Great design doesn’t necessarily come to mind when talking protective equipment, right? Let’s face it, PPE is not fashion-forward. Its primary role is to protect people from life-threatening hazards. But a team of ambitious product designers managed to create a line of products that exudes both functionality, as well as ingenious aesthetics.
This is the story of how our eye-catching hand protection solutions became internationally-acclaimed, before making it to the shelves.
The How Behind The Wow
Rig Dog, Honeywell’s new range of safety gloves, protects workers and professionals from hand injuries occurring in heavy-duty industries such as oil & gas, construction or mining.
Late 2018, one of the four models, received the Good Design Award in the GOOD DESIGN BEST 100 global exhibition, a well-known industry event showcasing some of the world’s leading designs.
“Its safety and reliability can be accurately expressed through its design. Basic comfort is ensured through the material and targeted structural design,” the expert evaluation reads.
The Rig Dog Xtreme Impact glove was recognized for its ergonomic, flexible design which complements the glove’s functional features. Its TPR (thermo-plastic rubber) impact-resist parts are strategically placed across the hand and fingers to protect workers from crushes and pinch point injuries, and its tough textile bears A6/F level cut resist protection.
Impact resistance is critical in extreme environments; however, tougher materials usually translate to less comfort, flexibility or dexterity. These reasons deter workers from putting gloves on in the first place.
“Customers working with slippery surfaces usually complain about poor grip and little dexterity. That’s why Rig Dog’s flex-groove design was inspired by hand morphology and joints, and precisely protects hand bones while ensuring every joint’s freedom of movement, “ Luo Lori, Global Protective Clothing and Textile Leader for Honeywell says.
To ensure impact protection, Honeywell patented the CoreNest technology – a selection of composite materials (Honeycomb sandwich structure fabric) inserted in the TPR. Multilayer fabrics provide ANSI A6/EN388:2016 level cut resistance, enhanced oil and dry/wet grip and level 4 abrasion protection.
The elevated shape design also provides extra impact protection for vulnerable areas like knuckles, fingertips and thumb crotch.
Despite its toughness, the glove remains comfortable. The inner layers of the glove offer level 5 moisture management, keeping hands dry when touching oily surfaces. On the back of the glove, a layer of knitted and foam fabric serves as the substrate of TPR, adding extra comfort, while minimum stitching on palm ensures low oil permeability.
Design meets practicality. Bold colors remain a striking element of the gloves. The high contrast colors and symbolic V-shape design were thoughtfully selected to provide visibility in low-light and help workers make intuitive communication gestures.
The H2O series of Rig Dog uses blue, as blue stands for water. The Red Palm and green TPR were inspired by widely-recognized traffic light colors, which serve the gloves’ communication functionality.
“We struggled a lot with the red palm element, as this material needed to have, apart from a bright red color, a good oil grip, high abrasion, low color migration, and low oil permeation features. However, these features were in conflict, from a technical perspective. To avoid making a compromise on any of them and hit our goals, we made an extra effort and helped our Tier 2 supplier modify their raw material manufacturing process.”
The whole project took about 2 years to complete, from ideation, material development, concept creation, to testing, validation and certification.
The Future Looks Bright
This year, the iF International Forum Design GmbH recognized Rig Dog’s good design at its yearly design competition. And recently, the product has received the Red Dot Award, an acclaimed international design competition.
“We didn’t expect to receive 3 design awards, but this inspires us to design and develop products with the user in mind”, Lori says. “We believe our design was recognized not only for its appearance, but for the functional material development and ergonomic user experience design.”