ISHN spoke with Rusty Franklin, vice president of sales and marketing for Sellstrom Manufacturing Company, regarding the company’s SpatterGuard-FM™ welding protection fabrics.

When were SpatterGuard-FM fabrics first introduced?

We first introduced SpatterGuard-FM fabrics in 2006. We had always been in the welding blanket business. SpatterGuard-FM was a program where we obtained, at that time, FM 4950 approvals on those fabrics. There were distinct performance criteria established in FM 4950 that defined performance for welding curtains, blankets and pads. Of the 19 fabrics we have FM 4950 approvals on, based on those performance characteristics, they’re defined to be used as curtains, blankets and pads.

What distinguishes SpatterGuard-FM from the competition?

The products are third-party tested and certified to conform to the ANSI FM 4950 standard. When a consumer buys a product that’s labeled ANSI FM 4950-approved, they have confidence that product will perform as its intended use.

What’s the significance of FM approval?

When we first got involved in this, the standard was an FM Approval Standard. Since that time, that standard has become an ANSI standard, so now it’s ANSI/FM 4950. Since then it has also been incorporated in NFPA 51B, where they make reference to the use in hot work environments of materials that conform to ANSI/FM 4950. Recently, Cal-OSHA issued a rule that in all hot work environments where you were going to use protective curtains, blankets and pads, you would have to use products that meet the ANSI/FM 4950 standard.

Now that ANSI/FM 4950 has been written into NFPA 51B, I think we will see the marketplace embrace this more, since a lot of regulations incorporate and refer to NFPA standards as well as ANSI standards. There have been some major incidents in the market where the use of non-conforming materials resulted in huge casualty loss, which is what prompted the writing of the FM approval standard to begin with.

Are you looking for additional distributors to carry this product line?

All of our distributors have access to the product. We’re trying to get more of our distributors to promote this product because it is unique and it is third-party certified to these performance standards. It provides to their customers and to the market some assurances that these products will perform in those environments. We want them to carry and promote this relatively new product because, in the wisdom of California, they saw the merits of using these third-party certified, standards-conforming products to mitigate workplace risks.

In the marketplace where you have high risk from hazards, SpatterGuard-FM fabrics allow the user to confidently manage these hot work environments to prevent catastrophic incidents from occurring. That’s the value proposition of SpatterGuard-FM and its ANSI/FM 4950 approval.

For more information on Sellstrom Manufacturing Company and its SpatterGuard-FM™ products, call (800) 323-7402 or visit