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Clariant's Pekoflam ECO/SYN meets safety & sustainability
Oct '11
The new Pekoflam system is a fundamental breakthrough in durable FR (fire retardant) finishes and heralds a new generation in the production of FR protective textiles. Clariant's innovative, bi-component system, Pekoflam ECO and Pekoflam SYN, meets the needs of the textile industry for a more sustainable and high performance FR application that can be used with existing equipment and is free of Oeko-Tex restricted materials1), commonly still found in certain FR.

“The Pekoflam process is based on a synergistic application of phosphorus and nitrogen,” explains Thomas Winkler, Head of Clariant's Business Unit Textile Chemicals. “When we were examining the methods currently in use for creating fire retardant textiles as part of our innovation program, we knew we had to move away from traditional methods and get rid of any formaldehyde emissions.

Balancing our innovation parameters of cost effectiveness, safety and sustainability, while at the same time providing a viable, commercial solution for our partners in the global textile industry, has taken some three years of research and development where the final solution was jointly developed utilizing an external research & development partnership. The result has been worth the wait.”

The new bi-component Pekoflam system – ECO for ecological and economic, SYN for synergy – has a very low impact on the fabric strength to which it is applied. Importantly, it also has excellent wash fastness in domestic laundry situations and good performance in industrial applications. Unlike some systems, processing can be done on common finishing lines with HT (high temperature) curing and a suitable wash range.

By creating the new Pekoflam system, which is especially suited to cotton and cotton-rich blends, Clariant is again broadening the opportunities for manufacturers to develop their product range and markets. Until now, they have had to rely mainly on systems based on commodity chemistry that can be very restrictive, especially in the production of materials that may be used in children's clothing. And as health and safety issues have grown in recent years, the manufacturers have been targeted for alternative materials by many brands and retailers of home textiles.

Constantly adapting to market needs, Clariant's Textile business has been focusing successfully on non-halogenated products for a fairly long time. Finally – with Pekoflam – the problem of formaldehyde and amine emissions has also been eliminated in FR systems.

Moreover, the current FR systems also can affect the residual tensile strength of fabrics, which places severe limitations on the weights of fabric that could be produced.

All of these limitations and associated environmental and ecological problems in the sector have been removed by the introduction of Pekoflam ECO in combination with Pekoflam SYN. “The new Clariant chemistry is not simply another product on the market – it provides a fundamental and far-reaching change to the way the producers of FR fabric have been forced to work. The new system doesn't contain any SVHC2) restricted chemicals, commonly used in FR. And it's cost efficient, too,” says Mr. Winkler.

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