Thoughts from NFPA....

This week I attended the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Conference in Las Vegas, NV.  Initially, I thought it is somewhat ironic that such a massive industry is dedicated to protecting all of us against one of man's all-time greatest tools:  fire.  We use fire, flame, and heat to manufacture, keep us comfortable, cook our food, and all of the other uses each of us know well.  Fire can be also very destructive and unfortunately, fatal.  We are all taught this from a very early age.

As I walked the expo floor, it seemed the common theme among all the different vendors was automation.  Automatic flame detection, automated systems to reduce arc-flash threats, sophisticated automation in sprinkler systems.  Technology has certainly been adopted and widespread in this industry - and it makes sense.  In the devastating circumstance in which a fire, arc-flash, or flash fire can occur, every single second counts.  Automation can alert us and give us the precious time to escape and save our homes, belongings and even our lives.

That brings me to my final thought:  how can clothing provide automation?  In an industrial environment, the only conclusion I could arrive at was comfort and unifomity.  If clothing fits a wearer well, less time is spent adjusting constantly throughout the day.  If clothing makes a wearer look professional and feel good, the "dress for success" psyche takes over and gives a person confidence.  If clothing is lightweight and breathable in a hot working environment, the wearer cools down faster, takes shorter breaks and thus is more productive.  If a team of workers is uniformly dressed, supervisors and customers can automatically identify them - just ask the folks at UPS if a uniform has helped their company.

An abstract, silly thought?  Perhaps.  But clothing costs in business will never go away.  And decision makers looking to provide the highest levels of automation in clothing should seek newer technology to maximize comfort, productivity, and bottom-line value.

- The TECGEN Talker

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