All Forcefield products have been independently assessed and conform to the requirements of the EU Personal Protective Equipment Directive 89/686/EEC.
The PPE Directive establishes common technical requirements for all safety products, and is primarily concerned with enabling free passage of such goods between Member States. A manufacturer who claims or implies in their marketing that their products provide a protective function is required to comply with the legislation. At Forcefield, we have been working within both the letter and the spirit of the legislation since day one!
The legislation has motivated development of European Standards, providing common technical benchmarks for a variety of sports protective equipment. Whilst requirements for sizing, protective coverage and impact performance differ, depending on the nature of the sport or activity, and the extent of the hazard faced, most use similar test procedures to evaluate the impact performance.
In the majority of the standard tests, a mass is dropped on to a protector so that the energy at the point of impact is a specified value. The force transmitted through the back face of the protector is measured and this must not exceed a further specified value. Away from the test lab, in real life, too high a transmitted force will cause severe or disabling soft tissue injuries and fractures. Effective protectors which pass the European Standard tests can reduce the severity or prevent the occurrence of such injuries.
The Forcefield technology development team of technicians and engineers have in excess of ten years’ experience of producing materials and finished products which not only meet with, but comfortably exceed the requirements of the European Standards. We also work in collaboration with the leading test facilities and pre-eminent academics, medical experts and technical advisors; our combined intimate working knowledge of materials technology, product engineering and the requirements of the standards’ testing methodologies enabling us to produce a constant stream of new, innovative and ever more efficient products.
Many impact protection products on the market, which are sold as separates or fitted into the clothing you can buy off the dealers’ racks, are often manufactured from low-grade materials which can withstand only one impact before their protective capability is lost and, in some cases, such products have even been known to fall apart in normal wear. Not of much use in the rough and tumble common in many sports and leisure activities – the very incidents which render use of impact protection necessary!
By comparison, Forcefield protectors are durable, “multi-strike” products, which is why they are specified as original equipment in many premium quality brands and are worn by key professional sportsmen and women.
Our products have been certified by SATRA Quality Assurance Limited, a UK Government-appointed testing and accreditation facility for PPE, for their conformity to the requirements of the relevant standards and are “CE” marked to denote their compliance with the requirements of the PPE Directive.
Impact protection from Forcefield: proven performance; premium protection.
How impact protection works
It is a common misconception to believe impact protectors “absorb” energy. In fact, to absorb the high levels of kinetic energy that are created when, for example, a mountain bike rider or motorcyclist falls from their bike and hits the ground would require padding very much thicker than could actually be worn. How would you like to try riding whilst encapsulated in a cube of foam more than a metre thick? Could a footballer evading an opposing player, or skiers and snowboarders weaving through the slalom, realistically function whilst wearing pads that stand proud of their limbs by several centimetres?
How impact protectors actually work is that they slow the rate of delivery of transmitted forces to a less-damaging or non-damaging rate. If someone punches you hard with their fist it will hurt you more than if they use the same energy to push you away. The punch is a sharp, sudden delivery of force; the push is a slower, more drawn out application.
A direct knee impact with the hard surface of the road or ground is sharp and sudden, but a good impact protector compresses slowly between you and the ground and spreads out the energy over a longer time. Thus the protector reduces injuries. Your kinetic energy still passes to the ground, but slowly enough to not injure you or to dig a hole! The differences in timescales involved are measured in milliseconds, but a millisecond is a long time in the world of impact protection!
The Forcefield technology development team specialises in optimisation of materials performance with engineered product design, to bring you the ideal combination of protection and flexibility with exceptional comfort; all at a realistic price.
Impact protection from Forcefield: developing tomorrow’s protection today.