Testing of materials and choosing the appropriate fabric is one of the most important stages of new product development. The suitable material, perfect cut and design are a guarantee to produce 100% functional outdoor clothing.
It is necessary to test all parameters of chosen materials not only by using the final products (Direct Alpine test team) but also in laboratory conditions. In this way we cooperate with the Department of Clothing Technology of the Textile faculty (TUL). Their top level laboratories provide the most up to date measuring devices. The department also actively participates in development of new technologies used in the textile industry.
Let’s have a look at some testing devices used by our company before the actual choice of material goes into production.
This is a machine used to find out the endurance of material against the abrasion and pilling. The basis of this test is rubbing the material against the same textile and measuring the level of pilling. In case of testing the abrasion the material is rubbed by specified standardized woolen material, similar to “sand paper”. The limit of this particular material is approx. 15 000 turns without remarkable damage.
In the pictures below there are the pilling tests of Patrol and Badile materials after 20 000 turns and 40 000 turns.
Badile (20.000 Turns) Badile (40.000 Turns)
This machine measures the wetting power and way of the water penetration in the textile (not the water column) – it is actually “evaluation of repellence”. The device provides the possibility to set the achieved level of the waterproofing and the resistance of materials to water absorption. Measuring is carried out by rain simulation that acts on the tested material for given amount of time by given amount of water. We use mainly Kudos XR from Toray or Nano tech and DWR (durable water repellency) impregnation technologies.
Human skin simulation
Measuring the vapor permeability – one of the most important features of technical clothing, especially for membrane materials. This machine measures the resistance to vapors. The basе is а heated moisten porous panel that simulates human skin. Measuring comes from the relation between evaporation and the heat flow. The simulation shows the evaporation of moisture from the human skin and its permeability through the textile. We use membranes of the Japanese company Toray and our own 4 way Tex.
Human comfort simulation
Physiologic properties of clothing are important because they significantly influence the wearer's feelings, psych and performance. Most objective way is to carry out testing with pro bands. These can be carried out under real conditions – using clothing in real conditions or under controlled conditions and activities in a laboratory. Measurement under controlled conditions has significant advantages, testing conditions are reproducible and sensors can be connected to the person's body with the aim to gain objective data. Such data may include heart rate, temperature and skin moisture.
This machine measures the thermal insulating features of materials. The higher thermal resistance the better insulating features of materials. We use this device mainly when choosing the winter-product materials (Polartec, Primaloft).
Shirley Hydrostatic Head Tester
This device is used for measuring the water column (the resistance of fabric to water penetration). What is measured is the water pressure adequate to the water column. Compressed air and water from the machine nozzle apply pressure on the fabric. The limit for outdoor barrier textile is min 10 000 mm. Membranes we use in our Mountain Top Series achieve 20 000 mm (Mallet, Midi – 30 000 mm). In spite of the relatively high water column numbers of the materials we use, the main focus is on the vapor permeability of the membranes guaranteed by the Toray company and its long-term achievements.
The thermal imaging is a method for detecting the temperature field on the surface of materials by measuring the intensity of the infrared radiation.
Our measuring is focused mostly on:
· detecting both the overt and the hidden locations of heat loss on the human body in a specific outfit
· comparing the protection against cold of various outfits and various insulating materials
· determining the optimal combination of outer and insulation materials
SDL M021S - Windproof Measuring Device
It shows the level of resistance of the material to the wind influence from the outside. The lower permeability of the material the better is its resistance to wind.
RIPPER - Strength in tension - Lab Test 2050