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Rise in Extreme Weather Drives Water Repellent Tech Innovation

Textile chemicals company Bolger & O’Hearn is raising the bar for durable water repellent technologies (DWR), in reaction to a rise in extreme weather when basic rainproof material isn’t good enough.

Bolger & O’Hearn has developed Stormproof/Breathable OmniBloq, an advanced DWR technology engineered to keep apparel dry and consumers comfortable, even when exposed to pounding wind and rain. OmniBloq’s Stormproof/Breathable capabilities represent an entirely new DWR category for the performance industry, Bolger & O’Hearn said, noting that garments made with the material have been engineered to deflect heavy, wind-driven rain, but are lightweight and allow perspiration to evaporate.

OmniBloq provides laminate-like resistance to the harshest storms without inhibiting comfort or breathability. It had its debut in Boulder, Colo, this winter at the Meteorite Winter Adventure Camp.

“The reception was overwhelmingly positive,” Shaun O’Hearn, president of Bolger & O’Hearn, said. “Everyone is looking for innovation while minimizing risk to brand equity. B&O is proving to be the bridge between innovation and risk management that brands need.”

The company said Stormproof/Breathable OmniBloq meets or surpasses AATCC Rain Test 35-2013 and is ideal for all forms of performance apparel and gear, including skiwear, hiking clothes, outerwear, tents and backpacks. Stormproof/Breathable fabrics treated with OmniBloq also get high marks on the industry’s rigorous Bundesmann water repellency test, maintaining the highest Bundesmann rating after 30-plus minutes of a treated fabric being exposed to the equivalent impact of full force rain.

Stormproof/Breathable OmniBloq does not compromise fabric hand, garment design or wearer comfort, Bolger & Heran said. Applied at the factory level, the technology is also Bluesign-approved and products treated with OmniBloq are highly durable when laundered and more easily recycled than laminates.

From its beginning in the textile industry, B&O has expanded into paper coatings, non-wovens and other non-textile manufactured products. Its diverse and comprehensive product line totaling over 2,500 products is sold and distributed globally. Based in fall River, Mass., the company is committed to a zero-carbon future and produces its products using renewable energy.