Water repellency is an important function of technical fabrics. These fabrics are intended to protect the user/wearer in environmental conditions, such as rain for example, in water repellent garments and accessories – such as outdoor jackets, over trousers, walking boots, backpacks, tents and awnings. It’s crucial from a safety and comfort perspective, that these fabrics and garments perform as they are intended – to repel water, and protect the wearer.
Neil Pryke, who is the Innovation Director and leads the product design team at James Heal, explains that the TruRain is an ‘improvement and evolution’ of the current Bundesmann testers available in the market today. “The TruRain water repellency tester replicates the conditions of use, and therefore provides an accurate indication of fabric performance. This method is used in the development of water repellent garments and accessories.”
TruRain is an artificial rain shower testing instrument for determining the water repellency of textiles. It measures three aspects of water repellency in a single test:
The most significant aspect of any new instrument development at James Heal, is to put the ‘user’ at the heart of design. This means focusing on what their current challenges are, what they are trying to achieve from the test, the relevant test methods and standards, and crucially – the usability of the instrument in day-to-day use.
Whilst the Bundesmann instruments have been around for many years, and have been established as ‘the standard’ testers for water repellency testing, unfortunately, they have suffered from a reputation of being “difficult and messy” to use.
As part of the development process for TruRain, we conducted customer research to hear from users of the Bundesmann tester who use these instruments regularly, We specifically wanted to understand what the issues were, so that we could develop something to address those needs and improve usability.
Using customer feedback, we concentrated on developing a James Heal water repellency tester which focused on improvements with usability and accuracy. For instance, TruRain has a ‘shower guard’ which keeps the operator dry, whilst also controlling the release of liquid. This ensures that testing is accurate,” says Neil.
Peter explains, “Like all our instruments, TruRain has been designed with precision in mind to reduce inconsistency and improve the accuracy and repeatability of results.”
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