TW Special Report
Today’s textile companies thrive on making ordinary fabrics do extraordinary things, and high-performance textiles is one of the industry’s fastest-growing segments.
“Textiles” refers to a simple woven, knit or nonwoven substrate. So how has an 88-year-old company founded on a single graphited lubrication product for automobiles become a world leader in performance textiles without weaving or sewing a single product?
Cathy Knowles, marketing manager for Wickliffe, Ohio-based The Lubrizol Corp.’s Engineered Polymers business, says Lubrizol is a technology-based solutions provider rather than a traditional textiles company.
“Our work begins at the molecular level, where we add value by delivering chemistries that differentiate and optimize the quality and performance of products,” Knowles said. “The work we do is market-facing, customer-centric and innovation-driven.”
Lubrizol might not be a household name, but its unique formulations have made possible many of the distinct characteristics that drive consumer-buying decisions when it comes to today’s most popular performance textiles.
Jack Scott, global applications manager for Lubrizol’s Performance Coatings business, says the company’s groundbreaking work is challenging and rewarding.
“We are continually developing new chemistries and gaining more understanding of how our products work in end-use applications,” Scott said. “We have a fundamental passion for innovation and developing materials to match market needs; it’s gratifying to see an idea make it from the lab to consumers who love it, even if they don’t know our name.”
Many of today’s leading, billion-dollar performance textile brands rely on Lubrizol’s molecular innovations to integrate advanced functional, aesthetic and durability benefits into their consumer products.
“We support brands by working with customers who represent generations in the textile industry, and their businesses are growing,” Knowles said. “They’re adding capacity including new capital investment in equipment and workforce expansion to meet greater demand.”
Lubrizol’s formulations help make footwear more cushioned, yoga pants more fitted, compression gear more comfortable and outdoor gear more protective.
“We’re driven to push the innovation envelope, and what we add makes the difference,” said Matt Dudas, global market segment manager, Lubrizol Performance Coatings. “When the U.S. wanted to go to the moon, we provided NASA with a textile innovation in aluminized nylon — the space program’s classic silver suit that protected John Glenn in the first manned earth orbit. When it’s time to explore Mars and beyond, we’ll be there with our next-generation fibers, films, coatings, inks and adhesives.
“American textiles are helping make the world’s future aspirations a reality.”
Editor’s Note: This article appears in Textile World courtesy of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) as part of the “American Textiles: We Make Amazing™” campaign. NCTO is a trade association representing U.S. textile manufacturing. Please visit ncto.org to learn more about NCTO, the industry and the campaign.