AUTHOR: Nicolas Bykoff
We take the quality of our product engineering extremely seriously here at SHOWA and are constantly innovating our manufacturing processes by using the latest cutting edge engineering in our gloves to ensure that you, the end user, has the best and safest experience at hand.
By making our gloves as comfortable as possible, without compromising on safety, we hope that our users will keep the gloves on at all times and stay safe in their workplaces. This is particularly important in work that requires high cut protection, because accidents here can lead to serious injuries with grave consequences for both the user and the employer.
There’s nowhere that fact is more evident than in our S-TEX technology® gloves that are forged from the same high-carbon steel that Japanese samurai swords are made of – tamahagane – and it doesn’t get much tougher than that material.
Tamahagane (‘tama’ meaning precious and ‘hagane’ meaning steel) is a Japanese term for the hard steel core that forms the strong cutting edge of the blade used in a samurai’s Katana sword and is steeped in rich history.
Traditionally, samurai swords are made by the steel being repeatedly heated, forged, layered, folded and tempered thus helping remove impurities and even out the carbon content of the steel. Then, layers of clay with varying thickness are applied as part of the specialized hardening treatment that makes the blade especially sharp and very absorbent to shocks. The swordsmith then repeats the painstaking layering process until they are happy to have the sword polished, with the best swords taking up to 18 months to craft.
Increasing Demand For Higher Cut-Resistant Protective Gloves
It has been found from an International Safety Association study that with a relevant safety programme and risks prevention, 71% of arm and hand injuries could have been prevented with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), specifically cut-resistant protective gloves. That’s a significant number of preventable accidents.
Wearing the correct cut-resistant gloves makes the difference to protect workers from a variety of threats: cuts and lacerations from the rough and sharp edges of building materials such as glass, bricks and roofing, metal sheets for example. And with that being said, SHOWA’s innovative development of superior cut-resistant technology follows an increasing demand for higher cut protection to improve workplace safety.
While measuring the levels of cut resistance of different materials in the mesh of the glove, it became evident to our researchers that the integration of stainless steel in glove liners could offer exceptional added protection. That research led to development of the S-TEX KV3 gloves which signified the creation of the Hagane Coil® engineered liner using the same type of steel used in samurai swords.
The Hagane Coil® liner history
Throughout our history of comprehensive Research & Development and experience in carrying out in-depth studies in different industrial sectors, SHOWA has always anticipated requirements for personal protection and designed tailored solutions to protect users at work.
SHOWA has since accumulated over 30 years of experience in protective liner manufacturing with the first liner to protect against mechanical risk being released in 1988 which was a seamless knit nylon liner in glove B0500. (Read more on our Innovation Milestones page).
From there on in, ensuring the highest levels of protection along with good dexterity and comfort were our main priorities. It was the sturdy nylon material that combined with the world’s first polyurethane palm coating that offered dexterity as well as good abrasion resistance for general purpose use.
Encouraged by the initial success, SHOWA then integrated new fibers and fiber combinations specifically for achieving higher cut resistance. Since then, our cut protection gloves have come a long way. High Performance Polyethylene (HPPE) fibers first featured in the SHOWA 541 gloves offer effective cut resistance. Liners with integrated aramid fibers, like in the Kevlar® liner in GP-KV1 for example, offer even better cut protection.
How does Hagane Coil® work exactly?
To understand more about how the Hagane Coil® manufacturing process works, we have to look at our innovative coiling technique. This is a unique coiling technique that binds an attending yarn to a strong stainless steel core. The integrated steel core provides better protection than any natural or synthetic fibers, yet it is thin enough to allow flexibility and freedom of movement as the hand bends and flexes when carrying out tasks.
This patented fiber combines Hagane stainless steel with polyester and/or aramid fibers to provide high levels of protection against cuts ranging from 17.5 Newton’s /level D to 35 Newton’s/level F, in accordance with the ISO 13997 standard.
By utilizing different composite yarns, we can create an enhanced wearing experience for users than they may be used to previously with cut-resistance gloves, especially the heavier steel mesh gloves. And depending on your protective glove requirements, it’s the soft yarns and stainless steel combinations that offer more comfort and dexterity, while hard yarns and stainless steel offer superior protection and durability.
It is a combination that offers maximum protection, comfort and performance. With the Hagane Coil® technology being refined over the years and tested by our users who are operating in some of the toughest professional workplace environments, we are proudly able to provide high levels of cut resistance without sacrificing comfort.
The S-TEX Cut-Resistance Series
SHOWA has engineered several liners with Hagane Coil that now make up the S-TEX Series of gloves available; giving you the confidence that these are among the best cut-resistant gloves available worldwide.
For example, if you operate in an industry that needs to eliminate cut injuries, the S-TEX 581 offers a breathable and tactile glove with a significant cut protection of Level E (29 Newton), unlike common glass fiber-based products. By engineering and developing our yarn technology that combines 3 different fibers – Polyester, Hagane Coil® and Kevlar®, we provide a premium cut protection with exceptional grip in a comfortable, lightweight glove.
We’re confident that whatever your protective glove requirements, we’ll be able to help assist you and hopefully you are now aware of how seriously we take the cut-resistant innovation that has led us to develop a series of gloves with the same steel that makes samurai swords.
Speak to one of our experts today to find the most suitable gloves to meet your needs.