For all types of clothing and body worn technologies it is important to consider how they integrate and interact with the complex shapes that form the unique profile of the human body. This interaction determines the fit of these products and it is often difficult to generate a fit that can simultaneously accommodate these complex shapes. Achieving the correct fit is determined by a number of different factors that must be combined appropriately to create the fit associated with a particular product. This is particularly applicable to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure it provides protection while maintaining comfort, mobility and good interaction with the surrounding environment. Integrating suitable anthropometric data into the design and manufacture of this type of clothing plays a critical role in achieving a good fit. By using various processes of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM), the detail contained within these data can be quickly and accurately transferred into physical tools.
The aim of this study was to demonstrate and validate a method of enhancing the fit of PPE handwear. This has been achieved through an action research strategy using descriptive and practical research methods. The research tools primarily used are case studies, used to demonstrate how manually collected 2D anthropometric data can be used to generate computer models that represent these data in a 3D form. The products of the case studies are tools that have been introduced into the design and manufacture processes of commercial handwear manufacturing environments. The tools have successfully been used to produce gloves using two different manufacturing methods and been assessed to analyse their fit. An improvement in fit for the gloves has been quantified through user trials to determine the level of increased performance afforded to the wearer.
The conclusions drawn from the case studies demonstrate that the integration of anthropometric data and CAD/CAM can greatly influence the fit of handwear and improve the iterative processes of its design. However, the data alone does not achieve this as the added integration of tacit knowledge related to glove design is needed to ensure the correct properties are included to the meet the needs of the target population. The methods developed in the case studies have the potential to be applied to other products where fit and interaction with the human body are important design considerations.
A Doctoral Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.