VR® Product Analysis & Information

Aprons and sleeves made with VR® are rigorously tested for many physical and chemical parameters.

Physical Properties

Independent physical performance tests prove that VR® is superior to vinyl. The chart below compares a 6 mil VR® material to a heavier 8 mil vinyl material, demonstrating conclusively that VR® material outperforms vinyl in all categories.

Biological Contaminant Resistance

Personal protective clothing made from VR® film material offers a natural non-stiffening resistance to animal fat and fat-containing fluids. VR® has a unique lustrous finish that is easy to clean for reuse. Fats, oils and other biological contaminants can be easily removed by wiping with a damp cloth, or by washing or rinsing at water temperatures no higher than 180˚F. A liquid washing detergent is most effective as a degreasing and cleaning agent. Regular sanitizing procedures using standard chlorine bleaching agents are recommended for cleaning and decontaminating VR® products. After cleaning, VR® products can be hung to drip dry in ambient temperatures or put into a machine dryer that has an air (cool) cycle–heat cycles should not be used and are not recommended.

Chemical test with sulphuric acid on vinyl and VR®

Chemical Contaminants

In comparative independent lab tests, VR® has been proven to be equal or superior to PVC (vinyl) and other alternative materials in chemical resistance–confirming exceptional chemical resistance of VR® to industrial concentrations of hydrofluoric, hydrochloric, sulfuric, and nitric acids under ambient conditions. The lab tests demonstrated that VR® Protective Wear provides excellent protection against accidental exposure or direct contact with hazardous chemicals. Tests were conducted with VR® and vinyl over a 24-hour period. VR® material tested in 4 to 12 mil thickness did not suffer any catastrophic failure (liquid penetration). Vinyl protective wear tested at the same time suffered catastrophic failure when exposed to sulfuric acid. Under the current ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Standard for governing performance requirements for protective clothing, VR® Protective Wear is classified as Partial Body Chemical Protective Clothing. The ANSI prescribed tests are for much shorter periods of exposure than the tests conducted by the independent laboratory performing the tests of VR® Protective Wear. VR® and vinyl were also tested for relative resistance to vapor transmission. VR® was superior to vinyl in vapor transmission resistance. In exposure to sulfuric acid, VR® revealed no evidence of vapor transmission over a 24-hour observation period while vinyl had a catastrophic failure in less than 17 hours. Contact PolyCo for more information about specific chemical contamination resistance.

Climate Controlled Work Environment

VR® film material is especially adapted to cold temperature controlled work environments. VR® material remains soft and supple even at temperatures well below freezing. VR® does not degrade, cold-crack, or become brittle from low temperature use or from exposure to fat, oils, and fat-containing fluids.

Softness & Weight

In comparative independent lab tests, VR® has been proven to be softer than vinyl (see chart at right). By weight comparison of both VR® and vinyl, the same quantity of both materials show VR® to be 30% lighter than vinyl. A softer feel and lighter weight make VR® a more comfortable product to wear for long periods of time over vinyl.

Wear Life

The wearing life and reusability of a personal protective garment is essential to many applications. End users nationwide have documented that VR® is more durable than vinyl and many other traditional materials. As the Apron Wear Life Comparison Chart (at the right) illustrates, a cost savings of over 65% a day can be achieved by replacing vinyl with VR®. In this study, VR® and vinyl aprons are assumed to be equal in cost with the wear life of vinyl limited to five days and the wear life of VR® lasting up to 15 days. The cost of vinyl and VR® remains level at 28¢ a day through the first five days with the cost of VR® declining significantly to 9.4¢ a day.

Disposal Cost

In analyzing the cost benefits of replacing vinyl with VR®, attention must be given to the cost-avoidance or waste collection savings achieved from the VR® extended wear life. VR®  is lighter weight (up to 50% less than comparable vinyl) provides additional savings in annual waste disposal costs. For example: A plant has 500 employees each wearing one grommeted 8 mil 45” vinyl apron per week for a total usage of 25,000 vinyl aprons. The plant replaces these vinyl aprons with grommeted 6 mil 45” VR® aprons and as a result now uses only 8,333 VR® aprons annually. With the VR® replacement, the plant’s total annual apron disposal cost has been greatly reduced.

Recycling Cost Benefit

VR® is derived from polyolefin plastomer resins that incorporate a new metallocene catalyst technology. Exhibiting very attractive recycling properties, VR® can be blended by most poly film extrusion companies. VR® waste material that is clean and unadulterated (no foreign materials present) commands a premium price from recyclers and film re-processors. The strong bonding and reprocessing qualities of VR® make for excellent recyclability. For example, using the previous illustration, a plant replacing 25,000 vinyl aprons a year with 8,333 VR® aprons can recapture approximately $325.00 (at 15¢/lb.) of the VR® apron cost through a recycling program. Note: These are estimated gross recycling revenues that would contribute to a plant-wide recycling program. Contact PolyCo for more information and guidance in developing a recycling program.

Environmental Safety

PolyCo certifies that VR® personal protective clothing film is approved for direct food contact according to the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations (21CFR175.300) and is formulated in compliance with the appropriate food additive regulations and guidelines of the USDA for use in direct, prolonged contact with food, meat or poultry products. VR® contains no toxic substances or plasticizers and can be safely land-filled or incinerated with no harm to the environment. If incinerated, VR® product waste emits only nontoxic carbon dioxide and water. Field test comparisons conducted by end users have proven conclusively that VR® Protective Wear is more user friendly–employees enjoy the lighter weight and brilliance of VR® colors. End users have also discovered that VR® is easier to clean and actually gets softer while retaining its strength after repeated uses. UDSA’s HACCP rule includes hygiene requirements related to personal protection apparel. “Reusable disposable items with obvious wear will have to be changed more often.” Under OSHA standard 1910.132, personal protective equipment should be used when hazards to processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants are encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment to employees through absorption, inhalation, or physical contact. Under these standards, employers are required to analyze their work practices to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, that will necessitate the use of personal protective equipment. Under 1910.132, OSHA also mandates that defective or damaged PPE shall not be used. Reuse of personal protective clothing that becomes brittle and suffers surface alteration after several washes and rinses could potentially violate this OSHA mandate.

Comfort and Protection

The wearing of VR® personal protective clothing enhances compliance with emerging OSHA ergonomic standards and guidelines. The softness and lighter weigh of VR® contributes to better wearing comfort for the employee during the course of a long work day. Better comfort means that employees will be more attentive to quality and productivity, translating into an economic gain for employers. VR® is odorless and non-toxic. Unlike traditional vinyl, which contains carcinogenic plasticizers that can migrate resulting in material brittleness and surface degradation, VR® is chemically inert and remains stable under conditions of reuse.

Food Processing

VR® Aprons, Sleeves and Gowns have become increasingly popular as cost-effective replacements for traditional vinyl protective apparel in the Food Processing Industry:

  • Red Meat & Poultry
  • Fisheries & Seafood
  • Sausage Makers
  • Dairy Operations
  • Produce “Further Processors”
  • Confectioners
  • Beverage Producers

Historically, vinyl aprons, sleeves, and coat aprons (gowns) used for employee protection have demonstrated limited wear life due to the erosion of the vinyl’s plasticizers (softening agents). This erosion is caused by one or more of the following reasons:

a) Frequent Use where the vinyl garment is continually exposed to animal fats and oils
b) Repeated Cleaning or Washing; and
c) Tearing and Cracking from cold work environments.

Since VR® Protective Wear Aprons, Sleeves, and Gowns do not contain plasticizers, their wear life is 3-10 times that of vinyl. This is important to the Food Processing Industry where frequent use and repeated cleaning of protective wear is usual and customary. Another advantage of VR® in the Food Processing Industry is VR®’s lighter weight and softness. Since laboratory studies of VR®’s physical properties have revealed the superiority of VR® to vinyl in strength and durability, VR®’s popularity as a vinyl replacement has continued to grow (4 mil VR® is equal to 6 mil vinyl and 6 mil VR® is equal to 8 mil vinyl). The lighter weight is more comfortable and is less noticeable to the employee during a long workday.

The Many Advantages of VR®

  • Puncture Resistance
  • Tear Resistance
  • Tensile Strength
  • Elongation
  • Natural Softness
  • Recyclability

All make for a replacement material of choice that addresses environmental and ergonomic concerns, combined with long-lasting cost-effectiveness.