Intelligent Fabrics



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n an effort to eliminate materials and processes that generate pollution or waste,
initiatives are being taken to manufacture “intelligent” fabrics that use environmentally
sustainable processes as well as eco-friendly raw materials such as biodegradable or recyclable
fibers and optimized dyestuffs/auxiliary chemicals.

Biodegradable materials are returned to the earth as “biological nutrients” at the end of
their useful lives. Recyclable materials, or “technical nutrients,” are reused over and over in new
textile products.

A number of players within the industry — such as visionary architect William McDonough and
chemist Michael Braungart, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), Charlottesville, Va.;
textile manufacturers Rohner Textil AG, Switzerland, and Victor Innovatex Inc., Quebec; textile
distributor DesignTex (a Steelcase Company), New York City; and others — are collaborating to
introduce at competitive prices such fabrics for use in contract furniture and transportation
applications. These fabrics include Rohner’s fully biodegradable Climatex® LifeguardFR™, a blend of
wool and Austria-based Lenzing’s Redesigned LenzingFR™ — a beechwood-based cellulosic fiber
containing a flame retardant derived from a natural source and developed by Switzerland-based
Clariant. Rohner has granted Victor Innovatex exclusive rights to manufacture the jacquard-woven
fabric in North America.

Climatex LifeguardFR is a redesign of Rohner’s award-winning Climatex Lifecycle™, a
wool/ramie climate-control seating fabric that complies with MBDC’s Sustainable Design Protocol™
for environmental soundness of materials and processes used. The fabric is dyed using 16 dye
chemicals from Switzerland-based Ciba that are free of negative environmental impacts, while
complying with industry standards for lightfastness, durability and color process reproducibility.
All colors except black can be produced.

Flame retardation has been among the least environmentally compatible properties found in
commercial fabrics. Rohner claims the addition of Clariant’s sustainable flame retardant meets the
most stringent flame-retardation standards, including those for aviation applications.

Climate-control properties are inherent in the fibers used. Wool conserves heat and absorbs
moisture, while Redesigned LenzingFR transports moisture.

Victor Innovatex is introducing Climatex LifeguardFR as part of its Eco Intelligence™
Initiative (EII), which also includes fully recyclable Eco Intelligent™ Polyester made using
titanium, a safe alternative to antimony, a toxic heavy metal. The fabrics are among others the
company is developing for Steelcase and DesignTex.


For more information about Climatex® LifeguardFR™, contact Jean François Gagnon (418) 227-9897;
or Beth McInnis (212) 741-4016, Ext. 21.





January 2002
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