Introducing our Head of New Product Development

If, like we were, you’re looking for revolution, not evolution in product development, you need to do things totally differently.


To develop the new FlamePro Valiant structural fire suit, we swept away all of the industry assumptions about what a fire suit should be by putting our team of experts covering new product development, technical fabrics, and ergonomics. The result? We believe we’ve created the most advanced structural fire suit on the market.


More than a year in the making, we’ve created a suit which makes no compromises on protection, but due to its clever design and composition feels lighter and more comfortable to wear.


We wanted to introduce you to the clever people behind the range’s innovations, so in this blog you’ll meet Adrian Jaoudat, our Product Manager.


Insider knowledge


adrian-jaoudat-progarm-product-managerThere’s not much Adrian doesn’t know about FlamePro and our sister company, ProGARM. He’s spent 10 years working for ProGARM, and the last three working on FlamePro too since it was bought by the same owners.


Starting in the warehouse on a gap year from his studies to be an architect, Adrian never returned to Poland where he was at university. Instead, he quickly worked his way up through the business.


“Solving problems is what I like to do,”

Adrian says.

“I guess that’s why I wanted to be an architect, but I now use that problem-solving approach on new product development.”


Throughout his time with the business, Adrian has worked in Operations, Purchasing, Procurement, Quality Management, and now Product Development, with a particular focus on innovation. This detailed knowledge of every aspect of what it takes to make a garment and get it to the end user helps shape his approach.


A complex introduction to new product development


After he joined the new product development team seven years ago, the first range Adrian worked on was multi-norm waterproofs. Multi-norm products protect against a range of hazards and have to meet the specifications and standards for each of them. Not the simplest of ranges to make a start on, but this had advantages.


“I had to quickly learn about the certification process,”

Adrian says.

“What it takes to pass each of the standards, the issues to look out for, the technical detail you need to put together, and the testing the garments have to go through.

“Working on a multi-norm product meant I had to learn about multiple standards at once. It was a steep learning curve, but beneficial in the long-run as everything after that seemed simple!”


Making improvements to the FlamePro ranges


Adrian now heads up the team tasked with new product development (NPD) for both FlamePro and ProGARM. He studied the range and the market for 18 months before starting on the project to create the new Valiant suit.


“To me, new product development is a careful balance of understanding what the customer wants and seeing where the market is going. A bit like Henry Ford said, if he’d have given people what they asked for, he’d have come up with a faster horse.”

Adrian explained.

“We need to create products people want and need, but also spot the opportunities to come up with something genuinely new and different to fulfil that need.”


After assembling the expert team who would create the new product, comprising Adrian’s own in-house NPD team including technical fabric expert Stanley Russell, ergonomics specialist Lorraine Costello and our sales manager Reece Buchner for industry insight, Adrian stepped into the role of project manager for the new range.


Once the product was designed, Adrian used his significant experience to secure certification of the new FlamePro Valiant structural suit. It took more than 12 months – the lengthiest certification process Adrian has ever experienced. There were more than 250 tests on component parts and the garment as a whole, to ensure that it meets or exceeds all of the necessary criteria.


So is that job done for Adrian now the new range has been launched?


“Not at all,”

he says.

“We’re only just getting started! Watch this space for a whole spectrum of new product launches.”


A giant leap forward in structural fire suits


The team didn’t let us down. FlamePro’s new generation of FlamePro structural suit represents a huge leap forward.


To read more about Valiant and find the links to the datasheets about it, visit the product page.

To discuss your requirements, give one of our friendly team a call on +44 (0) 1332 341030.

Fabric innovations for the new 770/775 suits

Meet Valiant – New technologies. New designs. New Benchmark.


Three major components of a fire-fighting structural suit influence its performance and how heavy it is to wear – the outer fabric, the thermal moisture barrier, and the quilted inner layer which provides the heat protection.


Fire brigades have always had to balance how much thermal protection they want their suits to provide with comfort and wearability for their fire crews – more protection generally makes a suit heavier to wear, meaning fire fighters get hotter, are more at risk of heat stress, and of tiring more quickly.


That’s not a compromise you have to make any more.


FlamePro’s new structural turn-out suit, Valiant, sweeps away the need to choose between comfort and performance. But how did we create a suit that minimises these compromises?


Industry expertise


We started by listening to firefighters and assembling the right team. A team of experts in garment design, ergonomics, new product development, and technical fabrics to help us conceive the very best structural fire-fighting suit that would set a new benchmark.


Then we started from scratch. The new range is not an evolution of existing products, it’s revolution, born from the team’s expertise and access to the best technologies there are.


Two major innovations allow our new Valiant suit to deliver protection, comfort and practicality – a new moisture barrier, and a revolutionised thermal lining.


Moisture barrier innovation


They say if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got. We knew the traditional Gore-Tex Fire Blocker membrane had been used by fire-fighter PPE companies for more than 15 years. There had to be something better.


Our fabric specialist, multi-award-winning Stanley Russell knew just where to look.


The manufacturer of the non-woven product in Fire Blocker had developed a 3D version of the traditional non-woven structure. The fabric structure creates space for air to move, enhancing the speed with which moisture is transferred away from the skin, keeping firefighters cooler for longer.


We commissioned a version of this which has been combined with a customised version of the Event membrane – renowned as the most breathable ePTFE membrane in the world and used by the US military.


This exclusive combination, currently only available in Valiant, gave us a moisture barrier that:


• is the same weight as Fire Blocker
• offers increased breathability, moisture management and high-temperature wash durability
• delivers better thermal performance against radiant heat than like-for-like suits


A new approach to the fire suit’s thermal lining layer


The component that adds the most weight to a structural fire-fighting suit is the thermal lining, which provides the heat protection. Traditionally, barriers are a combination of woven fabric, quilted to spun lace or needle felt, with both fabrics being 100% aramids or aramid blends. This creates a bulky layer which may have high thermal properties but has moderate breathability, lower comfort levels, and could trap moisture.


We wanted to create a revolutionary new thermal lining layer that reduces bulk, increases breathability but still provides excellent thermal protection.


The team worked with one of the world’s leading manufacturers to create a 3D woven structure that combines aramid and viscose to create a fabric with market-leading breathability, superior moisture transportation to keep moisture away from the skin, and great thermal performance without being bulky.


Market-leading fire-fighting fabric systems and totally new designs


We’re shaking up the market with our new Valiant range. It allows buyers to combine our innovative and market-leading moisture barrier and lining with a choice of five outer fabrics to create a structural fire-fighting suit that meets the needs of their brigade.


All of the range features changes to create enhanced comfort, such as Kevlar ® re-enforced knee and elbow pads, lumbar support to make it more comfortable wearing breathing apparatus, and chunky grab tabs to allow you to adjust your suit and access pockets without exposing your hands.


The Valiant suit is also the first on the market to offer fully-certified glow-in-the-dark strips as standard, with different placements on the front and the back of the jacket. This clever idea means if a firefighter is unconscious and needs rescuing in the dark, you’ll not only be able to see them, but you’ll be able to see what position they are in too. And they have been tested through 50 wash cycles.


Choose from male or female cuts in XS to 4XL and from extra small to XX tall – 96 choices for the perfect fit for all your firefighters.


Get in touch to chat to one of our friendly experts by calling +44 (0) 1332 341030.