Victaulic – which casts ductile iron and nonferrous valve and pipe products at five foundries worldwide – has partnered with textile producer Toray Fluorofibers and fire-garment manufacturer Majestic Fire Apparel, to develop a foundry worker safety coat that improves molten-metal splash protection, with more “breathability” and better worker comfort.
Victaulic began outfitting its Easton, PA, ductile iron foundry workforce with the safety coats last fall, and the coats are available now for purchase to other manufacturers.
The BOGU coat (the name is derived from a Japanese word meaning “armor”) originated as part of Victaulic’s effort to implement world-class safety standards. After a year of material tests at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the research team had developed both a woven and non-woven polytetraflouroethylene (PTFE) fabric that withstands the impact of a 2,800°F molten iron splash.
“Our previous foundry coat was adequate from a protection standpoint, but it was hot, the fabric did not breathe well, and (it) was difficult to launder,” said Zach Jerrold, Victaulic’s global EH&S manager. “The BOGU coat provides an equal, if not slightly better, level of protection but also provides a much higher level of comfort for our employees.
“The feedback we have received on the coats has been very positive,” he added.
Developed with feedback from metalcasting workers, who understand the day-to-day demands of the foundry operations, the coats are engineered to be up to 30% lighter than the industry-standard aluminized Kevlar jackets. When exposed to hot seasonal temperatures and the heat from molten metal, the new Victaulic safety garments offers better durability and more functionality with its breathable vents.
Also, the coats are machine washable without degradation – protecting its inherent fire retardant properties, unlike the formerly used garments.
“Victaulic is proud of this significant safety accomplishment. These coats will withstand the rugged foundry environment much better than the existing industry standard outer garments,” stated Bill D’Amico, Victaulic’s global environment health and safety director. “We will share this advancement with others in the industry in the hopes of advancing foundry safety worldwide and, more importantly, the protection of our most valuable asset – our employees.”
The BOGU coat is available for purchase from Majestic Fire Apparel.