Austrian-based Lenzing AG is "substantially increasing" its production capacity for Lenzing FR heat protection fiber. The move is to allow the company's business partner TenCate BV to supply larger quantities of Defender M fabric to the U.S. military, taking effect from September, the Netherlands-headquartered company says.
The increased production capacity will also enable the two companies to offer their product on the international export market.
TenCate's U.S. facility, TenCate Protective Fabrics of Union City, Georgia is a key supplier of various types of flame retardant (FR) fabrics to the U.S. armed forces, the company says, supported by the Lenzing Group which develops and produces specialty rayon fibers.Fabric production at TenCate using aramid fibers. Photo: TenCate
In March 2007 TenCate introduced its Defender M fabric which has become an integral component of U.S. military combat uniforms (selected as the standard fabric for flame resistant combat clothing). Yesterday, TenCate announced "at least" $100 million worth of orders for Defender M products from the U.S. military over the next 12 months.
The continued demand from the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps for TenCate’s flame resistant fabrics outgrew the available production capacity of FR rayon and meta-aramid fiber suppliers.
With the expansion of Lenzing FR rayon fiber capacity TenCate is able to supply a substantially higher volume of Defender M fabrics than before. Defender M is made from a fiber blend that includes the FR rayon from Lenzing.
According to TenCate, Defender M "meets the enhanced need for flame protection spawned by frequent attacks with improvised explosive devices (IED’s)."
TenCate says demand for its military products will continue to grow. New Defender M fabrics are being developed in close coordination with the U.S. Military and will start contributing later this year.
Feedback from the field has included reports of reduced injuries following IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, TenCate claims.
A new development involves TenCate Defender MX stretch fabrics for combat uniforms which offer enhanced comfort and mobility and will be tested shortly in the field by combat soldiers. These fabrics provide soldiers with enhanced flexibility and ease of movement increasing their performance in the field while giving them protection against heat and flame.
The armed forces of countries other than the United States also face the enhanced flame and heat risks of present day military reality. Due to the large volume needed by the U.S. military and existing supply constraints, TenCate has been limited in its efforts to serve international needs.
Lenzing’s investment in new production capacity enables TenCate and Lenzing to pursue international military business. The two companies have extended their cooperation internationally to promote TenCate Defender M fabrics to military organizations worldwide.