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Quality Fabric Of The Month

Tailored Solutions

Swift Galey offers its H2tech™ hydrophobic/ hydrophilic finish and additional performance enhancements on a growing range of fabrics, building fabric systems tailored to the requirements of each customer.

Janet Bealer Rodie, Associate Editor

A tlanta-based Swift Galey — formed through the merger of denim fabrics manufacturer Swift Denim with its parent company, Galey & Lord, a weaver of corduroy, twill and poplin fabrics, into a single company — sells its denim, sportswear and uniform fabrics to major consumer apparel and uniform brands. The company builds fabric systems tailored to each customer’s requirements and has developed several exclusive, proprietary technologies, including H 2tech™ hydrophobic/hydrophilic technology and Ultra Dye technology for superior color retention. It also licenses certain technologies developed by other companies to extend the range of possibilities offered in its fabrics.

“From an innovation standpoint, Swift Galey is very strong. Relative to our competitors, we offer a lot more finishes, colors and SKUs,” said Paul Tantillo, managing director, Uniform Division. “And, we have never had fabric returned for performance.”

Swift Galey introduced its original H 2 technology in 2006 to offer water and oil repellency as well as moisture-management benefits on fabrics sold through the company’s Uniform Division. The H 2tech product line also offers add-ons such as H 2ultra dye™ technology for color retention and H 2flex™, which adds Dow XLA™, Lycra® or mechanical stretch for shape retention and ease of movement. The technology stands up to as many as 30 home launderings and in some customer wear-testing has withstood many more.

The company now has developed H 2tech 360 with Activated Comfort System, offering a hydrophobic water- and oil-repellent/soil-release function on the outside, a much improved moisture-wicking function on the inside and superior color retention. “The wicking is significantly better than previous generations, and we are also making breakthroughs on color retention,” Tantillo said. “H 2tech 360 utilizes premium technology to give better washdown and better fastness; if you want even better, you add ultra dye.” H 2flex is also an option with H 2tech 360, and the company is working on an antimicrobial treatment for some markets.

“We have developed H 2tech in-house for each particular product we run,” Tantillo added, noting that keeping the process in-house generally halves the cost compared with some competitive technologies. “The design, routing, chemicals and dyes for each fabric are completely controlled from beginning to end. H 2tech is not only process and chemical, it’s also the fabric construction, density, weight and opacity. The cost varies by style, and certain styles may require more chemistry.

“H 2tech has been very successful so far in fabrics for law enforcement uniforms,” Tantillo said. Fabrics used in this sector include a polyester/rayon blend, of which Swift Galey is the only domestic producer, and polyester/cotton blends. Other appropriate uniform applications include food services, retail workwear, military and other government uniforms.

H 2tech also can be offered through the company’s Sportswear Division. Tantillo mentioned in particular golf slacks and activewear offered by brands that seek more technical high performance. The company is starting to apply the technology to various products other than polyester/rayon and polyester/cotton — including 100-percent cotton, cotton/nylon blends, and constructions such as corduroy.

H 2tech™ 360’s Activated Comfort System provides release/repel functions on the outside of the fabric and a significantly improved moisture-wicking function on the inside.

Society Hill Plant: Source Of Innovation

Swift Galey’s dyeing and finishing plant in Society Hill, S.C., is the source of its innovative technologies. “Society Hill started out as a basic preparation dyeing and finishing plant,” said Tim Boone, director of development at the plant. “Since then, we have evolved to where a lot of our technology and processing are tailored to an end-user or product. We spend a lot of time and R&D looking at fabric and trying to optimize the processing all through the plant so we can tailor it in the most beneficial way.”

The plant is equipped with traditional manufacturing machinery that has been modified to Swift Galey’s specifications. Boone said the company uses novel approaches in its processing and finishing methods for H 2tech, as well as state-of-the-art fluorochemical and, on a limited basis, some non-fluorochemical chemistries.

“Our technical staff and employees understand H 2 and how important it is, and our testing staff as well,” Boone continued. “The testing is very rigorous — we test a sample about every 1,000 yards for water and oil repellency and water dispersion to make sure the finish is consistently applied. Over the years, we’ve invested a lot of time and energy and money in process controls and innovative technological processes that have enabled us to do H 2. Not every textile plant is sophisticated enough to do it — that’s one of the things that sets us apart from the pack.”
Third-party testing of H 2tech by Atlanta-based GE Energy has yielded varying results according to a fabric’s fiber blend. “The technology does lend itself to certain blend levels,” Tantillo said. “Some of the Swift Galey fabrics we tested tend to dry three times as fast as some competitive fabrics.”

The two sides of the polyester/cotton twill  fabric used in Perfection Uniforms’ MatrixSeries™ product line exhibit the moisture-wicking (above) and water- and oil-repellent (below) functions of Swift Galey’s H 2 technology.

Premium Process = Added Value

Perfection Uniforms, Brentwood, Tenn., provides uniforms for law enforcement; fire station wear; government agencies such as natural resources, parks and recreation, and fish and wildlife; and first responders. As one of the first uniform manufacturers to offer H 2tech-enhanced products, the company selected the technology with the ultra dye and flex add-ons — first in 2006 for its polyester/cotton twill MatrixSeries™ Class B and C uniforms, and last year for its new polyester/rayon StratusSeries™ Class A uniforms. Both product lines have won UniformMarket’s Univator uniform innovation awards.

Steve Gilkeson, Perfection Uniforms’ vice president, marketing, said the company develops its products to fit within expense restraints imposed by its customers. Calling Swift Galey a “ critical partner,” he said, “H 2 is a premium process that brought enough value to the end product that we were able to achieve the premium needed.”

Fall River, Mass.-based Whaling Manufacturing Co. Inc., whose customers include police and fire departments as well as major airlines, will offer polyester/cotton shirts and trousers containing H 2tech 360 technology in its Fall 2008 product line, according to Joe Pinto, Whaling’s national sales manager.

“It’s really one of the best fabrics in the market right now,” Pinto said of the new shirt and trouser fabrics. The company also anticipates using the technology in dress raincoats for the airline market.

For more information about H 2tech™, contact Paul Tantillo (770) 901-6321 ptantillo@swiftgaley.com

April 2008