Flame-resistant apparel company outlines regional plans

ADIPEC - Bulwark Protective ApparelBulwark Protective Apparel, which will be exhibiting at ADIPEC, is the world’s largest flame-resistant (FR) apparel manufacturer with a value of US$16bn on the New York Stock Exchange

Bulwark has an extremely broad range of premium flame-resistant apparel. Priding itself on its innovation and quality, it provides advanced protection, comfort and durability to workers in the oil and gas and energy industries across the world.

Bulwark is headquartered in Nashville, USA, with distribution throughout the world. Innovative lightweight garments, specifically designed for hot climates, are stocked to meet local requirements in the company's new regional distribution centre in Jebel Ali Free Zone, UAE, aided by dedicated local sales support from the Middle East office.

Bulwark has pioneered many of the technological advancements in the FR market, and continues to do so with one of the industry’s most comprehensive collections of technical personnel. It has played a key role in the ongoing development and continuing improvement of FR garment technology.

The company’s 40-year history in this business provides a proven track record of garments tested in the most extreme working conditions. Oil Review spoke to Nick Graham, General Manager of VF Imagewear for EMEA.

- Do you feel you have gained traction in the Middle East market this year?

In fact we have gained a lot of traction this year. We are proud to be providing protective apparel in the Middle East for the likes of Saudi Aramco, BP, Exxon, Baker Hughes, Petronas, EMAL, ABB, Gazprom, OMV and many more. We are committed to the region for the long term, stocking lightweight breathable products here with local expert support from our team in the Dubai office.

- What have been the main demands from potential oil and gas clients in the region?

Obviously with the hot climate everyone wants the most lightweight, breathable, comfortable protective apparel possible. New innovations in fabric technology have been able to deliver better solutions with many choosing to switch over to our Cooltouch®2 and Comfortouch® collections because they genuinely offer the best combination of comfort, protection and value on the market.

But when it comes to safety you really can't stress enough the importance of good quality - you need to trust the garment to do the job in that critical moment when you need it the most. That's why we make the garments ourselves and have them tested and certified by independent third parties UL and Centexbel.

In addition, clients always want their product delivered yesterday! That's why we invested in stock to service this demand and we have one million FR garments in stock. Bulwark is about peace of mind - that the garment will protect you and you can get it delivered quickly.

- Are you looking at bringing any new products into the region next year?

Absolutely. Innovation is part of the DNA of both Bulwark and parent company VF. It's an ongoing commitment from our global product team, in partnership with our customers who give us great feedback from wear trials in the field. We constantly refine the collection, adding more colours and choice where our customers need it.

- What has been the reception been to your other brands, like Red Kap and Timberland Pro been?

Our sister brand, Red Kap, has been in the Middle East for decades already and is showing strong growth now in the general workwear market. Timberland is now part of the VF family and we could not be any happier.

The Timberland Pro footwear collection is a perfect match for the Bulwark brand in the safety market as it is based on the same principles of quality, innovation, protection and comfort. Often people tell me after wearing a pair for a day that they are the most comfortable shoes they have ever worn. We always encourage people to try for themselves.

- What are your main target markets for flame-resistant clothing?

It's really all about providing peace of mind to folks out there in those tough and often dangerous working environments. It's why we do what we do. Our 451 video at bulwark.com sums this up much better than I can. I can also share that Bulwark is already the largest FR manufacturer in the world and of course we aim to be number one in the Middle East.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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