From The Editor: TenCate: Innovative Protection

Through the years, Textile World has honored leading textile companies that excel in the development of innovative products and technologies. Bringing innovation into the business process is essential for creating a successful textile company.  This year, TW honors TenCate Protective Fabrics of North America with the 2014 Textile World Innovation Award for that very reason. TenCate has a long-established track record for solving customers’ problems by creating not just fabrics, but fabric systems that exceed its clients’ needs.

When it comes to safety and protection, TenCate is creating cutting-edge products that are helping people doing dangerous jobs on the front line — be it on the battlefield or at the scene of a fire.

Turnout gear — those protective coats and pants worn by firefighters — today comprise very specialized systems, and TenCate, with more than 70-percent market share, has further developed the fabrics going into them since their entry into the market in 1969. The company’s innovations go deeper than great flame-resistant fabrics that it sells into numerous markets. Talk with company leaders today, and you’ll see their focus on maintaining high performance and making fabrics that are cooler and lighter-weight for the wearer. These advantages help increase the wearer’s performance and reduce stress in very harsh environments.

TenCate’s story runs deeper than turnout gear. One remarkable development is its patented Defender® M fabric. When the U.S. military was challenged with a new threat on the battlefield — the improvised explosive device (IED) — soldiers needed more than ballistic protection — they also faced severe burn injuries. Standard military fatigues weren’t providing the necessary level of protection. Researchers at TenCate rose to the challenge and created Defender M, which when implemented is said to have reduced third-degree burns by 30 to 45 percent among affected troops. Subsequent iterations have tuned the performance, and the fabrics are used around the world today.

TenCate also pays attention to how its products are made and makes a conscious effort to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Its Dyeing and Finishing Plant in Molena, Ga., won the Environmental Award for Land Application System from the Georgia Waste Water Pollution Control Association eight years in a row.

TenCate is increasing its global business development — as the company says,  “Domestic success paves the way to reach out to the global market” — and while having a full line of proven products, TenCate recognizes that new clients have varying needs, and those needs present new challenges for TenCate researchers.

TW editors would like to thank TenCate Protective Fabrics of North America for its level of support and access in putting together the editorial that follows. TenCate’s innovation story is far from over — after spending time with members of the company’s team, it becomes apparent that more innovations will follow, and on a global scale.

September/October 2014