Andrew Nasarczyk, research and development manager for GALE Pacific, explains why the company exceeded the testing threshold for its flame retardant shade fabric.
Current US market standards relating to flame retardant chemicals are the National Fire Protection Authority 701.1 and 701.2, which is broadly used in our industry. The other standard is the California State Fire Marshal Standard method 1237.1. While it’s acceptable to test one color and apply that test to the whole range, we’ve found that pigment and pigment technology can have an influence over flame retardancy performance. We aren’t satisfied with just one product test; we test all colors. As we launch around 50 colors across three ranges of new products, we’ve conducted three comprehensive tests across every single one—well in excess of 100 tests.
Other stringent requirements also exist in Europe, Australia, and Asia, and we’ve adapted and tested to those global standards, too. If we’re promoting safety in our product range, we want consumers to be confident they’re getting a product that’s compliant with safety standards.
Architects, engineers, or designers who specify our commercial shade fabric for large public areas can rest assured no other company applies that breadth of compliance in testing standards. We offer three distinct products designed for different sized projects and applications; we can offer that breadth to fulfill a number of specific requirements. These products are best suited for projects where there is a conscious requirement around additional safety and protection. From a risk management perspective, architects and engineers are starting to specify flame retardant products.
Although we’ve been working on flame retardant products for more than two years, we had a brutal summer here in Australia and a high public awareness around products that will perform and provide safety in such an environment. There is a growing consciousness around products used in applications and environments where temperatures are getting more extreme; performance characteristics need to adapt and be suitable for the changing environment in which we’re living.
Australia-based GALE Pacific has been manufacturing shade fabrics for 40-plus years, initially for agricultural, crop, and produce protection. Over time they’ve broadened the application for people protection—manufacturing a comprehensive line of architectural shade fabrics. As GALE Pacific places safety above everything else, it was a natural extension of the company’s line to manufacture flame retardant shades that meet the most stringent global fire standards. The newest lines are the Commercial NinetyFive 340 FR; Commercial Heavy 430 FR, and Commercial DualShade 350 FR.