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Improved testing with the HydroView

Comprehensive solution for brands making performance claims on water resistance.

10th December 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Halifax, United Kingdom

Clothing/​Footwear, Sports/​Outdoor

James Heal’s new HydroView hydrostatic head tester is the latest instrument in the company’s performance testing range.

It is designed to measure the penetration of water in materials which have an end use that requires water resistance, such as those in the medical, apparel, geotextiles and nonwovens sectors – from protective gloves, diving dry suits and winter sports apparel, to fishing waders, roofing, tenting, ground sheets and more.

In the hydrostatic head test, the product application defines the target hydrostatic pressure – the lower a hydrostatic pressure measurement the more easily water can penetrate under pressure.

“As more and more brands are investing in new materials and making performance claims on water resistant/waterproofing, the hydrostatic head test is one of the most common ways to test,” says James Heal’s technical specialist, Sara Williams. “An example of where hydrostatic pressure might be important, is in testing the groundsheet of a tent. This needs a high resistance to water penetration, especially when placed on saturated ground. When pressure is applied to the ground sheet by people standing, sitting or sleeping on it, water could then be forced through. Failure in this area would mean anything in contact with the groundsheet will become wet.”

This is also the case with a performance garment claiming waterproof properties, she adds.

“You would need a high hydrostatic head value to demonstrate its defence-ability against driving wind, rain and other physical factors. Waterproof penetration testing is key to understanding the performance of a garment in adverse weather conditions.”


HydroView was developed following extensive user research from which James Heal’s product innovation team discovered that users were looking for an instrument that is more flexible and user friendly than what is currently available on the market. It is an easier to use instrument, with its integrated proprietary TestWise software developed in-house.

The new HydroView hydrostatic head tester. © James Heal

“We felt we could add value to this type of testing by introducing our popular TestWise software to HydroView,” said the company’s innovation director Neil Pryke. “The TestWise software used in this instrument is intuitive, has clear navigation and requires minimal user training. An integrated camera captures an image when the user detects a drop, supporting live and post-test analysis and further enhanced by the zoom and mark features..

 “An integrated pump automates the filling and emptying of the instrument for testing, and enables fine adjustment of water levels. The machine includes a wastewater drawer, removing the need for any additional plumbing which saves time and cost when conducting test.”

Other key features of the HydroView include:

-A 10-inch touchscreen allows the user to choose from pre-loaded standards or create their own. Test reports are easy to view and analyse on screen, and can be customised for export to Excel or PDF.

-Vertical clamping ensures an effective seal without distortion, even on thicker specimens, for accurate and repeatable testing.

-The ability to test across pressures from 0-10,000 mbar makes it suitable for testing even the most high performance waterproof system.

-A large, illuminated test bed accommodates both multi-layered fabrics and sheet substrate.

-A new safety guard arrangement enables users to hold specimen in place without hands being near the pneumatic clamps when engaged for testing.

The large, illuminated test bed accommodates both multi-layered fabrics and sheet substrate. © James Heal

“James Heal’s focus is on making testing simple, fast and intuitive, for greater throughput and accurate, consistent and reliable results,” said Pryke. “We are extremely proud of what we’ve achieved with HydroView and our wider performance testing range. We are equally excited to be able to release it to the market now, after a significant development process over the last two years.”

Established in 1872, James Heal is an international engineering company known worldwide for testing solutions. From its core manufacturing and commercial headquarters in the United Kingdom, the company specialises in the design and production of testing instruments and test materials (consumables), supported by industry-leading service and support.

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