TechTextil North America 2019
Advances in Fabrics for Hazardous Environments
By Kathlyn Swantko
Companies that actively expose their workers to potential workplace hazards, injuries, or illnesses (e.g. contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical threats) must conduct National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) “hazard risk assessments” for workplace environments and tasks. Employers are responsible for safeguarding their employees with personal protective equipment (PPE) that is safely designed and constructed. The PPE should fit comfortably, and encourage worker use. The proper fit of PPE can determine whether the wearer is safely protected, or dangerously exposed to work hazards.
There is a wide range of textile products that are used for personal PPE, including clothing, gloves, foot and eye protection, hearing protection, hard hats, respirators and full body suits. Designers of products going into these markets must understand the needs, proper use, and the care of PPE for these application. The FabricLink Network examines various performance for PPE from companies PPE that exhibited at Techtextil North America 2019.
Norafin's spunlace nonwovens provides a thermal liner and moisture
barrier for firefighters. The product provides 10-12% higher Thermal
Protection Performance rating.
Norafin, Norafin, headquartered in Germany, Norafin (Americas) Inc., has a facility located in Mills River, NC, that provides functional nonwoven fabrics for a variety of technical markets. One of the company’s key markets for its performance materials is for firefighter uniforms and workwear for hazardous surroundings.
Norafin’s durable spunlace nonwovens answer the market’s needs for a lightweight, reusable, strong and breathable fabric, offering improved insulation properties. Spunlace is often used as a thermal liner or moisture barrier in a firefighter’s uniform. This moisture barrier and thermal liner can account for up to 70-75% of the protective gear’s thermal protection performance. The company’s proprietary spunlace technology also offers advantages, such as a structured appearance; better wash shrinkage; an optimal ratio between thermal performance; and it is lightweight and comfortable. In addition, more advanced materials have been developed that can withstand higher abrasion and up to 100 washes, while continuing to deliver the expected protection.
The latest Norafin spunlace nonwovens offer a proprietary surface texture within the fabric. This product provides a 10-12% higher Thermal Protection Performance (TPP) rating, compared to other competitive materials in the market. The uniformity of the surface texture contributes to significantly reducing the overall weight of the garment, thus providing improved comfort.
Seaway Yarns Ltd., based in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, offers a wide range of high tenacity filament yarns, aramid yarns, spun yarns and mono-filament yarns. Seaway twists all filament, mono-filament, spun yarns, as well as combinations in blended yarns in the 200 to 100,000 denier fiber range. The company targets safety and protection applications in end-use applications within the aerospace, fire-fighting, military, rope & cordage, and automotive markets.
Seaway Yarns supplies yarns for critical-use applications, using textured nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and high-end specialty technical yarns like Spectra®, Dyneema®, Kevlar®, Nomex®, and other performance fibers. The company manufactures products in specific FR requirements, where high performance is mandatory, and high-end specialty technical yarns are used for safety applications. Specialty finishes can also be applied to achieve specific needs. Custom/specialty dyed colors are also available for military applications.Seaway Yarns are used extensively in the manufacture of fire hose and protective apparel for fire-fighters. FR coatings are available to help improve flame-retardant fibers. In Military applications, Seaway Yarns are found in army fatigues to tactical vests. The company also produces a wide range of yarns for the automotive, trucking, and transportation industries, which are targeted towards cargo nets, seatbelts, tie-downs, and tarps to improve safety.
Workfil™ fabric is flame resistant and has been tested and approved by CTT Group, a certified laboratory. Workfil™ benefits include durability, dyeability in all colors, comfort, flame protection, and burn risk reduction. The fiber successfully passed the NFPA 2112-2012 Fabric Tests including: Flash Fire Exposure - no garment perforation after 3 seconds (as per ASTMF1930); Zero percent 2nd and 3rd degree burns in areas covered by clothing; and Self-Extinguishing fabric. End-use applications include delivery, construction, welding, electricity, production lines, and mechanical.
From TORAY Fluorofibers America, the TORAY BOGU™ fabric in this
poncho provides protection, and is made resilient through the help of
Toray Fluorofibers (America), Inc. introduced solutions for its TORAY BOGU™ fabric at Techtextil NA. BOGU™ is the Japanese word for armor. This fabric provides solutions to address problems related to high technical applications.
TORAY BOGU™ is used in extreme situations when more time can mean saved lives. The product provides a breathable fabric for fire-fighting applications under normal conditions. But, when the temperature rises, the BOGU™ fabric transforms into a barrier like material to slow the spreading of smoke and fire, giving the wearer more time to escape or to be rescued.The perfected TORAY TFA fabric is made from an improved matrix-spun process that delivers more protection from splashes of hot molten metal and improves friction properties. The fabric is breathable, lightweight, and washable. The PTFE TORAY BOGU™ fiber has a ceramic material reinforcement.