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Quality Fabric Of The Month

Flame Resistance + Comfort & Aesthetics

Milliken Workwear Fabrics' Amplitude® non-ammoniated flame-resistant 6-ounce 88/12 cotton/nylon fabric complies with NFPA® electric arc and flash fire standards.

Janet Bealer Rodie, Managing Editor

L ightweight and breathable comfort, enhanced aesthetics, and superior flame resistance (FR) are not always found together in one fabric, but Spartanburg-based Milliken & Company's Workwear Fabrics business now offers such a product as part of its Amplitude® line of 88/12 cotton/nylon FR fabric line for industrial workwear. The company reports the new 6-ounce-per-square-yard fabric -- targeted to petrochemical, utility, electrical maintenance and manufacturing workers operating in areas such as the US Gulf Coast, the Middle East, Brazil and other warm-climate regions -- is one of the lightest-weight 88/12 cotton/nylon FR fabrics to be recognized by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. for its compliance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA®) 70E Hazard Risk Category 2 electric arc and NFPA 2112 flash fire standards for protective clothing.

Amplitude® 6-ounce FR fabrics provide the same aesthetics, enhanced breathability and strength as the 7- and 9-ounce fabrics in the line.

Amplitude fabrics differ from other cotton/nylon FR fabrics in that they are processed without the use of ammonia, and they exhibit a minimal level of free formaldehyde, making them a more environmentally friendly alternative. At the same time, they outperform competitive fabrics in terms of FR protection and durability.  

"In our FR treatment, we use the same basic phosphorus-based polymer that is used in the traditional ammoniated process, but we use a new non-ammoniated, patent-pending process that allows us to permanently bind the phosphorus to the fibers at a molecular level," said Travis J. Greer, development manager, Milliken Workwear Fabrics. In addition, he said, "We have developed a proprietary process that reduces the free formaldehyde level to less than 75 parts per million, and we have submitted our fabrics for Oeko-Tex® certification."

Noting there are difficulties in maintaining consistency using the ammonia-based process and citing Milliken's attention to quality control, Greer said Milliken's non-ammoniated process provides consistent add-on of the FR chemistry as well as consistent color shading.

The Amplitude fabrics also are more cost-effective than inherently FR fabrics because up-front investment is lower, Greer said, adding that value-wise, they are superior to traditional cotton/nylon FR fabrics because they are available in a wider width in addition to offering higher quality. The 6-ounce fabric is a highly constructed twill, which contributes to its FR performance and durability beyond 100 industrial washings at 150°F.

All production associated with Amplitude takes place in the United States. The Pima cotton and nylon yarns are spun at Milliken's Greenville-based yarn plant. The fabric is woven in Johnston, S.C., and finished in Blacksburg, S.C. "We are completely vertical, which gives us an advantage over the competition in terms of innovation, quality control and time-to-market," Greer said.

For more information about Amplitude® FR fabrics, contact Ricky Norris +800-828-3034, www.millikenfr.com/amplitude

November/December 2009