South Africa-based speciality textiles manufacturer Gelvenor Textiles will produce flame-resistant Nomex and flame- and arc-resistant Protera fabrics to be distributed in Africa in partnership with industrial multinational DuPont, says Gelvenor Textiles CEO Dicky Coetzee.
The company underwent 18 months of trial work, which included a technology transfer initiative, and will manufacture the Nomex and Protera fabrics at its flagship factory in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, for use across its own and DuPont’s Africa supply chains.
Gelvenor’s high-technology factory can produce a range of fabrics and designs specific to customer requirements, using multifilament and spun fibres. The company can also produce high-strength three-dimensional fabrics used for reinforcement on its multiaxial machine, as well as medium- and heavy-weight industrial fabrics to meet customer requirements.
Gelvenor, as an established DuPont partner, has been producing inherently protective fabrics for high-risk industries since 1965, and Kevlar fabrics for more than 20 years. This partnership will develop and supply products into niche markets and will focus on the development of African markets, explains Coetzee.
The company produced the first flame-retardant fabric in South Africa and is the largest weaver of aramid fabrics for ballistic protection in Africa. It has been designated as the preferred South African manufacturer of DuPont’s Nomex and Protera fabrics, he highlights.
Companies will be able to source locally manufactured Nomex and Protera fabrics to comply with preferential procurement regulations, he adds.
The performance of garments to ensure high-level protection is significant and underpins the partnership. Arc-protection garments must be able to protect the wearer from split-second arc flashes, as well as from plasma and metal pieces during an explosion, while affording the user sufficient time to exit the danger zone, explains Coetzee.
Nomex and Protera have been certified to international standards. These fabrics will form part of Gelvenor’s protective and workwear range, which includes fabrics to protect against industrial chemicals and hot-metal splashes, as well as fire, ballistic, electrical arc and medical contamination risks.
The ease of use and high-level protection afforded by the garments produced with Nomex and Protera fabrics are expected to increase the market share of these protective fabrics and garments for Gelvenor and DuPont in Africa, he adds.
“As the use of high-level personal protective equipment increases in Africa, the performance and benefits of these international-quality garments are expected to secure their long-term growth and use. DuPont Nomex and Protera garments are washable and retain their ability to protect the user during an emergency, which is a key demand in the African market.
“The DuPont certification of Gelvenor as the preferred South African manufacturer of its products is testament to our manufacturing capabilities and the quality of the products we develop,” says Coetzee.