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Most protective clothing is designed for use with existing equipment. Sometimes for economic reasons or because of immediate needs, design of protective apparel and associated equipment must take place simultaneously. An example of such a project is described, and a model for a concurrent design process proposed. The project consisted of development of a totally encapsulating chemical protective suit. Suit design was carried out concurrently with design of air supply systems and microclimatic conditioning equipment. Two factors that made this project possible were a system of centralized communication that maintained contact between the various designers, and the implementation of a zone approach to the design of the suit. Each zone was independently supported on the body using a system of bands, straps, and tethers. This allowed design development using a series of partial prototypes of different zones, each appropriate to the current level of development of the associated equipment and each operating relatively independently of the whole. Design work on the suit could therefore continue at the same time as design work on other equipment.
Protective clothing, apparel design, concurrent engineering, sizing, fit of clothing, mobility, equipment design
Assistant Professor, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Professor, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY