Demand for Advanced Performance Materials Escalates

High-tech Stormproof/waterproof OminiBloq is finding traction in today’s PPE market.

Textiles that feature high-tech functionality are increasingly in the spotlight in response to Covid-19. Performance engineered antimicrobial fabrications and high-quality Durable Water Repellent materials in particular are now finding traction in this new wave of PPE manufacturing. Milliken & Company, for example, has scaled up production of advanced anti-microbial BioSmart fabric for front-line medical workers, while Bolger & O’Hearn sees interest in its OmniBloq DWR escalating.

BioSmart makes it simple and practical to integrate anti-microbial protection into the most common medical products like scrubs, lab coats and privacy curtains, according to the Spartanburg, SC-based textile manufacturing firm.

The patented, bleach-activated technology harnesses the proven power of readily available chlorine bleach to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses. Manufactured in the United States, BioSmart fabric is available through Prime Medical and is equipped with advanced molecular engineering that binds chlorine to fibers to turn otherwise passive textiles into one more layer of active defense against inadvertent microbial exposure, contamination and infection.

Statistically, 60 percent of standard medical uniforms are contaminated with potentially infectious bacteria, and 92 percent of medical curtains are contaminated within one week of laundering, according to Milliken. BioSmart fabric is engineered to combat such bacteria, which often causes Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI). When laundered and activated with bleach, BioSmart fabrics retain chlorine, which can kill up to 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses, and that chlorine shield is durable through a minimum of 75 industrial wash cycles. Even further, BioSmart extends the sanitizing effects of bleach for up to 12 weeks with each wash.

Fall River, MA-based Bolger & O’Hearn reports brisk demand for the company’s high-powered durable water repellents (DWRs) in connection with COVID-19 and the growing call for PPE and other medical textiles. This includes DWR’s used in the production of medical masks, gowns, bed coverings, hospital room drapes and more.

“In particular, we are seeing a high demand for Stormproof/Breathable OmniBloq, a DWR we developed for high-end performance apparel brands that surpasses industry standards for water and soil repellence,” said Kelly Murphy, co-president of Bolger & O’Hearn.

OmniBloq provides resistance to fluid penetration, splatter and soils and a higher level of barrier protection for both woven and nonwoven textiles than standard industry DWR’s.

A bluesign system partner, B&O is also known for developing chemical products based on environmentally-compliant materials and technologies with most of the chemistries water-based.