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Bonar awarded with Future Material Award for Agrotextile
World Textile Information Network, publisher of international technical textiles magazine Future Materials, launched the Future Materials Awards to recognize success in textile innovation and celebrate the essential work of the many businesses which support the industry. In the category Best Innovation-Agrotextile, Bonar’s PhormiTex Eclipse won the award.
The jury stated: “Bonar has developed a commercial product that anticipates future regulations and demand. The company overcame technical challenges and has worked well with partners. Furthermore, the material has performed well in trials and been strongly received by the market.”
Growers of short-day plants require a screen which ensures complete darkness, but also reflects the sunlight to avoid warming and enables moist transport when the screen is closed on hot summer days. For years now, a double woven screen is the preferred type of fabric since it is completely closed.
However, the awareness is growing that those screens are a fire hazard. Because of the lights and other electrical equipment, fires are a major risk in greenhouses and polyethylene fabrics are the perfect carrier to spread the fire all around. That’s why several European insurance companies require flame retardant (FR) screens in all greenhouses by 2017.
Therefore Bonar developed a screen with the same exceptional quality of the unique existing woven screen combined with the newly required flame retardant behavior. According to Tim Parrein, development engineer at Bonar, the challenge in the development of this product was to obtain a self-extinguishing effect in a lightweight technical fabric that mainly consists out of polyolefins. The existing extrusion process had its limits. Limits that made it impossible to obtain a self-extinguishing effect with the flame retardant additives available on the market. On top of that UV-stability had to be maintained, as well as the aluminum tapes for heat reflection and for a high optical density. All these properties are known to badly influence the fire behavior. Bonar also excluded the use of any additive which could be harmful for the environment or the plants.
Ives Swennen, deputy director RD&I, explains that the solution was found in a combination of novelties: ‘after extensive research a new FR additive was developed with its partners and suppliers. A new heat reflecting film was developed which combined flame retardant behavior and durability in a thin processable material and a new polymer was approved for the application. All this new knowledge was filed in a patent.’
The first larger projects will be realized in 2015.
For more information
Jos Waltmans, Communications Manager
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