A + A is the most popular international forum, where once every two years developers and manufacturers of special clothing, footwear, personal protective equipment and human protection technologies against production harmful factors introduce the best samples of their products, discuss essential problems in the field of labor safety, share experience, reach mutually beneficial agreements. In 2013, the fair featuring 1,600 displays was attended by over 63,000 people from 55 countries.
In the past decade, Russian companies have been increasingly becoming A+A active participants introducing their know-how that attracts a keen interest of their foreign colleagues. In 2013, Vostok-Service Group presented workwear, footwear and human protective means in severe working environment in the fourth hall of the Messe Expo Center with total area of over 100 sq. m.
Among the Vostok-Service models shown to the world community there was their latest development for welders – ZEVS-3 fearnought suit with with siliconized coating inserts withstanding the impact of drops and splashes of molten metal for 750 seconds (instead of standard 50 sec). As noted by I. Makarova, head of Vostok-Service GC Workwear department, nothing similar was presented by any of the European exhibitors. Other workwear samples shown at A + A were the absolute bestsellers in Russia: ultralight and ultrawarm MONBLAN-ULTRA suit for category IV and special climate zones repeatedly tested in the Far North (at temperatures of -45ºC and below), warm-up suit for women LADY SPETS-1 designed in the style of winter sports clothes; collection of deluxe SPETS summer suits, “interminable” STONE suit made of fabric with original prints for protection against general industrial pollution, as well as modern clothing and PPE for employees of mining and oil and gas industries. Ms. Brigitte Horn, A+A exhibition CEO, attending the opening of the booth noted that Russian products are interesting, and expressed the hope that it will find its consumers, and the work of the Russian delegation at the forum will be comfortable and productive .
Of great interest for the visitors of Vostok-Service exposition from Eastern Europe, CIS and large industrial holdings was the footwear of the company’s own brands - TRAIL PLUS (modern shoes and boots with a three-layer soles of increased flexibility), women footwear TRAIL LADY, footwear collection with a heat-resistant sole including FORWELD nitrile outer layer, modern footwear collection SPETS with three-layer sole and shock absorbing insert in the heel, which increases anti-slip properties.
Other Vostok-Service brands were also shown at the booth - a unique collection of innovative respirators of improved design SPIROTECH VS series with valve providing free and easy inhalation and exhalation of air (the novelty was developed jointly with the JSP British company and already approved itself in Russia); multipurpose gloves and leggings series Eastern TIGERS, I-SPECTOR goggles produced by Cerva European Company, a member of Vostok-Service Group.
A+A is the place where many companies introduce their latest developments for the first time. By visiting partners’ booths and conducting negotiations Vostok-Service experts got acquainted with the novelties from 3M, Uvex, Ansell, Honeywell, JSP, Cerva, Panda appreciated the level of modern sales promotion technologies, could get first-hand information about the products, which in the near future may appear in the company's range.
As of July 2012, issues of European legislation, harmonization of European and Russian standards regarding production, certification and supply of personal protective equipment became one of the most pressing topics for Russian PPE manufacturers. On November 6, the international roundtable discussion "Changes to European and Russian legislation on labor safety and personal protective equipment" took place in the Messe Dusseldorf business center, which was attended by Joachim Schafer, Messe Dusseldorf CEO, Mr. H. Vanhutte, general secretary of the European Security Federation; Dr. Tierbah, the EU Commission representative; D. Platygin, FSI All-Russian Research Institute of Labor Safety and Economics CEO, T. Kostikyan, IC PPE FSUE All-Russian Research Institute of Metrology named after D. I. Mendeleev, PPEA (Personal Protective Equipment Developers, Manufacturers and Suppliers Association) representatives, Vostok-Service GC employees. During the roundtable discussion, the attendees got acquainted with the latest changes in the basic documents of the European Union (New EU Directive on PPE), PPE certification procedures, discussed the main trends in the field of labor safety remarkable in 2012 and 2013 on the European and Russian PPE markets. By ending the roundtable discussion Yu. G. Sorokin, PPEA President, stressed that this meeting was useful for all its participants since legislation relating to labor safety had been developing very fast lately, and Russian companies carrying out its activities in this market just had to keep pace with the international community.
A+A is a forum that is visited not only to show own products, but also to get acquainted with those from the others. Here the global trends in workwear, footwear and personal protection equipment, its design, production technologies and materials become apparent. Thus, A+A-2013 showed that in clothing there remains steady tendency towards external unification of work and everyday models: manufacturers aim at making workwear to be ergonomic, most convenient, not differing much from everyday clothing by using finishing elements, accessories, special design and materials. At the same time, due to modern finishing, introduction of special yarns/fibers to the fabric structure, large number of signal elements, the clothing acquires the necessary levels of protection against various harmful factors.
Similar trends are observed in the footwear production: trainer style work boots made mostly of nubuck and split leather including laces with printed company logo, with increased flexibility soles produced with the use of Grip technology - technology that provides unique shoe traction with various surfaces, - variety of signal and decorative textile elements were widely demonstrated at the exhibition. Inside the footwear, there are special backing and insoles retracting moisture evaporated by skin, reducing fatigue, providing high comfort. "Of course, - S. Drozenko, head of Vostok-Service GC Footwear branch comments on the products he had a chance to see, - these trends are still only a prospect for Russia. At our enterprises, where working conditions are much worse than in Europe, we need more durable genuine leather footwear, and in this regard Russian producers are second to none. But this is a prospect, which we will approach sooner or later. Therefore it is necessary to implement immediately all the best that has been developed by our European colleagues."
Striving for maximum comfort with high protective properties was distinctly observed in the PPE samples. The manufacturers did their best in the area of personal protection equipment so that it would not cause customers’ negative emotions, work during the day with PPE would be comfortable, and the techniques of use, storage and testing the PPE correct application would as simple as possible. This was confirmed by the models of ergonomic protective "streamline" shields retracting if necessary into the underhelmet space; respirators with special valve cover adjusting fit to the face (JSP know-how), and valves providing ultralight breathing; gloves with patches of all kinds, including those for employees of nuclear plants.
A+A trade fair is over. All the three companies - Vostok-Service, Cerva (Czech Republic) and Vektor (Hungary), Panda (Italy) - representing Vostok-Service Group of Companies, worked with maximum efficiency: scheduled meetings and negotiations were held, new partners were found, necessary information was obtained, many ideas were generated. There is another period of intensive work ahead. A new meeting will be at A+A 2015.