We live in a world of constant evolution and advancements in technology. In the flame-resistant and arc-rated apparel industry, it’s more important than ever to use science to showcase your products and technology. The benefits of taking a research-based approach to sales, marketing, and development are vast and we want to tell you why you should make room in the budget for technical research…and how it can power your market.
Research can be defined as, “the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions”. As the supplier of a service or product, technical research can be used to solve problems and build credibility with your customer base, peers, and even competitors. Research is a way to engage with your customers—it can help you to learn about issues your customers are facing and how your product may help to solve them. What can you do to improve the product? Are customer concerns about the product legitimate from a technical point of view? How do you know?
The Competitive Edge
Over 20 years ago, the idea of ArcWear was inspired in a meeting after a discussion about a cotton shirt igniting on a lineman in an electrical explosion. At the time, the impact of the arc flash phenomenon and prevention of injury was not well understood. Today, we’ve learned many things about arc flash and come a long way with standard development. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us the fatality rate of those that had exposure to an arc component has been on the decline since the year 2000. This decrease may be attributed to the increase in research and knowledge and the impact of standard development and protective products hitting the market. Today, there are many products on the market serving as PPE solutions for the arc flash hazard–these products help workers to go home safely at the end of their shift.
Accident investigations and competitive research (performed by manufacturers on other products) drive new product development. In a technical market like arc flash, the competitive advantage comes from knowledge and relationships. One (unnamed) company built an entire business around arc rated t-shirts by showing the power of their technology after a major food company had a preventable fatality from a t-shirt ignition.
Another company developed an arc rated faceshield after basing a concept on steel smelting PPE and tweaking the prototype—this company spent three days testing different formulations of polypropionate. A competitor surpassed the original idea by changing the material to polycarbonate to meet the standard, and another competitor found dyes that allowed for enhanced color vision which made the shields even easier to use in the field. Working with your clients and pushing the competitive edge to take on research to solve a problem can pay for itself with new products or goodwill from the industry. Most of the market leaders today were the market researchers 20 years ago.
Drive Your Company and the Industry Forward
Using research and science to back your data allows you to make good decisions based on facts and evidence, and to establish yourself as a leader in the industry. Performing technical research and sharing results can help you to drive standards development and the marketplace. Currently, ArcWear staff is researching the effects of sweat and moisture in the performance of arc rated clothing, as this is a question that comes up frequently with both manufacturers and end users.What will your next research project be? Remember, performing and sharing technical research not only benefits your company—it helps the industry to progress and grow as a whole.
It’s important to us to do our part to advance the knowledge of the industry to better protect workers. If you’re interested in reading about the studies performed by our staff or learning more about arc flash, check out our resources page which includes some of our publications and informational articles written for magazines. If you have questions about an article or a potential research project, reach out.