Ballyclare has built a strong partnership with W.L. Gore and Associates (UK) Limited, renowned for their Fireblocker 2-layer laminate, GORE® PARALLON® System and GORE-TEX Fabrics, to create technologically advanced workwear garments for all industries and the emergency services.
Gore pioneered waterproof, windproof and breathable high performance textiles for protective clothing in industry. In the fire industry they have developed clothing with barrier fabrics that last longer, reduce heat stress, and extend working boundaries. Their products stand for innovation, integrity and being the best in class and that’s one of the reasons Ballyclare is in partnership with them.
Through forming a close partnership Ballyclare and Gore are able to develop highly technical garments which are specifically designed for extreme working conditions such as our Xenon structural firefighter clothing and Network Rail waterproof garments. Both companies know meeting, and exceeding, the end user’s requirements is key to designing desired, high performing garments.
Through joint ventures we are also actively supporting apprentices in industry. We have jointly sponsored the RailStaff Apprentice of the Year Award and provided PPE equipment to the 15 rail apprentices nominated for the award – including civil engineers, junior electricians and technical officers - who tested the kit during their daily work.
Clothing made with GORE-TEX Fabrics is waterproof to protect against the wet and rain – even after repeated laundering. It is windproof to prevent dangerous windchill effects, and it is highly breathable in order to avoid a build-up of heat. Our GORE-TEX Garments are developed and manufactured using over 35 years of experience and knowledge from a varied market and industry sectors. All stitched seams sealed using propriety GORE-SEAM® Tapes. These combined qualities ensure superb wearing comfort. GORE-TEX Technical Garments withstand the highest water pressure and severe mechanical stresses such as when sitting or kneeling on damp ground. Our range of GORE-TEX Garments exceeds the demands of EN14360 - Protection against rain for outdoor workwear.
Underneath the rugged outer layer with its water repellent finish is the GORE-TEX Membrane. The GORE-TEX Membrane prevents water from penetrating. Every square inch has 9 billion pores. These microscopic holes are 20,000 times smaller than water droplets which make it impossible for water to penetrate. However, each pore is 700 times larger than a water vapour molecule.
Our Xenon fire kit that uses Gore's Fireblocker 2-layer laminate technology is lightweight, long-lasting and offers a flexible approach to outstanding protection. The lightweight Fireblocker laminate is made up of an aramid non-woven fabric combined with an ePTFE membrane. GORE-TEX technology provides a moisture barrier that makes the garments durably waterproof and GORE® CROSSTECH® Product Technology provides protection against blood and body fluid penetration. Firefighting clothing that is constructed with a Gore Fireblocker laminate is ideal for firefighters who want a high level of thermal protection well in excess of EN 469 Level 2 protection.
The thermal layers protect wearers from the dangers of fire; such as flame, radiation heat, flashover, or other simultaneous heat exposure. Blood borne pathogens protection is achieved with GORE® CROSSTECH® Product Technology that provides durable protection against blood and body fluids, the laminate is constructed using a specially developed ePTFE film. The GORE-TEX Moisture barrier keep water and other liquids out, while at the same time allowing water vapour to escape for ideal inner climate.
CROSSTECH® Fabrics offers durable liquid penetration protective resistance to blood-borne pathogens, body fluids, and common fire ground chemicals, it is also flame resistance for flash fire exposures and highly abrasion resistant for physically demanding environments. It allows perspiration to escape, keeping the wearer cooler, more comfortable. All CROSSTECH® Garment seams are sealed using propriety GORE-SEAM® Tapes and is independently validated as being durable to ISP 16604 for penetration against blood-borne pathogens. Our CROSSTECH® Garments are available as either a 2 layer or 3 layer laminate. The 2-layer laminate is used as a liner attached to the inside of the outer-shell fabric, with the outer-shell fabric providing the garment’s strength and durability. There is also a 3 layer CROSSTECH® Garment system that meets the demands of end users who seek a strong and durable enough to be used as an outer shell.
The blood and other body fluids that firefighters may encounter at structural fires can be infected with HIV, hepatitis B and C, or with other pathogens. Protective garments with CROSSTECH® Fabrics provide the solution if a risk assessment identifies the need for durable protection against blood and body fluids.
CROSSTECH® Fabrics form a reliable barrier against blood and body fluids and offer protection against penetration by liquid chemicals (EN ISO 6530 and/or ISO 13994). They are also durably waterproof and breathable – even after contamination or laundering.
There is a paradox in firefighter protective clothing that in order to maintain the current high levels of protection from heat and flame, comfort is often compromised. This potentially contributes to heat stress and sub flashover burns in typical firefighting operations. After several years of research, bringing together its technical expertise from around the world, Gore has developed a solution that removes the need to compromise comfort for thermal protection.
The GORE® PARALLON® System is a revolutionary solution that extends the boundaries of firefighter protection to new levels. The GORE® PARALLON® System is lightweight, breathable and waterproof delivering high levels of thermal protection in firefighter Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It reduces the risk of burn injuries and heat stress in wet and dry conditions, creating consistent protection without compromising comfort.
The GORE® PARALLON® system has created a new benchmark for structural firefighting garments breaking the normally accepted trade-off between protection and comfort:
The GORE® PARALLON® System has been developed to specifically combat the risks associated with moisture and heat stress by introducing a unique new solution that incorporates a highly breathable Gore thermal barrier combined with a GORE-TEX or CROSSTECH® Moisture barrier. This is a unique use of two membranes encapsulating a layer of thermal protection that maintains breathability while wicking moisture away from the skin and out through the suit, simultaneously preventing liquid penetration from the outside.
The GORE® PARALLON® System has been extensively tested in wearer trials with impressive results. Michael Wittmeier Professional Trainer at FEUREX, Firefighter at the Fire Brigade Neuburg a. d. Donau said,
”The first thing I noticed was the comfort. It was comfortable to wear and easy to move in. Even when it got really hot you only felt the heat very gradually. As soon as you got away from the heat it felt cooler. The cooling effect was immediate. That’s a great feature.”
Watch the full interview with Michael in the YouTube video; it takes place moments after he tackled a flashover container (wood fired).
The GORE® PARALLON® System uses a double membrane configuration to reduce the risk of burn injuries and heat stress in wet and dry conditions, creating consistent protection without compromising comfort.
The unique use of two membranes encapsulates a layer of thermal protection that maintains breathability, while wicking moisture away from the skin and out through the suit, and simultaneously preventing liquid penetration from the outside.
While modern firefighter PPE provides excellent thermal protection against heat and flame, wearers have still been at risk from steam burns that can occur when wearing wet gear in sub-flashover conditions. These are caused by a build-up of thermal energy and moisture inside the layers of a garment that can cause the burns in a sub -flashover, or by compression due to crouching, kneeling or breathing apparatus harness straps. The GORE® PARALLON® System has been developed to specifically combat these risks by introducing a highly breathable Gore thermal barrier.
Internal moisture is efficiently moved through the layers, keeping the thermal protective fabric dry and reducing the risk of steam or wet compression burns. Comfort and breathability is high, reducing the risk of heat stress and keeping the wearer cooler for longer.
In a series of tests comparing other fabrics, the GORE® PARALLON® System delivered the highest protection from radiant and convective heat, with up to 65% more breathability.
When a fire suit becomes wet inside, whether from water or heavy sweating, protection levels normally drop by 45% with decreased time to burn and less time for escape. In tests undertaken in wet conditions, the GORE® PARALLON® System consistently maintained thermal protection, allowing more time to escape and reducing the risk of burns.
If perspiration is allowed to collect inside the clothing and stays on the skin, the wearer feels too hot or too cold, depending on the outside temperature. To maintain peak performance, clothing must “breathe”, letting sweat escape. Very low Ret values can ensure this.
Ret indicates breathability The Ret test quantifies a fabric’s resistance to moisture vapour transfer: the ability to limit the passage of a water vapour molecule from an area of high moisture concentration to an area of low moisture concentration. The lower the resistance to moisture vapour transfer (the Ret value), the better the breathability.
With less breathable clothing, work cycles get shorter and breaks longer; there is a measurable reduction in productivity. Under heavywork loads, body temperature naturally rises, but with Gore technical garments, the clothing's superb breathability makes all the difference and overheating and chill out can be prevented.
These videos explain the tests, comparisons and results of the GORE® PARALLON® System in relation to thermal protection. They also illustrate the results of indicated times to 2nd degree burn and how the GORE® PARALLON® System maintains its thermal protection in both wet and dry conditions. Water in firefighter suits can significantly affect performance, potentially causing serious drops in thermal protection. In ordinary fire ground conditions, the unique multi-barrier configuration of the GORE® PARALLON® System allows fire kit to maintain its thermal protection better when it gets wet.
The GORE® PARALLON® System offers a completely new level of breathability and heat stress management. The environmental conditions in which firefighters work can cause body core temperatures to rise, and even small increases can impair performance and potentially affect safety and effectiveness. The GORE® PARALLON® System enables your firefighting suits to deliver unparalleled breathability and heat stress management across the broadest range of conditions — a level beyond.
Watch these videos to see the human impact tests and results of the GORE® PARALLON® System on core body temperature and how the breathability compares to stationwear!