return rates.
Key to the successful use of 3D technologies in the apparel industry are precise digital material parameters. Hohenstein provides its customers with the properties of textile materials such as weight, thickness, flexural rigidity and elongation. The Hohenstein data is compatible with common software systems and available in all required file formats. Companies are thus able to perform realistic 3D simulations and optimise their processes in design, model development and product communication. This saves valuable resources and, above all, shortens the time it takes for collections to reach the market.
No Harmful Substances
More and more wearers of workwear and also their employers want not only quality, functionality and comfort, but also confirmation that the articles used are harmless in terms of harmful substances and have been manufactured in an environmentally friendly manner. The comprehensive OEKO-TEX® testing and certification system for textile raw materials, intermediate and end products as well as leather articles is available for this purpose. The tests for harmful substances according to STANDARD 100 and LEATHER STANDARD take into account important legal regulations, numerous chemicals that are harmful to health – even if they are not regulated by law – as well as various parameters for the protection of health.
Sustainability in View
MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® is a traceable product label issued only to textiles and leather goods that meet the following criteria: Produced from materials tested for harmful substances, in environmentally friendly factories and in safe and socially acceptable workplaces. MADE IN GREEN is awarded to all types of textile end products and leather items. Interested parties can easily track items with this label on the website www.madeingreen.com by entering the product ID provided or by scanning the QR code on the label. As a result, they can find out in which countries and in which participating production companies the awarded products were manufactured.
Companies that want to remain successful in the future must not only think economically, but also ecologically. This is because sustainability requirements are becoming increasingly important, especially in textile procurement. Social and environmental aspects are playing an increasingly important role in public procurement. After all, what pays off for the environment also pays off economically in the long term.
Sustainable business practices are represented, for example, by biodegradation testing (biodegradability), e.g. by means of an earth excavation test, screening, identification and quantification of genetically modified cotton (GMO), or OEKO-TEX® solutions such as STeP (Sustainable Textile & Leather Production) for environmentally friendly and socially responsible production operations, DETOX TO ZERO for harmless wastewater, and ECO PASSPORT for low-pollutant and sustainable chemicals. Sustainability here stands for a real market edge that can also be rewarded.
PPE – Safety First
Textile materials used in personal protective equipment (PPE) must be able to withstand the most extreme demands. Depending on the area of application, PPE must meet a wide range of functional requirements. In addition, there are certain legal regulations and requirements that manufacturers and other economic operators of PPE must observe. After all, PPE, such as protective clothing for firefighters or welders, must protect its wearers against risks that could endanger health and/or safety. This fundamentally distinguishes PPE from workwear or occupational clothing, which is to be worn by employees during working hours and has no special protective function.
“companies that want to remain successful in the future must not only think economically, but also ecologically”
In order to be allowed to freely place PPE defined in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/425 on the market in the EU, Cat. II and III PPE, a conformity assessment by a notified body for personal protective equipment such as Hohenstein is required by law. Only in this way can the safety and conformity of PPE be neutrally confirmed. In the case of PPE of Cat. I, a self-declaration by the manufacturer is possible or the product certification process of Hohenstein is applicable.
Reconditioning and Suitability for Leasing
Economic requirements dictate that workwear should be usable for as long as possible without significant loss of appearance and function. Also, against the background of sustainability over the entire life cycle of the textiles, it plays a major role how long the products are in use – i.e. how often they can be reprocessed.
In recent years, the leasing of textiles has become massively more important. The requirements for workwear and, even more so, personal protective equipment, are enormous. In addition to numerous national and international standards, regulations, and laws, the Hohenstein Quality Standard 701ff defines all relevant aspects of the leasing suitability of textiles for various areas of use, such as hospitals, retirement homes, food processing companies, hotels and businesses.
Hohenstein Quality Labels for Workwear
In order to make product safety, quality, and durability of workwear visible, Hohenstein has established quality labels for tested workwear and uniforms. In doing so, the quality certificates bundle all the requirements for modern workwear and offer safety even within the supply chain with clear product information. The basic package of Hohenstein quality labels for workwear requires testing for harmful substances in accordance with STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®. This involves testing for chemicals that are regulated by law as well as other chemicals that pose a health risk.
In addition, extensive quality parameters are tested and assessed in the basic package, such as:
- Colour fastness, e.g. to light, perspiration, friction and solvents
- Physical properties, e.g. tensile strength, abrasion resistance or pilling
- Performance properties, e.g. water repellency or breathability
- Optical properties, e.g. dimensional stability, twisting of the seams or appearance after care treatment
The Hohenstein quality labels for workwear offer flexible extension options according to individual wishes and needs, for example by testing and assessing fit, breathability, UV protection and suitability for leasing. In this way, different functions such as breathability or fit can be combined and communicated with other attributes such as quality and testing for harmful substances on just one label.