Bas in Dakar III: from Iquique to Buenos Aires

Tuesday, January 13th
Iquique – Calama
538 km

Bas really could not enjoy this stage of the race: there were cobblestones, fesh fesh, and cars that sped up to overtake the motorcyclists. Dangerous, and surely unpleasant. Luckily there were fans alongside the route; sometimes they were surprisingly local citizens who support the BAS-team whole-heartedly.

Wednesday, January 14th
Calama – Salta
891 km

Back to Argentina and over the Andes. Around half of all motorcycle racers disappeared, but the BAS team is stronger than what the statistics indicate: only one of the five fell out. A late start meant that the BAS-team ended up between the cars today. This caused one of the team members to have problems with the injector, and more snow is yet to come to the mountains. There were more than 5 hours of delay because of technical problems (actually 3 broken injectors). Only just after midnight, after a ride of more than 11 hours, and in terrible weather, they arrived at camp with no technical help and no truck. So it was a night of sleeping on the floor and gritting their teeth.

Thursday, January 15th
Salta – Termas Rio Hondo
547 km

Finally, an easier trip. No technical problems, but an hour of rain, and the more they descended, the warmer it got. Above all, Bas felt he was given lots of heart-warming support and encouragement from the Argentinians who were standing along the side. This day ended with an early arrival; there was still daylight this time. Bas was already at camp by 8pm.

Friday, January 16th
Termas Rio Hondo – Rosario
1024 km

The first part of this stage was technically challenging: narrower paths, rivers crossings, … but it was also a pretty quiet road. Nothing to see along the way, except a pig and a turtle. And for once, very few cars tried to pass us. After all the hardships from the last weeks, the organizer gave the remaining participants a surprise: for the last boring 500 kilometers (a terribly long, straight stretch), the motorcycles could stay in the truck and the racers could be brought to the finish that way. Everyone is looking forward to the end of the race now.

Saturday, January 17th
Rosario – Buenos Aires
388 km

Everyone left in a delightful mood for this last stretch. The route was muddy because of the rain (and because hundreds of vehicles rode over it during the first stage, but then in the other direction). Traditionally, the starting order is reversed in this last stage: the lower ones from the ranking first, the fastest last. In this 13th stage, things still went wrong for Bas. Bas’s rear wheel suddenly broke in a water puddle. He fell hard, luckily without any other consequence. Progress was slow because of the bad weather, and also with a difficult-to-handle steering wheel. The organizer had to change a route again, and the tour (in which all rally racers want to speed up, of course) was more dangerous because of the harsh weather. Finally, Bas got his medal on stage. “In the past days, I have often thought that I would never do this again. But don’t be surprised if you find me standing here again next year.”

Bas in Dakar II: from Copiapo to Uyuni

Thursday, January 8th
Copiapo – Antofagasta
697 km

“Fesh fesh” was the greatest challenge on this route. It’s super fine dust and sand that can be blinding as fog, slippery as ice, dreadful as quicksand. On paper, it seemed like a quick route through a long, hardened path, but the fesh fesh made sure that all racers—who were riding an average of 100 km/h—had to be extra careful, sometimes with a bit of hope and luck. This was absolutely not an easy route, but Bas rode through a beautiful valley today … and he didn’t realize the panic among those caravan followers behind him. According to the radar, two of his team members dropped out of the race, but it appeared to be technical reasons because the entire team crossed the finish once again.

Friday, January 9th
Antofagasta – Iquique
688 km

Rally cars and motorcycles raced on different routes today. But it was slightly more tough and adventurous for the bikers: to pass the dunes, the bikers had to try again and again to get over them. Above all, Bas lost an hour because of a missed waypoint and a loose chain. A bit of fiddling with it, and the problem was solved.

Saturday, January 10th
Iquique
rest day

Teambuilding in a luxurious hotel was part of the day’s program. But Bas got a heat stroke yesterday, so he was dead sick in bed. Luckily, he got better with the right medication.

Sunday, January 11th
Iquique – Uyuni
688 km

It was hell of a wet and icy cold day. What a difference with the first days of the rally when everyone had to survive the extremely high temperatures. Along the way, Bas tried to help his team mate Jan who was stranded in a deep puddle, and water got in the motor of his bike. Even though Bas had a spark plug wrench with him, he couldn’t get it to start. While Jan waited for more technical help, Bas continued with his journey in a setting full of happy, cheerful, and colorful Bolivians. He reached the finish in time. But Jan unfortunately didn’t …

Monday, January 12th
Iquique – Uyuni
805 km

The first part of today’s challenge was cancelled because of bad weather conditions. Then the Bas riders passed a huge salt lake. Although it was at a great height (above 3600 meters), misty, very slippery, ice cold, … they were riding at 150 km/h. Spectacular ride indeed, but heavy for the bikers and their motorcycles. Many had to fix some parts along the way. Only a few participants had to be picked up by helicopter because they became hypothermic. Bas and the remaining team members made the finish, but they were completely exhausted.

 

Want to see more beautiful pictures? Go to www.facebook.com/ATGgloves

Bas in Dakar I: from Buenos Aires to Copiapo

Sunday, January 4th
Buenos Aires – Villa Carlos Paz
838 km

Bas’s alarm clock went off at 4am. By 8am, the engines of the motorcycles are started. Bas wears number 64 in the race. He slowed down so he could ride together with the BAS-team. After all, as an experienced Dakar-racer, it is his job to stay close to them during the rally. The route consisted of long, straight paths with a lot of hard, dried-up tracks. Quite dangerous because of all the dust. And when a motorcyclist surged past him against the plain, he was able to test the alarm button on his dashboard (from which a rescue team arrived quickly to the site). Since Bas wore a camera on his helmet (for Eurosport, among other broadcasters), you can see the images from this. Bas did not find this to be a nice route, but it was a good one for warming up in the start. Riding through 663 km of asphalt can get under your skin, so spending the first night in the BAS-truck surely felt good.

Monday, January 5th
Villa Carlos Paz – San Juan
625 km

An early phone call woke up Bas. The story about the meeting between Bas and the “missing” countryman had reached the Dutch press. Reporters wanted further explanation about it, of course. But the most exciting part of the day is yet to come. Out of the five BAS Dakar-racers, only Jan van Gerven rode the second Dakar 2015 test all the way, but he was completely knackered. Caspar and Sjors van Heertum, Caspar Schellekens, and Bas were pulled out from the desert by the organizers, leaving dozens of other riders only 80 km left before the finish. The extreme heat was too dangerous because it was just too exhausting. The participants were escorted by the police to the San Juan camp site.

Tuesday, January 6th
San Juan – Chilecito
657 km

Today was a short but surely exhausting ride. There were many large stones, creating lots of obstacles. That screws you up in the long run, and just like last year, Bas got neck pain from the acrobatic maneuvers. The weather was just like yesterday: very hot. The electronics on Bas’s steering system gave up and at one point, he missed a “waypoint”. He assessed that it was too dangerous to ride back, so he chose to take the time penalty that he would be sanctioned with.

Wednesday, January 7th
Chilecito – Copiapo
909 km

The participants crossed the Andes, very high into the mountains. From the extreme heat to the cold, and the chance of getting altitude sickness. Bas found this to be a breathtaking ride, literally and figuratively. The test began on hard paths, and everyone rode over the high sand dunes in the last 100 km around Copiapo. The participants took off in the dark, and Bas was not so keen about it. In the first kilometers, two motorcyclists already slid. Afterwards Bas’s GPS went berserk: it indicated that Bas was in France. Bas could not understand the manual, and he couldn’t reach the organizers by phone because of bad reception. Luckily, the crew was able to put him in contact with the organizers. When the GPS problem was solved, he picked up again, but ended up between the cars and trucks in the dunes. He kept his cool and made the finish just before dark.

ATG sponsors Bas Nijen Twilhaar in the Dakar 2015

ATG participates in the famed Dakar rally race as sponsor of Dutch motorcyclist Bas Nijen Twilhaar—the motivated, talented, and persevering 36-year-old of the five-man BAS team.

* What does Bas do when he’s not racing in the Dakar rally?
Bas lives in the Czech Republic since 18 years ago, and together with his girlfriend, they run the Country Hill Enduro Guesthouse. It’s a true motorcross hangout with a unique concept: comfortable accommodation, delicious food, cozy drinks by the campfire, relaxation in the sauna…and only a few motorbike rides away from the Czech mountains. The guesthouse can accommodate up to 18 guests.

* As a sportsman, was motorcyling his first love?
Not his first, but definitely his greatest. Bas is a fanatic sportsman, and he started his athletic career as a skier. He took part in many ski competitions throughout Europe. But his passion for motorcycling defeated his love for skiing.

* How did his motocycling career start?
He got his first motorcycle, a small-wheeled Suzuki 80cc, from the boys who lived next door to him. They loved to start it up and noticed how Bas was completely fascinated by it. Bas went over to their place often, but only to show them how to use certain parts properly.

* Is Bas good with his hands?
Bas studied metalworking and automotive engineering. He was even enrolled in maritime studies. He enjoys working with his hands and has built his own house in the Czech Republic in three years’ time. MaxiFlex gloves are therefore perfect for him.

* What is his biggest dream?
Bas has always wanted to travel around the world since he was a kid. He is still chasing after this dream and has realized parts of it: he went backpacking in Australia, he lives in the Czech Republic, he races in the Dakar Rally, … His biggest dream is still a trip around the world on his motorcycle.

* What is the best invention ever, according to him?
According to Bas, the best invention ever is the motorcycle. He can use it with everything he loves: sport, adventure, travelling, mechanics, visiting friends, …

* Is Bas afraid of anything?
If there is one thing Bas is afraid of, it is the extreme heat during the Dakar Rally. This can go up to 50 degrees Celsius in the South American desert while he’s wearing motorcycle gear and clothing, and not a t-shirt and shorts. The heat also causes many rally racers to give up.

* Who inspires Bas?
Marc Coma is his Dakar hero: a fast and smart and, most importantly, sympathetic rider.

* What is his goal in the Dakar Rally 2015?
His goal in the Dakar Rally 2015 is not to win the race, but rather to finish it together with his teammates and to enjoy the beautiful nature surroundings and the friendly people. He is also one of the very few racers with a GoPro camera on his helmet. With this, everyone can capture Bas’s experience as a Dakar racer from his point of view.

Bas Nijen Twilhaar with MaxiFlex in Dakar

Follow Bas’s stories about Dakar 2015 here and on ATG’s Facebook page.

For more info about Bas, visit www.dakarbas.nl and on https://www.facebook.com/bastiaan.nijentwilhaar.

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ATG Awarded in Recognition of Environmental Friendly Production

Tariq Thassim, Group Project Manager, receiving the Silver  Award from Hon. Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa at  the National Green Awards 2012.

 

 

 

ATG Group, a Personal Protection Equipment Manufacturer producing a wide range of industrial hand protection gloves in Sri Lanka received the Silver Award for being an Environmental Friendly Manufacturer at the National Green Awards 2012.

The National Green Awards, inspired by the Mahinda Chinthanaya under the patronage of His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa is a program initiated by the Central Environmental Authority in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment Sri Lanka. This is with a view to giving recognition to industrialist who has shown high importance & commitment towards the environment.

ATG producing a wide range of specialized gloves from Cut protection, Chemical Protection, Oil Repellent & General Purpose work gloves which gives unparallel comfort, Excellent grip, Ergonomics & Reducing strain, Exports to the Americas, Europe, Oceania and Middle-East & Africa Regions.

Mr Fazal Abdeen, Director Operations, said; “The Environmental policy factor at ATG is built-in as part of their production related operational activities on a daily basis, further being awarded the ISO 14001:2001 International standard based Environmental Management System, This synergy of combining Environment & Production has proven to be a great achievement towards going green & optimizing resources in an environmental friendly process & moving towards cleaner production initiatives”

Mr Damitha Abeykoon, Group Manager Process Control, Mr Tariq Thassim, Group Manager – Projects &  Mr Razneen Razzak said; “The commitment towards Environmental at ATG is driven from the Board of Directors where the concept of Green is being drilled into the workforce at every level of the corporate structure on a daily basis & this award shows the collaborative team  effort from the Group

Managers, Factory Managers, The Staff & The workforce at ATG, where their supportive actions & thoughts towards Green has enabled us to reach new heights especially in the Rubber & Rubber Based Product Sector.”

ATG Group Investments into the green concept is currently at US$ 3 Million while further research is underway in saving water & other resources for the environment. The green concept pipe line goes further at ATG with the Reverse Osmosis plant scheduled to be in operation in early 2013.

ATG Awarded the Silver Medal, in contrast, placed at the highest in Rubber & Rubber Based Products Sector at the National Green Awards 2012 for its environmental concerned manufacturing process, is committed as a Social Responsible Corporate Citizen, inculcating into each & every employee the importance of the “Green concept” with the prime intention of protecting mother-nature.

 

 

ATG® professional work gloves awarded dermatological accreditation

ATG® has become the first glove company to achieve the Skin Health Alliance (SHA) dermatological accreditation.

Glove cleanliness is something ATG® takes very seriously. Committed to the environment, employee and consumer safety ATG® has invested a significant amount of time, money and resource to ensure all aspects of their supply chain operates to the best practices, latest standards and/or newest regulations. Examples, which formed part of the SHA submission, include the compliance to the new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use within all their factories (REACH — EC 1907/2006) and the Oeko-Tex (confidence in textiles) accreditation.

Speaking of the newly awarded SHA accreditation Director of Global Marketing, David Staniforth explained: “ATG® is thrilled to have been awarded the Skin Health Alliance dermatological accreditation. Our product quality, comfort and industry leading performance has become well known and commonly accepted world-wide. The Skin Health Alliance seal will give, for the first time in safety industry, professional glove users the confidence that they our full range of gloves is “dermatologically safe” and the science and research behind them is robust.

For further information about the ATG® range of skin safe gloves please visit www.atg-glovesolutions.com or contact Laetitia De Nys by email at laetitia@atg-glovesolutions.com or visit the Skin Health Alliance website at www.skinhealthalliance.org/approved-products/.

How clean are your industrial work gloves?

How clean are your industrial work gloves?

It’s probably something that you never thought of before right? They come out of the packet so they have to be clean. No one has ever used them. So if I take a new glove every time they must be ok, shouldn’t they? Don’t take this for granted as allot of the gloves today contain residue chemicals left in the glove from the production process. This is not meant to be a rocky horror article rather to assist you in making a more informed choice and we’ll start with leather.

Leather

The cleanliness issue — The problem is quite wide spread so say studies such as the ones carried out by the Institute of Occupational Medicine (BGFA) at the Ruhr University in Bochum (Germany) and the Danish Technological Institute for the Environment.

The BGFA found that 45% of the leather gloves tested Cr(VI) impurities were detected with Cr (III) tanning agents despite the fact that most modern tanning agents are free from large amounts of Cr(VI). Likewise the Danish Technological Institute for the Environment found 35% of the leather gloves tested contained Cr(VI) in levels above the acceptable parts per million guides for harmful ingredients.

So why do studies like these draw attention to the potential harm? To address this question we will step back into the process of preparing the animal hide.

How are they made?

In order to transform an animal hide into something that can be sewn into a work glove it has to pass through something called a tanning process. It’s at this stage that the collagen fibers within the hide are attacked by chemicals such as, for example, chromium / tannins. These chemicals are used to detach the fat from skin before being dried and finished according to its intended use. Other chemicals can also be used depending on the skin that is being treated. But there are vegetable tanning processes so this shouldn’t be a risk should it?

It is estimated that chrome tanning accounts for some 90% of tanning production in the United States and approximately 80% worldwide. Why? It’s simple. Leather produced using this method (chrome) produces leather that is softer, more pliable, possesses a higher thermal stability and has a greater stability in water. It also takes significantly less time versus the vegetable method so contribution to revenue and profit for the tanner themselves.

Chromium and the human body

 

As a result of the way the chromium binds the collagen fibres there is inevitably some residual chromium contained in the leather fibres of the hind and consequently gloves. This will vary from manufacture to manufacture however it is estimated that around as much as 4 to 5 percent is left in the glove.

The most likely adverse effect appears to be contact dermatitis which occurs human hand sweats causing chromium content to be leached from the leather itself which in sufficient amounts causes a contact allergy. Since professional work gloves are worn for long periods of time on a daily basis the chance of exposure to Cr(VI), if it is present in the glove, is high.

Contact Dermatitis

Chromium is, in fact, one of the most common contact sensitizers in males in industrialised countries. Dermal exposure to chromium has been demonstrated to produce allergic and irritant contact dermatitis. Irritant dermatitis is caused by the direct cytotoxic properties of chromium and allergic contact is an inflammatory response controlled by the immune system.

Allergic dermatitis associated with chromium is characterised by swelling, papules, dryness, scaling and fissuring. In terms of mechanism, chromium is first absorbed into the skin, producing a response from the immune system (sensitization). Affected individuals will exhibit an allergic dermatitis response when chromium exposure exceeds a threshold level.

If I stop using leather gloves and start using synthetic gloves will everything be OK?

The simple and direct answer to that is NO. You always need to check any glove you are using even if it is from one of the large manufacturers. Extra attention should be given if you are choosing / using leather and / or polyurethane gloves. This is not to say that leather and PU gloves aren’t safe however given there are many cheap imports on the market you have to investigate further to understand how clean they are before using them.

Polyurethane

What’s the problem with Polyurethane gloves — There are multiple issues in the manufacturing and use of the solvent-based polyurethane gloves relating to:

  1. The levels of water used in the manufacturing process to try and clean as much DMF AND THF off the glove.
  2. The inhalation and skin contact with DMF AND THF for the people working in the factories manufacturing these solvent-based polyurethane gloves.
  3. The health effects for users of this type of glove. These health effects relate not only to the direct skin contact where the glove covers the hand but also to other parts of the body should DMF AND THF become absorbed into the bloodstream.

What does DMF AND THF do to the human body?

The scientific evidence is inconclusive regarding the effect and the magnitude of DMF AND THF on humans, as these gloves have only been used industrially for just over a decade. However, laboratory animal research can shed some cautionary light on guidelines for human usage.  In the laboratory animal, chronic exposure has shown reproductive and fetal effects. When used on a regular and acute basis, the absorption of DMF AND THF through human skin may cause dermatological issues, liver problems, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

The risk of wearing contaminated gloves with very high levels of DMF AND THF over a standard working shift can be significant. If you use these types of gloves, it is essential to take note that the necessary testing and safeguards are put into place to ensure the safe levels of parts million. The safe limits are 10 parts per million for people using the glove for eight hours and 20 parts per million for uses of up to 15 minutes.

DMF AND THF and THF has the potential to be the next asbestos. Used extensively by manufacturers and builders, asbestos was deemed to be safe. However, asbestos destroyed the health of many people and many lost their lives due to the cancer-causing elements inherent in asbestos.

So what should i look for when choosing a glove?

Most of the larger gloves manufacturers have an environmental policy registered to the global ISO 14000 standard which represents the core set of standards used by the organisation for designing and implementing an effective environmental management system. It is primarily at a macro-level and a good indicator of green credentials. But how does this translate into the glove you use?

The new EU REACH directive, explained later, can be seen as the next level of safety. However, the most important label to look for is the Oeko-Tex® 100 standard that certifies the product to be “skin friendly.”

Oeko-Tex® 100 Standard

 

The was introduced at the beginning of the 1990s as a response to the needs of the general public for textiles which posed no risk to health. “Poison in textiles” and other negative headlines were widespread at this time and indiscriminately branded all chemicals across the board used in textile manufacturing as negative and dangerous to health.

Up until the introduction of the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 there was no reliable product label for consumers to assess the human ecological quality of textiles nor a uniform safety standard for companies within the textile and clothing industry which enabled a practical assessment of potential harmful substances in textile products. The Austrian Textile Research Institute (ÖTI) and the German Research Institute Hohenstein therefore jointly developed the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 on the basis of their existing test standards.

The testing and certification system of the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 satisfies the many and varied requirements consumers make of modern textile products and at the same time takes into account the complex production conditions in the textile industry. The key objectives of Oeko-Tex are:

  • Manufacturing textile products of all types that are harmless to humans.
  • Simplifying and accelerating terms of delivery for manufacturers and retailers who wish to offer their customers textile products which pose no risk whatsoever to health.
  • A reliable product label for consumers who specifically aim to buy textiles which are harmless to their health.

Confidence in textiles has been the motto of the independent test institutes of the International Oeko-Tex® Association since 1992. The philosophy and standard has found its way into the glove business with companies such as Marigold-Comasec and Uvex certifying some gloves within their product range. ATG goes further by certifying all products in the product range to the Oeko-Tex 100 standard making it the only manufacturer within the glove business to have full “skin friendly” range.

“Skin friendly” products carry the Oeko-Tex® confidence in textiles which is a sure way to ensure that you are not exposed to harmful substances such as DMF AND THF.

Oeko-Tex affords the end-user the security that the glove is safe but what guarantees are there for the protection of human health when the glove is being made? Does the new REACH directive have the answers?

The new EU REACH directive

REACH is a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of CHemical substances. This new law entered into force on 1 June 2007.

The aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. At the same time, innovative capability and competitiveness of the chemical industry should also be enhanced. The benefits of the REACH system will come gradually, as more and more substances are phased into REACH.

This regulation gives greater responsibility to the industry to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on the substances. Manufacturers and importers will be required to gather information on the properties of their chemical substances, which will allow their safe handling, and to register the information in a central database run by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki.

The Agency will act as the central point in the REACH system: it will manage the databases necessary to operate the system, coordinate the in-depth evaluation of suspicious chemicals and run a public database in which consumers and professionals can find hazard information. This regulation also calls for the progressive substitution of the most dangerous chemicals when suitable alternatives have been identified.

One of the main reasons for developing and adopting the REACH Regulation was that a large number of substances have been manufactured and placed on the market for many years, sometimes in very high amounts, and yet there is insufficient information on the hazards they pose to human health and the environment. There is a need to fill these information gaps to ensure that industry is able to assess hazards and risks of the substances, and to identify and implement the risk management measures to protect humans and the environment. Within the gloves business, ATG has been an early adopter and is now fully compliant with the new REACH directive.

Is there more the authorities can do?

Broad steps have already been made. On the 13th August 2010, the 18th amendment of the Consumer Goods Ordinance in Germany came into force, which requires the elimination of Cr(VI) from all consumer goods made of leather, and which are intended for more than temporary contact with the skin, such as gloves. Given that Germany has a major part to play in the European norms this has to be seen as a good step.

The directive for personal protective equipment, directive 89686/EEC, which belongs to a family of directives under article 114 intended to harmonize products ensuring a high level of protection for citizens and free circulation throughout Europe is under revision.

The revision of this important directive is foreseen to be launched in 2013, is an opportunity to move further in the right direction by adding the Oeko-Tex 100 standard. It must however become part of the legislation in order to make it mandatory for manufacturers to develop products with this in mind. However, changes in legislation can take several years, so what should one do right now when evaluating and choosing a glove?

How can ATG help?

You can choose from the focused range of ATG gloves with confidence as all our gloves are manufactured in accordance with the new REACH European Community Regulation on chemicals (EC 1907/2006) and are yearly tested and in accordance with the Oeko-Tex 100 standard. In addition to the ISO 9001 certification ATG also has ISO 14001 accreditation.

Why is glove selection so complex?

It’s a job that safety officers need to be applauded as they not only have to be specialists in gloves they also have to be specialists in all other types of personal protective equipment. Is it possible for one person to have all the knowledge?

Before safety specialists get to the stage of understanding what gloves are available in the market they must have a thorough understanding of the user need. It’s not as obvious as it may seem.

Gloves are unique in the way that they are the only piece of PPE between the user and the job they do. We use our hands for nearly everything in life and having something that assists you in your job is paramount. It’s a work tool. As such everyone has an opinion about gloves be they qualified or not.

Understanding the needs ensures treatment of the cause rather than the effect. It’s all too easy to jump the gun in an attempt to solve the problem quickly. Actions such as this can, and usually do, create other issues.

 

 

How can ATG help?

ATG, formerly John Ward Ceylon, have taken the “less is more” approach introducing what they call their proRange. They offer three product ranges; MaxiFlex, MaxiDry, MaxiCut and MaxiChem which cover 90% of the jobs done in general industry.

More information can be found at www.atg-glovesolutions.com