FR vs. AR – Know the Difference


Tired of navigating the endless sea of standards when trying to find the appropriate FR vs. AR equipment for you and your team? Understanding the difference between Bulwark FR vs. AR is key to keeping you and your crew safe on the job, but keeping all that information straight can be mind numbing. Minnesota Workwear is here to help you sort through the selection of high quality Bulwark workwear and ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the standards and what they mean for you and your crew.

What is “Arc-Rated” Apparel?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) introduced us to the term “Arc-Rated” or “AR” in 2012, and immediately the question on every safety manager’s mind was: What’s the difference between AR and FR? According to Bulwark’s Technical Training Manager, the most important thing to understand is that all arc-rated clothing is flame resistant, but not all flame resistant clothing is arc-rated. For a piece of clothing to be classified as flame resistant, the material used to construct the garment must withstand ignition, or rapidly self-extinguish in order to protect the wearer from danger. In the event of a flash fire or arc flash, the FR clothing worn must resist catching fire, melting, and continuing to burn after the initial flash to act as a barrier between the wearer and the danger they face. An arc flash is a type of electric explosion from a voltage breakdown of the resistance of air. Arc flash temperatures can reach or exceed 35,000 °F. An arc flash hazard may exist when energized electrical conductors or circuit parts are exposed.Arc-Rated Protective Clothing. One of the most serious dangers workers in certain industries face is from fire or electrical current. Minnesota Workwear carries a full line of arc flash and flame resistant apparel to keep workers in these industries safe. Workers who are around electricity on a regular basis can also benefit from our line of arc flash clothing.

Understanding the Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV)

Arc-rated apparel is comprised of fabric that has withstood rigorous testing above and beyond fabric simply labeled “FR.” Primarily, AR clothing is exposed to a series of arc flashes to determine how much energy the fabric is able to block before it would likely cause injury to the wearer. The result of the test, measured in calories of energy, is known as the Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV.)
Understanding the terms AR vs. FR is a critical first step in keeping you and your crew safe on the job. Make MinnesotaWorkwear.com your go to resource for Bulwark Flame Resistant apparel and keep your crew safe when it matters most.