Technology is advancing at a rapid rate, and these advances are not limited to televisions, smart phones or tablets. This infographic highlights just how many different types and levels of cut resistant glove technologies there are to choose from. The latest technology includes man-made materials that are not only cut resistant but have also tested to be 15 times stronger than steel. Even more astonishing are materials which use overlaid plastic guards in strategic placement patterns that thwart blades away from the base fabric. With this many choices for levels and materials, it can be overwhelming having to decide which is best, and there is the potential that not being fully aware (or knowledgeable) with all the options could expose you to unnecessary risk. Continue reading to learn about the different types and levels of materials/fibers available and to be better equipped in your search to choose the right cut resistant glove for the job.
The level of cut resistance can be adjusted by the type of material/fibers selected, thickness and external coatings applied during the manufacturing process. The following are some of the most commonly used materials/fibers for cut-resistant gloves; they are organized by strength.
- Spectra® Fiber – this ultra-high molecular -weight polyethylene fiber offers high cut resistance even under wet conditions. It is up to 15 times stronger than steel per unit weight and yet still floats in water.
- Dyneema® Fiber – another ultra-high molecular-weight polyethylene fiber which is up to 15 times stronger than steel per unit weight and also floats. Developed in Europe is slightly different from Spectra in its molecular structure and has shown to have more elasticity.
- Kevlar® Aramid Fiber – this material is flame resistant (does not begin to char until 800° F) and is 5 times stronger than steel per unit weight yet lightweight and flexible.
- Fiber-Metal blends – these are woven fabrics which have been created by blending the heavy fibers with stainless steel.
- Metal Mesh – this material is characterized by interlocked stainless steel mesh and is considered to have great strength that also offers advanced puncture protection.
- SuperFabric® – this material is created by overlaying a base layer of fabric with hard plastic guard platelets in a precise pattern. The guards enhance the fabric’s ability to grip.
- Synthetics Fabrics – this includes any fabrics which are created using man-made fibers such as polyester, nylon, etc.
- Natural Fabrics – this includes any fabrics which are created using fibers from naturally occurring gibers such as cotton, leather, latex, etc.
Some things to note:
- The lighter weight gloves are more flexible which helps to reduce hand fatigue
- Grip can be improved by coating the gloves, however, some coatings should not be used if food will be handled
- Cut-resistance is not the same as puncture resistance and manufacture specs should be reviewed if puncture resistance is required
Click the image above for our guide to new ANSI and EN399 cut levels
Cut-Resistant Test Methods
One item of notable importance when selecting the proper glove is the different standards used and the tests for each.
In North America the standards used are the ASTM F1790 ’05 and ISO 13997. Both describe the same Tomodynamometer (TDM) test and an updated version of the Cut Protection Performance Test (CPT). The tests involve moving a blade, in a straight line, over the fabric being tested while measuring the total pressure one can apply to a razor blade for at least 0.8 inches.
The European equivalent is the EN 388-2003, which describes the Couptest method. This method involves using a circular blade and moving it back and forth over the fabric being tested and counting how may recurring cuts were needed to cut through in the same location on said fabric.
Cut Resistance Performance Levels
From the results of the test methods, we can then obtain the individual fabric performance levels.
For ASTM & ISO the levels are as follows:
For EN 388 the levels are as follows:
What Level Is Right for my Job?
Now that we understand more about the way that the different fabrics are made and tested, let’s figure how you can choose the right glove. The most widely accepted way is to use the appropriate level based on the type of hazards you will be encountering while wearing.
- Level 0: these fabrics offer no protection.
- Level 1: these fabrics offer protection for cuts considered to be nuisance to the wearer, such as paper cuts or automotive maintenance. (i.e. natural fibers like latex, leather or cotton)
- Level 2: these fabrics offer protection for low cut hazards such as those that occur in construction, packaging and some masonry work. (i.e. heavier weight synthetic fibers like nylon or polyester)
- Level 3: these fabrics offer protection for moderate cut hazards from jobs such as light-duty glass handling or light metal stamping. (i.e. higher performance materials such as Kevlar® or SuperFabric)
- Level 4: these fabrics offer protection for high cut hazards from applications such as sheet metal handling or food service. (i.e. steel and most man-made materials such the Spectra® and Dyneema®)
- Level 5: these fabrics offer protection for extreme cut hazards from uses similar to plate glass handling and meat/poultry processing. (i.e. the heaviest weight man-made materials and meal mesh)
If you correctly follow the performance level methodology you are sure to find the right glove for the job. Need help deciding which level or material is best for your employees? Our safety experts can help. Let them guide you through the many options available; it’s as simple as contacting your local ORR Safety account manager.