Because protective gear is only effective when workers use it, 3M has designed a new exceptionally comfortable, ergonomic line of hardhats and helmets made with SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business’ lightweight Xenoy and Lexan OQ optical quality resins.
The new 3M Versaflo M-series respiratory headgear product line uses custom-colored Xenoy polycarbonate/polybutylene terephthalate (PC/PBT) resin for headgear shells and visor frames, enabling thin-wall designs which helps reduce the headgear weight by approximately 15-20 percent compared to the company’s previous L-series products.
Water-clear Lexan OQ PC resin, used for the visors, provides excellent optical qualities and high impact resistance. SABIC’s longstanding relationship with 3M demonstrates the company’s focus on working side-by-side with customers to help them achieve competitive differentiation and business success.
“Our relationship with SABIC has steadily expanded through collaboration on important new applications such as the Versaflo M-series products,” said Al Solyntjes, lead product development specialist, 3M. “The company provided high-performance resins that met our specific requirements, together with value-added analysis, testing and process optimization services that made a significant contribution to the success of this project. Our customers have reported immediate improvements in comfort and protection with Versaflo M-series headgear.”
“Our materials can play a key role in the development of next-generation protective gear that workers feel really good about,” said James LeGacy, North America general manager, Performance Compounding, Innovative Plastics. “SABIC’s versatile, lightweight resins offer designers new ways to enhance comfort, usability and aesthetics, encouraging consistent use and freeing workers to focus on the job – not their headgear. We’re proud of our ongoing work with 3M and its potential for increasing on-the-job safety in challenging environments.”
The new 3M Versaflo M-series hardhats and helmets – used as part of powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) and supplied air (SA) respirator systems – are designed for protection in workplaces such as foundries, automotive refinishing facilities, chemical plants and construction sites.
SABIC’s materials offer key performance attributes to withstand these demanding work environments. Compared to glass-filled nylon, which 3M initially considered for the headgear shells, Xenoy resin delivers superior low-temperature ductility for consistent impact performance in cold weather. The material also provides low specific gravity combined with excellent flow for thin-wall parts to reduce weight. Xenoy resin is custom-colored by SABIC at its manufacturing facility in Mount Vernon, Indiana, USA.
Lexan OQ resin, renowned for its high impact resistance and crystal clarity, enabled 3M to create protective visors that are thin but extremely strong.