Top Notch FR - Halogen Free Flame Retardancy

Marlen Textiles, trusted manufacturer of polyester fabrics for commercial and industrial uses, this month launched Top Notch FR®. This solution-dyed fabric is flame-retardant using a halogen-free flame retardant system, a first for the industrial fabric industry. TOP NOTCH FR® was specially created for applications needing flame resistance and unrivaled durability, tear, water and abrasion resistance. The fabric can be used for many outdoor applications such as commercial, residential and industrial awnings, tents, and canopies.

Recent research has shown the dangers of brominated flame retardants (including halogen), when used as flame retardants in solution-dyed fabrics, are significant. Certain halogenated compounds can degrade into dioxins and dioxin-like compounds. Also, exposure to the elements (sun, wind, rain) can break down the fabric to the point where the halogens can be carried in to surrounding ground water. When inhaled or ingested, these agents can bioaccumulate in fatty tissue, resulting in disruption of thyroid functions, as well as affecting brain development in animals and humans. Also, improper waste and recycling treatment of electronic products with brominated flame retardants can produce dioxins, which is not the case with halogen-free alternatives.

Other industries have joined the effort to minimize or eliminate halogens as part of a flame retardant system. Over the last three years, the use of halogens in industrial cables and wires has dramatically decreased to minimize the production of toxic smoke from building fires. In addition to lowering the risk of halogen exposure, Top Notch FR generally produces less smoke and toxic fire emissions than fire-retardant fabrics using a halogen based flame retardant system. Besides safety, there have been other issues regarding fire-retardant fabrics. Many of the competitive solution-dyed fire-resistant fabrics in the industry use a coating that is overly reflective, making them less visually appealing. Also, some solution-dyed fabrics have been noted to be too “stretchy,” as well as susceptible to sagging and leaks. Top Notch FR was designed to answer all of these shortcomings, and has been lab tested to show a higher tear and tensile strength, having better dimensional stability, as well as being less reflective, or “shiny.” The fabric’s flame-retardant properties pass California State Fire Marshall, NFPA 701, CPAI 84, FAA/FAR 25.853 and CAN/ULC specifications.

Top Notch FR was created as an attempt to set an industry standard as an environmentally friendly, durable and soft flame-retardant material for outdoor-textile goods. The fabric will begin shipping from Marlen Textiles on July 21st, 2017 and will be available from participating distributors the following week.