Testing PPE with the Flash Fire Cylinder & Hand Devices
In early December 2021, Thermetrics held a joint webinar and demo with valued partner Brian Shiels at ArcWear. The event, “Testing PPE with the Flash Fire Cylinder and Hand Devices” showcased both the Flash Fire Cylinder (FFC) and Flash Fire Hand (FFH) systems.
Performance testing of fabrics and garment ensembles made for those working in a hazardous environment is a critical part of development and certification. To meet safety requirements, labs and manufacturers must be testing their products and materials with precision instruments that meet or surpass industry standards.
The Thermetrics-developed cylinder and hand flash fire devices help bridge the gap between flat sample testing and the highly involved, but necessary process of testing garments on a flame manikin. Instruments and methodology for the FF devices have been optimized and validated, and draft ASTM test methods are in the late stages of editing and balloting.
Both the FFC and FFH are currently available for purchase and/or contract testing. Visit the product page for more information about the Thermetrics Flash Fire Cylinder.
[Event has passed] Is your lab responsible for ensuring textiles meet certain testing benchmarks such as drying rate? Does your brand promise customers top-performing apparel? Well, then… we’d like to invite you to a webinar and introduce you to our Drying Rate Tester (DRT201)—approved for AATCC 201 and the NAL.TM.5120 Dry Time Test Method!
ManikinPC (Manikin Physiology Control and Predictive Comfort) software is a closed-loop feedback control system for Newton thermal manikins that accurately mimics the human thermoregulatory system and provides metrics for comfort and sensation. In fact, any level of activity can be input and appropriate metabolic wattages will be imposed onto the manikin.
At the core of ManikinPC is a sophisticated Human Thermal Module that has just become even more powerful. The new release (announced on January 26th by our partner, ThermoAnalytics) contains three advanced updates. The module now includes female physiology, which allows designers to test garments for all audiences and gain further insights into human comfort. Male physiology has also been upgraded to correlate more accurately with modern data. This newest version of ManikinPC also features a novel blood flow model that allows for tracking blood flow between different body segments, benefiting those who want to track heat transfer paths using only localized heating or cooling.
So ManikinPC is now an even more valuable addition to our Newton thermal manikin systems!
Add real-time thermoregulation to new or existing Newton Thermal Manikin systems.
Permits variable activity levels that mimic the human metabolism while sleeping, resting, working, or exercising, and accurately simulates physiological responses over time.
Predicts blood flow rates, perspiration rates, and core body temperature.
Computes indexes for local and whole body thermal sensation and thermal comfort.
Supports transient analysis for changing environments and activity levels.
If you’re ever in the neighborhood…
Fisherman’s Terminal (located on Salmon Bay in the Interbay neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, just east of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and immediately west of the Ballard Bridge) was officially established in 1914 by the Port of Seattle as the home port for the North Pacific Fishing Fleet – which nowadays includes some of the vessels featured on the Discovery Channel show The Deadliest Catch.
The facility provides safe, freshwater mooring for fishing vessels and pleasure craft up to 250 feet (76.2 m) in length. Preference is given to commercial fishing vessels, and at any given time more than 600 boats call it home. Local residents and visitors can often buy fresh salmon, halibut, cod, or crab directly from boats newly arrived from the Gulf of Alaska. The facility is also the center of a busy commercial district with shops, restaurants, banks, and other marine businesses.
Located just up the hill from this nearly century-old maritime center is Thermetrics LLC. At only 35 years old we’re a relative youngster in these parts, but everyone working here loves seafood, so, in a way, you could say we fit right in. And Thermetrics customers who have made the trip our offices know that a truly great seafood restaurant (Chinook’s, at Fisherman’s Terminal) is just a short stroll away.
If you have a thermal comfort project you’d like to discuss, come on by – we’ll do lunch!
There are “dog people”, and there are “cat people”. You know who they are. You might even be one. But did you know that there are also “manikin people”? It’s true that our thermal manikins warm up to and work well with everyone, but some people seem to make a special connection – an immediate, unspoken bond. A manikin whisperer, so to speak.
Thermal manikins are shy by nature. They prefer to work quietly behind the scenes and they’re always quick to give the credit and attention to others. It’s what we like about them. But look who was the center of attention during a Thermetrics photo shoot last week! That’s our new ANDI advanced 35-zone sweating thermal manikin, posing for the camera like a Hollywood celebrity. Kevin the photographer knew exactly how to coax ANDI out of his carbon fiber shell, putting him at ease and bringing out his playful side, even though the two had never met before. In fact, the photo session went so well they’re planning to shoot a video next! Who knew ANDI could be so extroverted? It was an eye-opening day and proof that there are manikin whisperers amongst us. It’s possible you might be one too.
HVAC Development Roadmap: Aligning Your Simulation and Measurement Tools
As the transportation industry moves to higher levels of electrification and incorporates more sophisticated cabin climate control systems, tools to develop and validate performance must follow suit. Energy efficiency and occupant thermal comfort have risen to the level of importance previously reserved for cabin temperature.
A recent post by ThermoAnalytics, our Calumet, MI colleagues, “Solving for both Human Comfort and Energy Efficiency”, highlights the benefits that simulation can provide for user-centered cabin comfort design processes. When your design target is thermal comfort, you need design tools that can predict and directly optimize that comfort.
But what is a well-meaning HVAC engineer to do at the prototype phase, or as they seek to optimize control strategy of an as-built vehicle? Human tests are cumbersome, expensive, and subjective. Instrumenting test vehicles can provide a rich data set, but doesn’t align with occupant thermal comfort as a performance requirement. Enter the unassuming and hard-working thermal manikin system. The right instrument can provide a rich data set to quantify system performance, and it can give you that information in the same terms as the simulation results – occupant thermal comfort.
Thermetrics and ThermoAnalytics have been collaborating for over a decade to marry the sophistication and flexibility of the TAITherm Human Thermal Module with the physical presence and repeatability of our thermal manikin systems. The result, ManikinPC, couples thermal (ANDI/Newton/STAN) or passive (HVAC) manikins to the validated human physiology model of TAITherm, creating the most advanced human thermal simulator tools available.
People are the ultimate consumers of the vehicle cabin experience and will always be key to make the final judgement on system performance. But compatible simulation and measurement tools can keep the focus on the simulated person during early design and then prove out that performance in physical tests. All using the same human comfort metrics. Now that sounds comfortable.
On Wednesday, March 25th, Thermetrics officially closed our office to reduce potential transmission of COVID-19 and comply with Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. During this time of near-term uncertainty, I wanted to share what Thermetrics is certain about and the commitments we hold dear.
We are committed to our staff. Our amazing team allows us to do what we do, and their health and safety has been paramount during this outbreak. At the time of this writing, we are blessed to have zero suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases among our staff or their households, and we have implemented best practices to keep it that way. We will always look out for our people.
We are committed to our customers. Although our building is closed, Thermetrics is still operating. Our sales and customer support teams are readily available to help. Our engineering team is actively working on current design projects. Our production team went home on Wednesday with carloads of assembly work they can do at home so that manufacturing can still move forward during the closure. Our delivery dates will slip during this time, but we will keep in touch with customers and make every effort to catch orders up when we reopen.
We are committed to our suppliers. The economic impact of COVID-19 will be long-lasting. For our suppliers operating as essential businesses or working remotely, we will continue placing orders to meet project demands. For those that are shut down, we will hold orders open and reschedule delivery of goods once they reopen. Our invoice and payment processing will continue uninterrupted.
We are committed to our global partners. We have heard from many of our colleagues and agents around the world and our hearts go out to them. In Asia and Europe, many counties are farther along the outbreak cycle than the USA. Their leadership and actions are shaping the responses of the rest of the world.
We are committed to the future. The outbreak and global spread of COVID-19 has brought communities and the world together to help each other. While we all work to protect our first responders and medical professionals in the near term, we also will rise to future challenges with increased focus on protective apparel development and use. I’m proud that the Thermetrics team collected our unused protective gear and delivered it to a Seattle medical facility in immediate need. I’m also excited to learn how Thermetrics can support the research community in combating this type of widespread outbreak in the future.
Please stay safe, stay healthy, support your healthcare workers, first responders, and at-risk communities.
A tale of two STANs
Centro Richero Fiat, in early 2001, was the first automobile manufacturer (and second user overall, after Delphi in 1998) to purchase Measurement Technology Northwest’s STAN Seat Test manikin system. For 10+ years, our STAN’s hot, sweaty backside was a fixture in the Fiat testing lab ably and accurately measuring the thermal comfort characteristics of automobile seats and seat materials. But when a lab accident in 2011 led to STAN’s untimely and premature demise, Fiat’s researchers contacted MTNW to explore the pros and cons of repair vs purchase of a new STAN. After MTNW engineers determined that damage to Fiat’s old STAN was extensive, to the point that repairing the manikin was not an option, the conversation quickly shifted to reviewing the capabilities of our current STAN manikin system.
What a difference 10 years makes!
MTNW’s current STAN sweating thermal manikin has evolved to include a wide range of impressive capabilities, including articulation of the lumbar seat-back region, an integrated cooling capability for testing heated seats, an integrated seat compression/weighting system, and a body contour design that is fully compatible with existing industry standards and automotive seat positioning methods.
STAN is now the one comprehensive tool that automotive testing labs need for testing passive seats, heated seats, and cooled/ventilated seats! To accomplish this remarkable feat, 11 independently heated thermal zones, including 6 porous metal sweating zones, have been incorporated into STAN’s back and buttocks regions. All zones are fit with heaters to simulate human metabolic heat output rates while high accuracy sensors in each zone measure and monitor real-time temperatures.
The sweating zones fitted into the manikin’s skin surface are supplied with fluid by a micro-metering pump and valving system. Separate flowrates can be selected for each of the sweating zones. Each thermal zone on STAN is also equipped with an integrated cooling function that operates in a way similar to blood flow in a human. This internal circulation system carries away excess heat from zones exposed to elevated temperatures, such as with a heated seat.
In addition to maintaining accurate skin temperatures while in-use, STAN’s innovative cooling system allows the energy transfer rates from a heated seat to be measured. Advanced STAN technology lets researchers characterize the insulative and moisture exchange values of passive, ventilated, and heated seats. Properties such as thermal resistance, evaporation limit, maximum heating power, and transient heatup time can be accurately evaluated. By providing benchmarking capability for functional seat specifications, STAN offers researchers a path toward standardization and more comparative seat testing results.
In addition to the new STAN thermal manikin being built for the Fiat testing laboratory in Italy, STAN systems are also operating in Germany, Japan, and the USA.
Measurement Technology NW manufactures a wide range of precision instruments for measuring and evaluating the thermal comfort of textiles, garments, and environments such as automobile, truck, and aircraft interiors. Our systems support all major ASTM, ISO, and ENV textile testing standards. To learn more, contact us at 206-634-1308, or send an email inquiry to email@example.com.
CDC/NIOSH Newton 34-zone Thermal Manikin System
In 2010 the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory in Pittsburg, USA acquired a 34-zone Thermetrics Newton sweating thermal manikin for assessing protective clothing and equipment (PPE)characteristics and their effects on the individuals wearing them.
Dr. Aitor Coca, Research Physiologist at the CDC/NIOSH lab, explains the reasoning behind their purchase: “The 34-zone configuration allows us to look at very specific zones of the body and how they are affected by PPE. Our Newton manikin also has the sweating skin feature and the ability to simulate walking. Both of these options give our researchers the ability to evaluate PPE characteristics such as thermal insulation and evaporation, which combine to determine the Total Heat Loss value of tested fabrics and ensembles.”
The popular Newton Thermal Manikin Systems from Thermetrics have found their way into test laboratories around the world, primarily due to their versatility and accuracy. Newtons have been the basis for research as varied as ASTM/ISO garment tests, automotive and building climate control evaluation, thermal imaging assessments, and a long list of unique applications limited only by human imagination. In just about any situation that involves the human-environment interface, Newton can be a capable human substitute. Dr. Coca agrees. “The manikin is a great tool that has saved us a significant amount of time from testing clothing on humans, and it can be used in extreme environments and conditions where a human could be in danger. It cannot completely substitute for human testing, but at our lab Newton has become a highly valued device that has helped us better understand the PPE potential burden on wearers.”
Because current federal acquisition regulations require all federal agencies to collect past performance information on government contracts, a process called CPARS was implemented to comply with this legislation. CPARS was designed to fairly evaluate contractor performance and to ensure that source selection officials have a detailed assessment of a contractors past performance.
This is what Dr. Coca reported to CPARS about his 34-zone Newton thermal manikin and Thermetrics: “The product is outstanding, probably the best of its type in the world. We have never had a problem and we have been using the manikin constantly for almost three years. Service from the company has also been outstanding – they have always provided quick and clear answers. Given what I know today about the company’s ability to execute what they promised in their proposal, I would definitely award to them again.”
For over 25 years Thermetrics has manufactured a range of precision instruments for measuring and evaluating the thermal comfort of textiles, garments, and dynamic environments such as automobile, truck, and aircraft interiors. Thermetrics systems support all major ASTM, ISO, and ENV textile testing standards. To learn more, contact Thermetrics at 206-456-9119, or send an email inquiry firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manikin Dream Vacation
As we all know, it’s exhausting to be “on” all the time. Thermetrics manikins agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment! It’s hard being a manikin. There’s the constant demand of paying attention to every detail… the challenge of translating objective sensor data into what humans call “feelings”… the cheerful willingness to be uncomfortable so that others can be more comfortable… and let’s not forget the unrelenting pressure of peak performance, day-after-day, for the people who are counting on you most.
So it’s not surprising that even manikins enjoy a break from time-to-time. Perhaps a bit of poolside rest and relaxation is just the thing after a trade show, even for manikins.