Bristol launches ‘mix and match’ approach to structural firefighting gear

Published:  12 September, 2011

XFlex is an innovative systems approach that uses different fabrics to achieve the same EN standard.

Building on the success of the Ergotech designs introduced in 2003, the XFlex system incorporates the well established lighter weight features with a new range of fabric combinations all able to achieve EN469:2005 Level 2.

This has been made possible by the integration of an entirely new thermal lining designed specifically for Bristol Uniforms by Hainsworth.

ECO-dry is an innovative garment lining available in two formats, ECO-dry Active and ECO-dry Cool.

When used in combination with Crosstech Fireblocker moisture barrier, the flexibility of the XFlex sytem derives from the range of outer layers with which it can be married to achieve Level 2 performance rating. Included in the available options are Hainsworth Titan, Hainsworth Atlas (both incorporating Nomex fibres) and PBI Matrix.

EN 469 performance tests show that protection provided from convective heat and flame (EN 367), radiant heat (EN ISO 6942) and water vapour resistance (EN 31092) for all the options comfortably exceed the standards required for Level 2 performance. Combining a lighter weight outer fabric, either PBI Matrix or Hainsworth Titan, with the heavier ECO-dry Active provides comparable performance with the Hainsworth Atlas combined with the lighter ECO-dry Cool.

XFlex extends colour choice with PBI Matrix fabric available in gold, Hainsworth Atlas in Paris navy and a range of Hainsworth Titan fabric colours including blue, red, grey and tan. The XFlex system is rich in comfort features ensuring an ergonomic fit. The coat features a curved hem, shaped shoulder yokes, shoulder shaping and underarm gussets. The trouser waist incorporates a high curved back whilst the legs have fully articulated knee shaping with a more flexible reinforcement fabric. A total of 28 male and female sizes are available as standard with 7 chest and 4 height fittings.

Commenting on Bristol’s new product strategy, joint MD Roger Startin, said, “Being a successful global competitor has meant our having to look at new ways of achieving a truly pan European solution to meeting the varying needs of municipal firefighters across Europe without having to design, test and make an increasingly large number of different combinations. XFlex provides us with a product offering which is more flexible than anything we have designed to date. Not only are we now able to offer a range of unique technical solutions, but with an enlarged choice of colours, greater comfort and improved fit, these ergonomically efficient designs allow us to bring to the market, for the first time, a universal European structural protective fire coat and trouser combination” He added, “A further benefit could be the wider choice now available to customers in our international markets as a result of the increased adoption of EN standards in other parts of the world.” 

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