FR + Stretch = Flexible Protection
With FlexTex, Mount Vernon Mills has added a stretch woven option to its line of flame-resistant fabrics for utility wear.
Janet Bealer Rodie, Managing Editor
Utility line workers and other end-users of flame-resistant (FR) apparel have been expressing a
desire for increased comfort and range of motion in the clothing they wear on the job. Mount Vernon
FR, Trion, Ga., a division of Mount Vernon Mills Inc., Mauldin, S.C., has introduced a stretch FR
fabric in response.
FlexTex — first offered in AmTEX™ C100 Chickasaw Flex 8.5-ounce cotton twill and Phoenix 100-percent cotton denim Seminole Flex 12.75-ounce twill FR styles — contains a spandex fiber that provides bilateral flex with up to 14-percent stretch and 97-percent recovery, enhancing the wearer's range of motion and performance on the job without lowering the fabric's FR protection level. The fabrics meet ASTM F1506 requirements for FR and arc-rated apparel worn by electrical workers, and register arc thermal protective value ratings of 11.0 and 17.0 calories per square centimeter (cal/cm2), respectively, well above the 8-cal/cm2 requirement for National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 2112 certification for flash fire protection.
According to Mike Woods, Mount Vernon FR's vice president of FR fabric sales, FlexTex can be added to any of the company's FR fabric lines, and it is being evaluated for NFPA 2112 certification for protection of oil and gas workers. "We are looking to offer a fabric that complies with Health Risk Category 2," he said. "Our initial target was utility line workers, who can find themselves in awkward positions and can benefit from increased range of motion. Once we started showing the fabrics, we had a lot of interest from folks in the oil and gas industry for a coverall product, so we decided to go for the NFPA certification."
Mount Vernon Mills' FlexTex FR fabrics meet ASTM F1506 requirements for apparel worn by electrical workers. National Safety Apparel has adopted the technology for a line of FR stretch jeans (below).
National Safety Apparel (NSA), Cleveland, has adopted the Phoenix Seminole Flex denim fabric for a line of stretch FR denim jeans for both men and women — the first in the market, according to Micel Figueroa, NSA's director of sales, marketing and customer service, who added that the new styles have more of a retail look and less of a uniform look.
"In focus groups, we found that consumers wanted a more comfortable, flexible, retail look," she explained. "In the FR sector, aesthetics have not been a key component when creating garments. Now, with all the new textile technology, we're trying to incorporate the look and feel of a retail garment and also have the FR function."
In another development, Mount Vernon FR has introduced amDry, a durable water repellent that can be applied to any of its FR fabrics. "amDry can be applied to any of our cotton-rich fabrics," Woods said, noting that most water-repellent treatments for FR fabrics have been durable only up to four or five washes, or have comprised some type of coating or laminate, which deters breathability. "amDry chemistry is durable to 20 washes, and it doesn't affect the fabric's breathability or comfort," he added.
For more information about Mount Vernon Mills' FlexTex fabrics, contact Mike Woods +706-734-4920; michaelw@ mvmills.com. For more information about National Safety Apparel's FR denim apparel line, contact +800-553-0672; firstname.lastname@example.org.