SD has a general policy of blast-testing PPE before it is manufactured for sale. This is not considered necessary when making minor variations to existing equipment (such as changing the length of a blast-apron) but is always done when a new material, process or product is introduced.
From the start, our blast-testing has been with the threat mines whenever possible. The use of a detonation charge increases their content and presents a "worst-case scenario". The mines used have generally been PMD-6 and PMN blast mines (others being too small to give confidence of performance). When necessary, the mines have been refilled with PE in the knowledge that this presents a harsher test than TNT.
In 1997, before starting to sell visors, our first visors were taken to Angola and blast tested by UN Technical Advisors with the National Authority (then INAROEE), by a British explosives specialist working the the German NGO MgM, and by Norwegian People's Aid. The visors performed well and all the testers gave them their vote of confidence, so we started production in earnest. See an extract from the report on that testing.
Subsequent tests of visors has taken place with the visor mounted above body armour, so testing both visor and armour at the same time. This has been done more than 40 times and the visors have always performed at least as well as those manufactured elsewhere.
Since 1997, our visors have been used all around the world and have featured in many accidents. Many deminers owe their sight to SD, and no one has ever complained.
When we introduced a significant change to visor design with the SD Mask Visor, we conducted blast-tests again. As anticipated, the Mask-visor performed very well. Click here to see blast-test reports for the SD Mask-visor.
In 1997, 1998 and 1999 our blast-resistant tool designs were subjected to a series of blast tests in Angola and Mozambique, with assistance from the NGO Norwegian People's Aid. After minor refinements, we had proven designs.
In 1999 we conducted further blast tests of hand-tools with the commercial demining company Koch-Minesafe in Zimbabwe, confirming what we had learned and consolidating our designs.
See a previously unpublished extract of a report submitted to US ARMY CECOM NVESD in 2000 covering blast testing some of our hand-tools in detail. This PDF file includes many photographs. We believe that it should be compulsory reading for anyone doubting the need for blast resistant tools.
SD Body armour aprons
In 1997, our first demining aprons were blast-tested in Mozambique with assistance from Norwegian People's Aid.
In 1999/2000 twenty of our apron and visor sets were taken to Afghanistan for user trials, and then subjected to blast-tests conducted by UN MAPA staff. See a previously unpublished extract of a report submitted to US ARMY CECOM NVESD in 2000 covering those user and blast tests. The equipment was liked by the deminers and performed very well against PMN mines with loose stones on top.
SADEC conducted independent tests in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia during 2001. They successfully tested a range of equipment, including SD body armour and visors. See an extract from the report on that testing.
Having proved the materials in use, blast testing has continued inside Zimbabwe when we want to prove new armour designs.
The ultimate test
is the performance in real accidents
The results of demining accidents recorded in the DDAS show that Security Devices products perform at least as well as all other in real explosive events. Our visors have been involved in well over 250 real accidents and our body-armour in at least 100. They have always performed at least as well as other brands (and demonstrably better than some). Our hand-tools have also been involved
in many recorded accidents and have always performed as designed.