The logistics industry in Germany is the third largest economic sector after the automotive industry and retail. In terms of the number of employees, it is also in third place after healthcare and trade, with over three million people in the workforce. These employees work not only in designated logistics companies, but also in the logistics processes of other sectors, which is why logistics is also considered a cross-sector industry. Half of logistics services are intralogistics, while the other half consists of the transportation of goods by land, air and water.

Most optimizations in logistics and intralogistics are implemented along the process chain and in the corresponding sub-processes. As a rule, these are increases in the degree of automation and the use of technological solutions. Nevertheless, human workers still play an immensely important role within individual processes. Just as with purely technical optimizations, the aim of using personal protective equipment is to ensure the safety of employees and to enable faster handling of goods.

Protective gloves therefore fulfill three functions:

  • They protect the wearer’s hands from cuts, punctures, bruises or chemical burns at work.
  • They enable safe gripping of parts, materials, goods and packaging and generally safe handling.
  • They also protect the goods themselves by providing a high level of tactile sensitivity, a high level of grip and, if necessary, certain properties that prevent electrostatic build-up, for example.

These features are achieved through the right materials and their combination, as well as the corresponding process technologies. Safety or protective gloves usually consist of a carrier material and a protective coating. Both together determine the protective features, usability and level of comfort. This also determines how robust and durable a glove is or what level of cut protection it has.

While the carrier material consists of polyester, carbon fibers, stainless steel fibers or a special fiber composite and provides the actual protection against cuts in cut-resistant gloves, the different coatings determine the actual purpose of the glove.

These usually include:

  • Polyurethane: Coatings made of polyurethane (PU) are particularly sensitive and very elastic. They adapt to the movements of the hand. It is a microporous coating that is permeable to air and thus ensures that the glove is ventilated. PU also does not react to cold or heat and is hard-wearing and durable.
  • Latex: A coating made of latex is characterized by the fact that it offers a very good grip even on damp and wet surfaces. This is because latex is insensitive to water and resistant to oils. Latex is also very flexible and resistant to mechanical impact.
  • Latex foam: Is even more elastic than latex.
  • Nitrile: Coatings made of nitrile are impermeable to liquids and therefore ideal for protecting hands from chemicals, oil, grease and solvents. Nitrile also offers mechanical strength and high abrasion resistance.
  • Nitrile foam: Nitrile foam coatings are particularly suitable for damp working environments and slightly oily surfaces, as they offer a correspondingly secure grip. The open-pored structure dissipates heat and moisture to the outside and gives the glove both freedom of movement and a very good tactile feel.
  • NFT nitrile: NFT stands for New Foam Technology and, in addition to the properties of nitrile or nitrile foam, also has a lower weight and improved heat transfer from the glove, meaning you sweat less.
  • Micronitrile foam: Compared to nitrile foam, the coating is even thinner and therefore offers better wearing comfort and an optimized fit.

This list provides a rough overview. The individual carrier materials and coatings are subject to continuous development, which means that new materials and material mixtures are constantly being created, some of which are patented and are therefore designated brands of various manufacturers.

Some coatings are also further optimized using certain process technologies. For example, the so-called Sandy surface or Sandy finish, in which very fine sand particles are mixed in, is very common. This gives what is actually a smooth coating a rough surface that provides a better grip.

Standards and guidelines are essential for the correct use of protective gloves. The German Institute for Standardization sets the requirements for this and defines the relevant test methods and general specifications for all protective gloves in the EN 420 standard. Design principles, glove manufacture, resistance of the glove material to water penetration, harmlessness, comfort and performance, as well as the labeling and information to be provided by the manufacturer are all included.

Abrasion resistance (0 – 4)
Cut resistance (0 – 5)
Tear resistance (0 – 4)
Puncture resistance (0 – 4)

Abrasion resistance (0 – 4)
Cut resistance (0 – 5)
Tear resistance (0 – 4)
Puncture resistance (0 – 4)
Cut resistance (A – F)

Convection cooling (0 – 4)
Contact cooling (0 – 4)
Water (0 – 1)

EN 407:2004
Against thermal risks (heat/fire)

EN 16350:2014
Electrostatic properties for
protective gloves


There are two different test methods for cut protection, with different designations for the respective cut resistance. There is still the classification of 0-5 and – increasingly common – the classification of A-F. The higher the number or letter, the higher the cut protection.


Personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as protective and safety gloves in particular, play a key role in both manual and highly automated intralogistics processes. Protective gloves fulfill three functions:

  • They protect the wearer’s hands.
  • Enable materials to be gripped safely.
  • They also protect the goods themselves.

Choosing the right materials and coatings is crucial for the performance of protective gloves. Different materials such as polyurethane, latex, nitrile and their variants are used. Standards and guidelines, such as EN 420 for general requirements for protective gloves, are essential for correct use. Cut resistance is particularly important and is assessed differently depending on the standard.

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