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New awning & marine fabric offers 25% more water repellency
14
Nov '08
Glen Raven Custom Fabrics has introduced a "next generation" version of its industry leading Sunbrella awning and marine fabric, offering a 25 percent increase in water repellency with no loss of breathability. The new fabrics, which are already in distribution with awning and marine companies, also feature enhanced quality, strength and production efficiency.

"The new enhancements to Sunbrella awning and marine fabrics represents a significant technical breakthrough," said John Coates, vice president for research and development for Glen Raven Custom Fabrics. "Historically, it has been extremely difficult if not impossible to enhance water repellency in a performance fabric without reducing breathability. After several years of intense development work, we have created a new fabric which shifts this paradigm."

According to Coates, Glen Raven has developed process and material improvements throughout the manufacturing process for Sunbrella fabrics, from fiber formation to fabric finishing. It is this combination of changes that has produced new levels of performance which are being showcased during this year's IFAI Expo in Charlotte.

"As a vertically integrated manufacturer, we are in an ideal position to enhance every step of the production process, beginning with proprietary polymer chemistry for the fibers we use," Coates said. "Through technical changes at every step of the production process – fiber formation, yarn manufacturing, weaving and finishing – we have created a product that no one thought possible only a few years ago."

In addition to increasing water repellency with no loss in breathability, Sunbrella awning and marine fabrics also offer enhanced quality, greater strength and increased production efficiency. Sunbrella's legendary fade resistance and ease of cleaning continue at the same levels in the 'next generation' product.

"The new level of Sunbrella performance is clearly visible," Coates said. "If you hold Sunbrella and competitive fabrics up to sunlight, the other fabrics appear to be full of pinholes."

"Increased production efficiency and improved quality enhances our responsiveness to customer needs," Coates said. "Awning and marine fabricators and their customers will appreciate the full range of improvements in a product that was already considered the industry standard for quality."

Glen Raven began producing the Next Generation of Sunbrella fabrics earlier this year and all fabric currently in inventory and distribution represents the improved fabric. Glen Raven chose this approach so it would not obsolete current dealer inventories.

"We have over the past few months noted a decrease in the number of questions from customers related to water repellency," said Alan Rampey, director of technical services for Glen Raven. "While we subjected the new Sunbrella fabrics to extensive lab testing, it is the experience in the field that really counts. From this initial positive response, we are confident that the new Sunbrella fabrics will result in increased customer satisfaction."

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