Research & Development

HexArmor® – The Industry Leader in Needle Protection

Needles are sharp, beveled cutting instruments designed to pierce the skin. To stop them from puncturing the skin, you need to stop the cutting action by putting something hard in front of them, such as the protective guardplates found in SuperFabric® brand materials. HexArmor® needle resistant products work by layering SuperFabric® brand materials over each other. SuperFabric® brand material guardplates block and deflect needle hazards or trap and arrest them in the small gaps found between guardplates. Multiple aligned layers of fabric provide extra resistance against needle hazards.

HexArmor® products are tested in real world applications and are proven to reduce needlestick injuries. Using the correct test will ensure you have the right glove to protect your employees. As always, we recommend proper field testing to validate the appropriate level of protection necessary for your application.

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The Truth about Needle Testing

For years the EN388 and ASTM 1342 were the main tests used for measuring puncture resistance for PPE. The shortcoming of the EN388 and ASTM 1342 tests are that they do not replicate real-world puncture hazards such as needles, slivers, burrs, frayed wire, wire rope, or glass shards. Is the truth in the test? The reason these tests are not relevant for puncture is simple. The test probe for the EN388 test is rounded and blunt, larger than the end of a ball-point pen. The test measures more of a tear or burst hazard, but has almost no relevance when it comes to needle or industrial testing. The test probe for the ASTM 1342 is thinner and more pointed than the E388 probe, but it still does not come close to replicating a needlestick hazard.

According to a March 11, 2011 ASTM Newsroom Press Release (#8815), this is an issue that the standards committees recognized, as well as other manufacturers: Due to risk of infection from blood-borne pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C, hypodermic needlesticks pose a life-safety risk to healthcare professionals, law enforcement officials, sanitation workers, and others. A new ASTM International standard addresses the unique mechanics of hypodermic needle puncture as related to protective clothing. The ASTM F2878 - 10 Standard Test Method for Protective Clothing Material Resistance to Hypodermic Needle Puncture was developed by Subcommittee F23.20 on Physical, part of ASTM International Committee F23 on Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment.

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HexArmor® and ASTM F2878 Test

HexArmor® has long understood these shortcomings and has been testing using a modified ASTM 1342 test using 25 gauge hypodermic needles. With the new ASTM F2878 test we are able to now standardize testing based on international standards. Here is the ASTM F2878 Test Overview:

  • Testing can be done using a 21G, 25G, or 28G needle
  • HexArmor tested using a 25G needle
  • Puncture probe (25G needle) travels at a 90˚ angle into a specimen at a velocity of 500mm/min
  • Amount of force necessary to puncture through the specimen is recorded to the nearest .01 Newton
  • The average of the 12 results is reported
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