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Textile Firms Step Up to Challenges of Extreme Weather

Textile companies are using new technology to develop products that protect against natural elements like sun and water that can often degrade materials and shorten their lifespan.

The longevity of apparel has become more important in the move toward a circular economy trumpeted by environmental groups and established as a goal for many companies. There are also health effects of some of the new products, such as protection from detrimental exposure to the sun.

In that regard, Huntsman Textile Effects has launched High IQ Sun Protect to help mills, brands and retailers meet consumer demand for apparel and accessories with built-in sun protection. High IQ Sun Protect provides an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of up to 50, offering the wearer with the highest level of protection for the lifetime of the garment.

Tested against the strict industry standards, High IQ Sun Protect guards against damaging UV-A and UV-B rays to ensure maximum protection. The company noted that it does not impair the natural aesthetics of the fabric, and prolonged exposure to sunlight and multiple laundering will not degrade the protection or fade the colors.

“Consumers today want maximum protection from the sun’s harmful rays, especially when it comes to protecting children,” said Lee Howarth, global marketing manager at Huntsman Textile Effects. “With Huntsman’s High IQ Sun Protect assurance program, we offer peace of mind when outdoors and exposed to the sun. Our innovative technology ensures protection at the highest levels in textiles that carry the High IQ Sun Protect label, while remaining durable over the lifetime of the garment.”

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Only mills that meet Huntsman’s stringent requirements will be authorized to use the High IQ performance assurance hang tags as point-of-sale product branding. High IQ Sun Protect is appropriate for a broad range of fabrics and garments, including clothing for children and infants, swimwear, sportswear, workwear and school uniforms, as well as hats, umbrellas and other accessories, the company noted

The technology used to produce High IQ Sun Protect complies with the requirements of Bluesign for safe and sustainable textile production. Fabrics produced with High IQ Sun Protect are eligible for Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex certification.

Huntsman Textile Effects developed the overall High IQ global performance assurance program to help mills, brands and retailers produce high-performance textiles with built-in sun protection, freshness, friction protection and water repellence in its dyes and effects that produce bright whites and a range of durable colors.

Covestro has also developed new products to guard against the weather.

Under its Insqin brand for effective waterproof and breathable coating of textiles using waterborne technology, Covestro created a new coating is applied in a two-layer system using newly developed polyurethane dispersion products Impraperm DL 5249 and Impraperm DL 5310. They enhance the performance of outdoor apparel and provide increased functionality and comfort.

“This new development gives manufacturers and consumers considerable benefits,” Dr. Torsten Pohl, global head of textile coatings at Covestro, said. “Textile manufacturers can switch quickly and easily to a more sustainable solution that offers flexibility in design and functionality. Consumers can have a sustainable alternative with products that help to deal with extreme weather scenarios in breathable comfort.”

Covestro noted that the latest Insqin solution does not use solvents, making textile production more eco-friendly and easier to handle. The new coating helps achieve a strong waterproofing performance even in heavy rain and after repeated washing. The coated textiles are soft and breathable, and provide enough flexibility for developing materials needed for high performance outdoor shoes.

The new products are part of a trend toward technological developments that address textile durability and ability to perform in extreme weather conditions.

Textile chemicals company Bolger & O’Hearn recently introduced Stormproof/Breathable OmniBloq, an advanced durable water repellent (DWR) technology engineered to keep apparel dry and consumers comfortable, even when exposed to pounding wind and rain.

OmniBloq’s Stormproof/Breathable capabilities represent a new DWR category for the performance industry, Bolger & O’Hearn said, noting that garments made with the material are engineered to deflect heavy, wind-driven rain, but are lightweight and allow perspiration to evaporate.

In a similar vein, the Chemours Company has introduced Zelan R2 Plus, expanding its commercial product offerings of nonfluorinated DWR products. Zelan R2 Plus contains 30 percent renewably sourced, plant-based raw materials and is focused on delivering a high level of DWR for all material substrates.

The company said it’s working on developing other non-fluorinated offerings to provide stain release benefits. Zelan R2 Plus complements Zelan R3, the chemistry for Teflon EcoElite, a renewably sourced finish that provides high DWR performance and is up to three times more durable than existing non-fluorinated repellents, according to Chemours.

Zelan R3 is commercially run at over 200 mills in more than 30 countries, with 24 million consumer products featuring the Teflon EcoElite brand, from high-end skiwear to more basic outerwear. Huntsman Textile Effects is the global distributor for all Zelan products.