Many of today’s most cut-resistant gloves look anything but—they’re slim, form-fitting and able to help fend off cuts and lacerations in the most hazardous of occupations. But isn’t that counterintuitive? You would expect better cut protection to come with a thicker, less dexterous glove and not the comfortable, fits-like-a-glove options available today.
What’s the Secret?
In Medieval times, if you wanted to protect yourself from sharp edges (most notably, your enemy’s sword), you would need to dress head-to-toe in chain mail; a cumbersome garment that could weigh at least 20lbs and made it extremely difficult to maneuver. Fast-forward 500 or so years, and cut protection has come a long way. You can still find chain mail gloves (typically in industries where the utmost cut protection is needed), but the options for thin, comfortable gloves also offering cut protection are boundless.
The secret is in the science. Instead of relying on one strong fiber, today’s best cut-resistant gloves are made from yarns engineered to incorporate the benefits of two or more components. For instance, high-strength yarns, such as Kevlar®, Dyneema® and TenActiv,™ can be combined with elements, like fiberglass or steel, to create an engineered yarn with unparalleled cut protection.
“Adding steel to a high-performance yarn is like reinforcing concrete with steel rebar,” said Tony Geng, President of Superior Glove. “It is making something that’s already strong even stronger.”
There are four factors that influence the cut resistance of knitted gloves:
- Strength: Examples of high-strength yarns include TenActiv™ and Kevlar®
- Hardness (dulling): An example of a hard yarn is stainless steel, which is a popular option in engineered yarns
- Lubricity (slickness): Yarns such as TenActiv™ are “slippery,” allowing a blade to slide over the surface without cutting through
- Rolling action (knit construction): Most knit gloves will allow the different yarns to roll as a sharp edge slides over, creating a “ball bearing effect” where the sharp edge slides across without cutting through the material
Much like cookies n’ cream and peanut butter and jelly, engineered yarn takes two things that are great on their own and combines them to form something even better. The more of the above-named four factors that can be engineered into a yarn, the more cut resistant it will be.
Hand injuries are the second most-common workplace injury, right after back injuries. In almost 40% of cases, hand injuries were a result of cuts or lacerations; and, in 70% of cases, a hand injury occurred because the person wasn’t wearing gloves.
Gloves made from engineered yarns are perfect for industries such as pulp and paper and metal stamping, where both a high level of cut protection and dexterity are required. Many hand injuries occur when workers remove their gloves to perform a task required for their job that couldn’t be performed wearing the gloves. This is where gloves made from engineered yarn truly outperform, as the dexterity and comfort of the gloves allow them to be worn through all tasks, all day long. Without the need to remove their gloves, workers will be better protected against injury.
There you have it: the “secret” to how form-fitting gloves can provide high levels of cut protection. It’s not magic; it’s simply science and a little ingenuity!
As a leader in cut-resistance innovation, check out Superior Glove’s website (www.superiorglove.com) to view the vast selection of cut-resistant gloves and find your perfect pair. WMHS