We Aren’t Sacrificing Comfort Anymore

7 Feb

Recently we announced that we have partnered with Milliken & Company to take a fresh approach to solving a decades-old challenge in the flame-resistant apparel industry – that comfort has to be sacrificed in order to provide the right level of safety. With the development of the Bulwark iQ Series, and its exclusive Amplitude G2 fabric, FR wearers will enjoy a new age of protective garments that are light, breathable, fashionable and superior in comfort.

In looking for an innovative partner that could help design a truly breakthrough solution, we quickly realized that Milliken & Company was uniquely qualified to solve the complex science and fabric challenges of today’s FR clothing. Our customer knowledge, job-related insights and garment design expertise produced a deeper understanding of the real problem to be addressed. These capabilities, combined with Milliken’s voracious appetite for FR and fabric innovation, led to the creation of Bulwark iQ series, a completely new experience to meet the needs of workers and linemen in the electric utility, oil and gas, emerging energy and NFPA 70E® (manufacturing) industries.

“Bulwark and Milliken & Company are driving the biggest innovation in flame-resistant apparel in 50 years,” said Chris Holcombe, Bulwark, vice president and general manager. “There is no other product like the Bulwark iQ series that meets the performance and comfort needs of FR wearers in the marketplace today. Typical FR apparel is heavy, hot and scratchy – tempting workers to shed their protective gear on the job in naturally unforgiving climates. Bulwark iQ series is FR apparel that workers will want to wear; not just need to wear.”

To read the full story on the innovating iQ Series, click here prnewswire.com

The Future Of FR Is Here: And we’re perfectly comfortable with that

21 Jan

Today we announced the launch of the iQ Series™, a product line that delivers superior comfort through fabric and design innovation — without compromising the trust and safety of wearers.

Designed to meet the needs of workers and linemen in the electric utility, oil and gas, emerging energy and NFPA 70E (manufacturing) industries, the iQ Series offers wearers increased comfort through superior breathability, mobility, softness, durability, and moisture wicking – while providing protection from flames, arc flash fires, and similar dangers.

“At Bulwark, ‘No Compromise’ is our unwavering pledge to develop protective FR garments for workers who put their lives on the line every day. Each year we spend countless hours with workers who wear FR to understand their needs,” said Chris Holcombe, vice president and general manager, Bulwark FR. “For years, workers have had to sacrifice comfort for safety, but no more. The iQ Series offers workwear garments that combine active wear performance, protection and a new age of FR fabric. It’s better, smarter, more comfortable FR gear that people will want to wear – and not just while they’re working.”

To read the full story on the IQ Series launch, click here: prnewswire.com

Layering and Undergarments

17 Oct

According to NFPA 70E section 130.7 (C) (9) (a), layering of non-melting flammable garments is permitted to be worn under FR garments for added protection. However, the system arc rating of the innermost FR layer must be sufficient to prevent break open and ignition of the flammable under layer.

Only FR layers within the layered system are used to determine system arc rating. Arc ratings of individual layers cannot simply be added together. Any garment worn as the outer layer, including rainwear, must be arc-rated.

Melt-able fibers such as acetate, nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and spandex cannot be used in under layers next to the skin except that an incidental amount of elastic is permitted in socks and underwear.

Because of changes to the 2009 Edition of NFPA 70E, we can no longer advise wearers to simply add individual single layer arc ratings together to arrive at a system arc rating for layered garments. Annex M.3.2 of the 2012 Edition of NFPA 70E states that the total system arc rating cannot be determined by adding the arc ratings of the individual layers… The only way to determine the total system arc rating is to conduct a multilayer arc test on the combination of all the layers assembled as they would be worn.

Bulwark has conducted a series of layered arc tests to determine the total system arc rating of various combinations of base layer fabrics under shirts and coverall fabrics over shirts and pants. Click here to download our Layered Arc Rating Summary Chart.

Forecasting, Rig Count, and FR

26 Aug

Most people would quip, predicting the future requires a crystal ball and some magical ‘sayings’.  In business, forecasting market dynamics is much more of an art than science.  However, business builds technology and departments on the science of the past to predict the promise of the future.  From revenue projections, inventory levels, and general investment platforms – all these metrics are built on “what could be” tomorrow.  Business constantly looks for market indicators to help predict ‘tomorrow’ that enables better investment and business tactics.

The secondary flame resistant (FR) market is no different.  In a market, where skilled labor can’t work without the right equipment, availability of product for at-once delivery is of utmost importance.  FR shirts, pants, jeans, coveralls, and outerwear are all required for workers to ‘drill for oil, ‘repair down utility lines’, and ‘install new electrical systems in a manufacturing plant’.  So with all the complicated dynamics of multiple industry – how do you know when or how much to divert your attention to supplying this market?

Over decades of research and history, not perfect, but the best indicator to predict the FR market strength is…..Rig Count.  Yes, how many rigs are active in the country.  While this only speaks to one of the industries served by secondary FR clothing, it is historically the best indicator.  Yes, price of oil, number of OSHA inspectors, and strength of the dollar – are all contributing factors – but watch rig count.  Baker Hughes is an excellent resource to track this metric.  All information is on-line and easily accessible.  It is as detailed as you care to drill (pun intended).  The demand for FR clothing follows the rig count data better than any other metric.  Check it out.  http://investor.bakerhughes.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=79687&p=irol-rigcountsoverview

So what do you do with this? If you’re a supplier and looking for new product lines to offer – you might consider FR clothing.  Rig Count (and ‘surprise’ the FR market in general) has been growing significantly in the past several years.  Will the growth continue? Will it stabilize? Soften? Grab your crystal ball and find out – or maybe watch the Rig Count and begin the journey a little earlier than your competition OR catch up really quickly.  If you’re a safety manager or wearer – know that growing markets attract many suppliers – look for brands and suppliers who are investing in this market in both product and expertise to help provide trusted solutions to your needs.

Robert Grimes

Managing Director – Bulwark

Safety 2013: A Retrospective

1 Jul

Two new booths a’ buzzin’.

Countless connections made.

FR Genius-ing at its finest.

And showgirls – dozens of fantailed, feathered showgirls.

Sprinkled (and quite impressively spangled) about the conference show floor.

These are but a few of the glitzier highlights from Safety 2013 in Vegas. All memories that explain why we at Bulwark described our experience on the flight home so often as being, well, kinda “Kick ASSE.”

Of course, it was our privilege – and honestly, our obligation – to be there.

For more than five decades the American Society of Safety Engineers has been serving up a professional development conference that arms attendees with top-notch, mission-critical SH&E information and insight. In an atmosphere that is conducive to networking, and knowledge-sharing. In just under that same span of time, Bulwark has been working tirelessly to outfit those uncompromising individuals who make occupational safety their vocation with the very best FR has to offer. In every possible way.

It only makes sense we get together.

So to all the organizers of this incredible event, thank you. And to the thousands around the world who devote themselves to helping create safer workplaces by preventing fatalities, injuries and illnesses – we salute you. It was an honor to reconnect with you at Safety 2013. Though Vegas in all of its flashy, outrageous, larger-than-lifeness can get to be a bit much, the venue also provides us the chance to give you something you rarely receive, never expect, and so richly deserve.

A little time in the spotlight.




 FR Lounge

The MVP of FR Set To Roll Big at The Super Bowl of Safety

12 Jun

Today we announced our plans to participate at the American Society of Safety Engineers’ Safety 2013 Conference in Las Vegas (Las Vegas Convention Center, June 24-27, 2013). A fantastic opportunity for “the FR outfit of No Compromise,” according to David Crace, VP of Marketing at VF Imagewear.

“At Bulwark, we have come to think about ASSE’s annual Safety show as our Super Bowl,” says Crace. “ASSE represents the very core of the Safety, Health & Environmental community, just as Bulwark represents the very core of FR. It’s an honor – and frankly, an obligation – for us to be there. To connect with safety managers on a 1:1 basis, to remind them of all the ways our obsessive vigilance can translate to their ultimate trust; and to show them where we as a brand, and the industry as a whole, are headed.”

We will have a significant presence on the show floor at Safety 2013. First, at a “showcase” booth (#1337), where visitors can get the latest information on NFPA 70E, NFPA 2112 and Combustible Dust; as well as pose their burning questions to Bulwark’s Technical Experts at the booth’s FR Smart Bar throughout the event. Then again at the Bulwark-sponsored FR Lounge, (Booth #537) – where those who gain admission can mix and mingle with their SH&E peers, as well as get an exclusive look at the latest Bulwark apparel. To gain admission, attendees must first go to Booth #1337 or sign up online.

To add to the excitement, we are also planning a number of great giveaways at random times in both of its floor locations. Ranging from free custom T-shirts and hats, to ten sets of $100 in casino chips for the table, to a free iPad for one lucky winner. “Just bet on 42 years of FR experience and register at Booth #1337,” says Crace.

For updates on all Bulwark happenings at Safety 2013, follow them on Twitter and on Facebook.

Here for Oklahoma

22 May


Because the tragedy in Oklahoma makes us heart sick.

Bulwark has been serving the roughnecks, fuel haulers, and refinery workers of the oil and gas industry for over four decades. And nowhere is our story more entwined with theirs than in this remarkable – and resilient – part of the country.  Many of those impacted are friends, or folks that distribute, buy and wear our clothes. All weigh heavily on our mind.

Come Monday, Oklahoma will need to go back to work. To fund the rebuilding of homes, families, and lives. The last thing we want them worrying about is “do they have the safety gear required to work?”;  “Can they afford to replace the gear they lost?”  We can help with that.

For the next few weeks, Bulwark will provide free FR for those directly impacted by the tragedy in Moore. Workers in Oklahoma simply need to reach out to the Bulwark distributors listed below and we will take it from there.

We would also like to extend this offer to electrical utility workers descending on Moore to help in reconstruction and relief. Many of these crews are hundreds of miles from home and may get caught short on FR.  We’ll lend a hand there, too.

Ultimately, it’s a small thing. But Oklahoma, this is also a family thing. And now more than ever, you need to know that your family extends well beyond your borders.

Be safe. And stand strong.

If your distributor has questions, they can call 800-207-5402 for details.

2312 POLE ROAD, MOORE, OK 73160 (800-275-3461)
1200 SOUTH AGNEW, OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73108 (405-232-4445)
11600 S. MERIDIAN AVE, OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73173 (405-692-7278)
2701 WEST RENO AVENUE, OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73107 (405-235-8621)
4314 WILL ROGERS PKWY., OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73108 (405-943-9631)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.