There have been flame-resistant and arc rated reflective trims on the market for many years, but the most common ones were sew-on trims which made garments bulky. While these were used for firefighters, the heat-sealed trims were not flame-resistant other than “taking on the characteristics of the fabric underneath” which is what almost all manufacturers depended on when heat sealing reflective trim onto FR garments, including rainwear. Our research and that of manufacturers indicated that these trims performed well in arc flash and flash fire but would not pass a vertical flame test consistently as the trim was not treated or designed to be FR. This has caused concern in the industry since there was no small scale test which these trims could pass, and most manufacturers do not test garments or garment designs in arc flash.
3M developed an FR trim which was heat-sealed, but it was the solid silver heat-sealed trim.
Now 3M has announced that they have a new trim which completes the FR line for most applications: Segmented home and industrial laundry FR trim which works in arc flash. The new technical sheets are not yet on the website, but we have them linked here. Check with 3M below to see if they have updated them.
The large reflective trim companies 3M, Orafol, Avery-Dennison and Innolite have options for some of the reflective trims as flame resistant. Check for arc testing or arc data before purchasing garments with reflective trims from an arc perspective. Garment level testing is NOT required by ASTM F1506, but FlashCert recommends garment level verification of materials and arc testing on the fabrics and on the trims if they are sewn-on. We have seen sewn-on trims ignite and continue to burn in arc tests which were not arc rated trims.
Aramid backed trims and FR cotton backed trims work fine typically, but ask for arc data. On heat-sealed trims, if it is not FR, be certain to ask for vertical flame or arc test data. Heat-sealed trims which are not FR will not typically pass a vertical flame test, but this is NOT required by the standard. The trim does have to “not increase the extent of injury” in an arc flash exposure, so if the trim is not FR and arc rated, ask for ASTM F2621 test data to verify that the trim performs as advertised.
Things to think about with FR reflective trims:
It’s important to note that we do not endorse manufacturers but this is a list of those we found with claims.