18/02/2010 - 00:00

A glove for every occasion

18/02/2010 - 00:00

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IN 2005, recognising a gap in the worldwide market for safety gloves, 1st Amongst Equals finalist Damione Wright established Ironclad gloves through his Carlisle-based business, Wrights HardWear.

A glove for every occasion

IN 2005, recognising a gap in the worldwide market for safety gloves, 1st Amongst Equals finalist Damione Wright established Ironclad gloves through his Carlisle-based business, Wrights HardWear.

It wasn’t easy to convince local industry of the shortcomings of their current workwear, or the superior quality of his product, however.

Early on, Mr Wright struggled to get a hearing with many of the big industry players. But focus, determination, and persistence enabled the former JP Morgan foreign currency dealer to prevail, with his company now developing more than 50 types of gloves for almost every occupation, ranging from welders to riggers, police officers and sportspeople.

Some gloves are developed through nanotechnology or are sonically welded and are formed using more than 20 different materials sourced from all over the world.

To date, end users of Ironclad gloves include BHP Billiton, Woodside, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Santos.

In one example, Santos reduced its consumption of safety gloves from 35,000 “cheap” leather pairs each year, to about 3,500 Ironclad job-specific gloves.

“I love what I do, so I love getting up in the morning to go to work,” Mr Wright told WA Business News.

“To be recognised with a 40under40 nomination for coming into work and doing what I do, which is forever seeking to improve the performance and safety of working hands, is just amazing.

“And I’m going to continue doing that anyway, but to be recognised by your peers and people in your community is very humbling.”

Using science to research and develop each glove, Mr Wright said Ironclad had “revolutionised” the way the working world viewed gloves, using technical fabrics that last longer, breathe better, regulate body temperature, decrease odour, pull sweat off a worker’s skin, and block UV radiation.

“Going back to 2005 there was a little more of presenting a solution to an end user, as opposed to working very closely with them and saying, ‘we’ve identified where your vulnerabilities are in your working environment and this is a product we’ve developed and designed for you’,” Mr Wright said.

“The market back then pretty much did look at us and say ‘you’re never going to sell a glove for that much money, they’re great gloves but these are too good for working in’, or ‘no I don’t wear gloves why do I need that for?’.”

However, over time Mr Wright was able to demonstrate to business that his gloves not only reduced the rate of hand injuries, they increased productivity and efficiency as a result.

In one instance, a business reported a 44 per cent reduction in hand-related injuries over a 12-month period after using Ironclad gloves.

“I see what we are doing now has the potential to be of global benefit,” Mr Wright said.

“There aren’t too many companies in the world focused on developing and manufacturing and seeking out new technology to improve hand safety and productivity.

“I’m really excited about the future … because some of the things we have in development right now are very, very exciting.”

 

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