Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020 - 33

Stegmaier continues. "In addition, the
determination of toxic ingredients during
composting is necessary."
Beringer predicts that as consumers
continue to scrutinize how goods are
produced, what the products contain,
a company's carbon footprint and other
eco-drive concerns-activity driven in
large part by social media-the demand for
greater sustainability will only intensify,
accelerating the need for testing.

O

Supporting textile innovation

riginally founded as a textile trade school to support WWII war efforts,
the Textile Technology Center at Gaston College in Belmont, N.C.,

SUPPLIERS SEEK TO ASSURE
Many textile and fiber suppliers are
investing significant resources into
creating eco-friendly processes and
products. They're also expending great
effort into ensuring these efforts are
validated by testing, either conducted
in-house, through an outside lab or
some combination of both.
Consider Seaman. Included among
the company's offerings are the XR®
Geomembranes formulated for extreme
strength, performance and durability.
Three grades are offered-XR-5® for broad
chemical-resistant applications; XR-3® for
moderate chemical-resistant applications;
and XR®PW for potable water contact
products. Other products include the
FiberTite Roofing Systems of resilient,
chemical- and UV-resistant coated-fabric
membranes (these were the first membranes
to be labeled under the ENERGY STAR®
roofing products program, says Uhler).
"We focus on longevity and durability
in the design of our products-increasing
the overall product lifecycle to eliminate
the need for replacement materials and
disposal of end-of-life materials," says
Uhler. "The longevity of the membranes
is proven through case studies on roofs
that have been in service for over 25 years,
like Inn Maid Noodles in Millersburg,
Ohio. The roof was installed in 1981
and is still in service."
The company conducts many of its
tests in-house, with products undergoing

has evolved to provide product development, testing and training

solution services to the textile industry. Comprised of seven labs and process
areas-Analytic Chemistry Laboratory, Dye Laboratory, Fabric Formation
(weaving), Melt Extrusion Laboratory, Microscopy and Defect Analysis
Laboratory, Physical Testing Laboratory, and Yarn Processing-the center
services fiber, textile and apparel products, yarn manufacturers, startup
companies and more, says Jasmine Fox, process coordinator of testing.
Fox says the center has seen a significant increase in sustainable product
development and testing requests from throughout the supply chain. However,
she adds, the largest jump in requests has come from small businesses and
startups. Often the very drivers of innovation in the textile industry, these
smaller operators rely on the center's staff and laboratories since adding
the necessary equipment in-house can be prohibitive.
"The most requested tests we see here are fiber ID, finish analysis and
overall fiber specs for sustainable textiles," says Fox. "In the past, textile
mills discarded fiber waste or used it for less functional purposes such as
heavyweight nonwovens or pillow stuffing. But now, brands, yarn spinners
and fiber producers are looking for ways to add value to their waste."
Fiber identification allows companies collecting waste to understand the
material they have, while finish analysis is essential when developing testing
methods for sustainable materials, she explains. General fiber specs-such
as fiber length, crimp level, tenacity-are important to know when working
with sustainable fibers destined for use in apparel.
"Brands and apparel producers have driven the sustainable textile
movement, but consumers dictate what will sell," Fox says. "Shoppers'
ideals are shifting from the lowest-cost item to an item that speaks to their
personal ideals. Environmentally safe and sustainable clothing is high on
consumers' priorities and apparel producers are attempting to meet this
demand, influencing textile manufacturers and suppliers."
ABOVE: Product development specialist Dan Rhodes (blue shirt) and process coordinator Don
Rusch work with a summer intern on programing the SSM Xeno Winder at the Gaston College
Textile Technology Center in Belmont N.C. The winder, which allows yarn to be transferred from
one package to another, is used for package preparation. The resulting package may go into
twisting, plying, dyeing or other processes. Photo: Gaston College Textile Technology Center.

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Specialty Fabrics Review May 2020

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