07 Sep2017

William Lee Ltd is a global iron castings manufacturer supplying products into the Commercial vehicle, Automotive, Railway, Towing/Trailer and General Engineering sectors.

In Q1 of 2017 Rock Fall launched a new range of Foundry boots that were designed to dramatically improve the durability and comfort of boots available in this sector.

After engaging with the Cast Metals Federation and discussing our ideas; they co-ordinated the opportunity to work with William Lee, a division of Castings PLC.

In collaboration with Satra, CMF and the Health and Safety team at William Lee we devised a range of enhanced tests that could be safely conducted and measured.

On the 10th August 2017, the team pictured above spent the day conducting a variety of real world tests on the foundry boots. There were a number of objectives set. Which were:

  • Improve employee engagement in the foundry and highlight the level of care WM Lee has for their staff when selecting health and safety products.
  • Build a case to enhance and review the current standard – EN ISO 20349:2010.
Rock Fall has worked towards making a better foundry boot; coming from a unique perspective using their vast experience in other markets, where comfort has to be as important as keeping people safe. Given the effort that has been made to develop their products, it made sense to trial these in the real world to see what the boots could achieve towards this aim. With access to a number of foundries who are always keen to improve the safety provisions for their employees, the CMF was delighted to be in a position where we could find members to help assist with both user trials and destructive testing to aid Rock Fall with this task. The responses received so far from members involved in the trials has been very positive and hopefully has given Rock Fall the confidence that they have got the products to the personal high standards they set for themselves, which are above the nominal requirements. Richard Heath
We launched our new Foundry Boots with excitement, the support from the industry has been staggering. The tests we have conducted could only be done with the help of WM Lee and the CMF, so we extend our humble thanks to the group of people that have made this possible. Matthew Noon

Advanced Testing Footage and Results

Molten Metal Enhanced Test

A variation on EN ISO 20349:2010 5.3


– Test was simulation of a possible incident
– The boot performed better than expected
– Would be no physical harm to the wearer

3 point 500°C Test

An extreme heat test on various aspects of the footwear. Adaptations and variations on test methods from EN ISO 20345:2011 and EN ISO 20349:2010.


– Enhanced HRO Test
– Further tests simulated possible incidents
– The boot performed better than expected
– Would be no physical harm to the wearer

800°C+ HRO Outsole Test

An extreme version of EN ISO 20345:2011 HRO Test.


– 2.5x higher than EN standard HRO Test
– The sole and upper was warped but intact
– The boot performed better than expected
– The finishing agents worked like a catalyst

1500°C+ Degree Foundry Dunk Test

The harshest possible test we could conduct with the resources available.


– The heat was in excess of 1500°C
– Only a small part of the exterior stitching failed
– The inside had minimal damage
– The insock was undamaged and retained it’s orange colour

Tested to Destruction

We wanted to test the absolute limitations of footwear.


– The heat was in excess of 1500°C
– The toecap is still inplace
– Some of the leather and upper remains
– The outsole is still fully intact

Our solution

The two boots are now worn throughout their site, with several types of non-foundry Rock Fall footwear issued to operatives that do not face thermal risks.

Vulcan and Phoenix have protective toecaps and midsoles, foundry boots developed with specialist durability materials that are certified to withstand molten splashes as high as 1400°C, including FORCE10® components, FR leather and R-TEN™ Flame resistant thread and Ortholite® climate breathable footbed.

Our future

Rock Fall have developed an internal metatarsal foundry boot, Helios. As the range is continually being developed other products are discussed when the time is appropriate. Ongoing wearer feedback is reviewed to ensure the continual performance and value for money is achieved.

For further information

Rock Fall sell via authorised distribution partners and work with end-users that specify our products ensuring they have all the information they need. Please get in touch on: +44 (0) 1773 608616 or email info@rockfall.com