SABIC’s Xenoy and Lexan resins provide comfort to new 3M safety headgear
According to SABIC Innovative Plastics’ announcement on December 15, its lightweight Xenoy and Lexan OQ optical resins were used by
3M to design a new comfortable, ergonomic line of hardhats and helmets, Versaflo M-series.
As introduced, the new M-series uses custom-colored Xenoy PC/PBT resin for headgear shells and visor frames, enabling thin-wall designs which help reduce the headgear weight by approximately 15-20% compared to 3M’s previous L-series products. Meanwhile, the water-clear Lexan OQ PC resin, used for the visors, provides good transparency and high impact resistance.
The new Versaflo M-series hardhats and helmets, used as part of Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) and Supplied Air (SA) respirator systems, are designed for protection in workplaces such as foundries, automotive refinishing facilities, chemical plants and construction sites.
“Our relationship with SABIC has steadily expanded through collaboration on important new applications such as the Versaflo M-series products,” said Al Solyntjes, Leading Product Development Specialist, 3M. “The company provided high performance resins that met our specific requirements, together with value-added analysis, testing and process optimization services that made a significant contribution to the success of this project. Our customers have reported immediate improvements in comfort and protection with Versaflo M-series headgear.”
As stated in the release, 3M initially considered using glass-filled nylon for the headgear shells, but chose the Xenoy resin because of its low temperature ductility for consistent impact performance in cold weather. Custom-colored by SABIC, the material also provides low specific gravity combined with good flow for thin-wall parts to reduce weight. Meanwhile, Lexan OQ resin enabled 3M to create protective visors that are thin but extremely strong.
“Our materials can play a key role in the development of next-generation protective gear that workers feel really good about,” said James LeGacy, North America General Manager, Performance Compounding, Innovative Plastics. “SABIC’s versatile, lightweight resins offer designers new ways to enhance comfort, usability and aesthetics, encouraging consistent use and freeing workers to focus on the job – not their headgear. We’re proud of our ongoing work with 3M and its potential for increasing on-the-job safety in challenging environments.”
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