With the introduction of its Xenon range, Ballyclare signalled a new direction in the design and manufacture of multifunctional fire-and-rescue garments. The range has since found a growing popularity with fire services both at home and abroad, and with a number of exciting new product developments in the pipeline that success looks set to continue well into the future. The starting point for the development of the Xenon range was the feedback the company received from its customers.
“Although we’re well established as a major fire sector supplier, we were very careful not to assume we knew what customers would want,” explains Ballyclare Managing Director, Carlton Greener. “We have very close links with our customers, and we’re very aware that their needs change constantly, so we asked them not just what their current needs were, but also what their future requirements might be. As their duties evolve, the PPE they use must evolve accordingly, and we set ourselves the task of creating garments that could do exactly that. The end result was a comprehensive collection of Xenon multi-layered, multi-purpose firefighter clothing which reflects our innovative approach to supporting our customers.”
To tackle the challenge, Ballyclare went back to basic design principles. While reliable protection was essential, the company also examined other areas such as the ‘free movement’ cut of the Xenon garments. Among the most common requests from customers was a need for garments to provide maximum comfort and freedom of movement, and the company turned to premium sportswear to find a method of achieving this. They examined the ways that sportswear strengthens those areas such as elbows and knees, which are subjected to maximum stress, but without making them bulky or restrictive. Ballyclare then incorporated the same approach into the Xenon design process, creating new assemblies on such areas as jacket shoulders, which now allow the wearer to raise and rotate their arm without reducing protection by lifting the tunic section. The same philosophy was applied to all the garments in the Xenon range.
Practicality was another prime requisite and led Ballyclare to include many new features such as quick-release zips, hook and loop fastenings and textured grab patches that aid the wearer when wearing gloves. “It’s important that any PPE garment meets the user’s needs as closely as possible, and nowhere is this more true than in the fire and rescue sector,” adds Carlton. This customer-focussed approach also prompted Ballyclare to offer many optional features such as a Drag Rescue Device, radio pockets and bespoke branding, plus Xenon garments in both male and female fit.
“There are also many different colourway and fabric options, which allow the customer to customise their Xenon garments to meet their specific needs. Customers can also be reassured that, as with all Ballyclare personal protective equipment, the Xenon garments are approved to the required national and international safety standards covering quality of manufacture and performance. “
Never a company to rest on its laurels, Ballyclare has been hard at work developing new features for the Xenon range. Some of these were featured on a special Xenon concept suit displayed at last year’s A + A exhibition in Dusseldorf. Visitors were able to view various new fabric options, fastenings and design features, which can be combined with all the standard Xenon benefits to create the ultimate in comfortable, reliable and protective firefighting kit.
For more information, go to www.ballyclarelimited.com