Hohenstein Institute Develops Technology To Test Uniform, Workwear Comfort

The Hohenstein Institute, a Germany-based textile research and testing laboratory with offices
worldwide, has completed a study on the effect of comfortable uniforms and workwear on the wearer’s
performance, and has developed testing technology to predict a fabric’s or garment’s effect on the

The study involved measuring reaction time, concentration levels and error rates for subjects
wearing various kinds of apparel under conditions requiring long-term, intense concentration. Those
wearing comfortable apparel were shown to perform significantly better on the tests – confirming
that comfortable uniforms and workwear are especially important for people in stressful and
concentration-intense occupations such as aviation, high-tech manufacturing, transportation,
medicine, public safety and the military.

The institute also has created testing technology for predicting how a fabric or garment
affects the wearer. The technology involves mechanical skin sensory models that measure wicking,
body temperature regulation, drying time, moisture and wind resistance, as well as next-to-skin
feel; and also evaluates a fabric’s hypoallergenic attributes and its likelihood of irritating skin
during intense use. The tests may be conducted under various controlled scenarios, depending on the
product’s intended use, and can help designers and manufacturers create apparel that is comfortable
for specific occupations. Hohenstein reports its tests are more cost-effective than large-scale
wear tests needed to produce the same amount of data, and that the test results are objective,
reproducible and more readily available.

“Hohenstein has quantified the common belief that clothing affects performance. Workwear and
uniform companies now have the tools they need to confirm that their products contribute to
outstanding performance and workwear safety,” said Dr. Sam Moore, managing director, Hohenstein
Institute America, Elon, N.C. “Maintaining and enhancing comfort through clothing design is an
important way to improve safety and performance in the work place, on the battlefield, and anywhere
else uniformed people operate.”

November 8, 2011