Workwear manufacturer and distributor MB Workwear (MBW) has been supplying specialised fire-resistant fabrics producer DuPont’s Nomex inherent flame-resistant overalls, specifically designed for the oil and gas industry, for many years and is the leading supplier of protective clothing to the oil and gas industry.
Marketing director Bruce Glenday tells Engineering News that the Nomex overalls are produced in an ISO- and SABS-accredited factory and provide above-adequate protection against flash fires.
“MBW has 60 years of expertise in producing specialised workwear protection fit for the identified risk application,” says Glenday, adding that, while the fabric is from DuPont, the product is produced at the MBW factory in Port Shepstone, in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Inherent flame-resistant materials comprise heat-resistant synthetic fibres, named aromatic polyamide (aramid) fibres, which do not melt or ignite in normal oxygen levels,” he explains.
With the Nomex overall, the aramid fibre swells and forms a protective barrier between the heat source and the skin. This protective barrier stays flexible until it cools, giving the wearer time to escape when necessary.
In addition to the Nomex overalls, MBW’s fire-resistant range includes Zeroflame, Zeroflame acid-resistant and Vinex products. The fire- and acid-resistant ranges account for about 25% of MBW’s total revenue.
Meanwhile, MBW is planning to introduce a new automated cutting machine in 2016 to improve efficiency in its cutting room.
The company believes introducing automated machinery is one of the few methods of improving production without compromising on quality.
In 2012, MBW acquired two automated pocket setters, two belt loop machines and a pocket hemmer to significantly increase pro- duction. The pocket setters each have a produc- tion capacity of three pockets a minute, the belt loop machines have a capacity of 16 000 units a day, while the pocket hemmer has a capacity of 22 000 units a day.
Glenday asserts that automation has limited impact on jobs, as the company has focused on upskilling the staff and improving overall efficiency, rather than replacing personnel.
MBW has a fully equipped and accredited training school that offers ongoing training to existing staff, as well as learnership courses for unskilled members of the community.
The only criteria for learnership programme applicants are that they are unemployed with a matric qualification and from the surrounding community. The company takes on 25 learners a year and all learners who complete the course get absorbed into the company.