From the Expo Floor: DuPont Unveils Electric Arc Fabric

It's not uncommon for teams of company representatives to be dressed in apparel emblazoned with their corporate logo and "team" colors. But some booths are sharper in this regard than others. Take the DuPont booth (#764). Here the mannequins are live, and if you have a few minutes they'll tell you a whole lot about the particular fabric that composes the shirts they have on. They might ask you to touch it, which, as it turns out, is important to the story behind this particular fabric.

DuPont has provided fire-protective apparel for 40 years, but its newest line, being demoed here in Chicago at the NSC Congress & Expo, has inherent flame resistance and is engineered specifically to protect against electric arc hazards and meet NFPA 70E as well as the new National Electrical Safety Code requirements. According to Richard Murphy, DuPont's Thermal Industrial Segment manager, the fabric was five years in the making.

"We've had this in development since 2002," Murphy says. "We looked at a multitude of fiber blends to find the right solution. You know DuPont, we took our time, did all the due diligence, tested, and retested." And now, here it is. Even though the product is receiving a big push at this show, Murphy said it is "immediately available" from DuPont's distributors.

The fabric comes in two weights: 6.5 ounces per square yard, typically used for shirts and coveralls, and 8.0 ounces per square yard, typically used for pants. It also is available in three colors: medium blue, khaki, and navy blue.

Dina W. Baker, senior marketing communications specialist and one of the live mannequins who held her arm for a tactile test, said that in addition to the all-important flame- and electric-arc-hazard-resistance is its comfort and durability--qualities it retains even after 100 washings. Having taken said tactile test, it's true: the softness seems to belie those protective properties. And, yes, the team members wear it well.

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