Continual Design Improvements Would Lead To High-Performing Industrial Glove

Industrial gloves have emerged as a common personal protective equipment used by workers across different industrial workplaces. Various industries such as automotive, food & healthcare, use protective gloves to ensure worker’s safety and health & prevent cross contaminations across processes and equipment.

Gloves can be reusable or disposable, the former find wide applications in harsher work environment, while the latter is prominently used in milder work environment to prevent product contamination. These gloves are made from polymers of several types of compounds, including nitrile, butyl, neoprene, polyvinyl chloride, and natural rubber or latex depending on the chemicals the workers handle in different industrial processes.

Responsive and responsible glove manufacturers look for mechanism to determine the suitability of a glove material to avoid the reactivity of chemical compounds.  Most of them prefer ASTM F739 and EN 374 tests for determining the extent of glove degradation in terms of physical changes in texture and color and permeation. This allows the end-use industries to understand various performance parameters and suitability of glove materials in chemical environments. End-use industries consider protecting workers from skin contact with chemicals as the feature of Industrial Gloves, but additional functionalities fulfilled by glove such as high heat resistance and cut property, protection under intermittent splashes or considerable immersion in chemicals are other factors that would determine the market adoption of different types of gloves. Employers in various industries are also required to train their workers on the following: which tasks would require glove use and which would not; how to properly use, take preventive care, and dispose of the gloves. 

Global awareness about work safety culture, presence of numerous threats to working personnel, rapidly rising demand of gloves food processing industry and design of advanced dexterity gloves, are some of the key factors that foster the growth of the market across regions. Furthermore, the outbreak of various epidemics such as swine flu, ebola and others resulting in increased use of gloves in product protection applications would unlock abundant growth opportunities in this market. Factors that may restrain the market growth are fluctuation in raw material prices and the increasing use of robotics in various complex manufacturing processes. Key market players are working on introducing new glove designs with enhanced grip and nimbleness in handling equipment that would help them to overcome the key market challenges.

Last year, Ansell, an Australian manufacturing company, launched ultra-light cut-resistant form-fitting Hyflex gloves which helps preserve process and product quality control since it is silicone-free and excellent anti-static properties. The gloves are very useful in conditions where touch and flexibility feature is of paramount importance and increasingly adapts to various other workplace demands. Manufactures are shifting towards high-end use materials such as preferring synthetic gloves over rubber gloves, since they cause less allergic reactions than rubber gloves. Another world leader in hand protection solutions Globus launched Showa 379 glove in 2015 to protect workers against chemicals and oils by providing a flexible and viable hand protection solution. Glove manufacturers have to be cautious about various factors that may limit the functionality of gloves. Factors such as permeation, penetration and degradation are crucial. For example, harmful chemicals can penetrate through pores, pinholes or any other similar imperfections present in the protective glove. 

The expanding application of gloves in various end-use industries and rapid industrialization and innovative healthcare reforms in Asia Pacific region would unlock vast growth opportunities in this market. As per a recent report by Allied Market Research titled “World Industrial Gloves Market - Opportunities and Forecasts, 2014 – 2020”, industrial gloves market, in terms of revenue, was evaluated at $4,912.9 million in 2014 and would garner $9,774.5 million by 2020 registering a CAGR of 12.8% along the forecast period.

Prominent market players extensively profiled in this report are Honeywell International Inc., Superior Glove, SHOWA, Inc., Ansell Healthcare, Towa Corporation, Shamrock Manufacturing Company Inc., Top Glove Corporation Berhad, Hartalega Holdings Berhad, Rubberex and Semperit AG Holding.

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