Specialty fabrics are designed and manufactured with a specific purpose or application in mind. As a result, they offer better performance than non-specialty, standard fabrics when used for that purpose or in that application. They can demonstrate a variety of properties depending on the fibers from which they are made, including with regard to strength, weight, durability, and more.
Interested in learning more about specialty fabrics and how they can benefit your application? Below, we highlight some of the common fibers used in specialty fabrics, typical applications of specialty fabrics, and how to choose the best specialty fabric for your needs.
Specialty Fabrics 101
Common Fibers Used for Specialty Fabrics
Specialty fabrics can be made from a wide range of fibers, each of which results in different properties in the final material. Some of the most common fibers used in specialty fabrics include:
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Typical Applications of Specialty Fabrics
Specialty fabrics find use in both the industrial and commercial sectors. They are found in the parts and products of many industries, ranging from aerospace and automotive to clothing and construction to marine and medical. Some typical uses for their materials include:
- In the aerospace and automotive industries: cargo nets, seat pockets, seat supports
- In the construction industry: personal protective equipment (PPE), safety clothing
- In the medical and healthcare industries: cubicle curtains, infusion bag supports, patient slings
How to Choose the Best Fabric for Your Application
Since specialty fabrics are tailored for use in specific applications, understanding what fabric properties you need for your application and what fabrics offer the properties you need is essential to choosing the best fabric for your project. While this can be difficult given the broad range of fabrics and fabric properties available, an experienced and knowledgeable fabric manufacturing partner, such as Jason Mills, can help you through the selection and sourcing process.
At Jason Mills, we’ve worked with textiles, including specialty fabrics, for over 40 years. We understand fabrics and know which fabric is best suited for which application. This expertise enables us to help each of our customers find the right fabric for their application. Below, we highlight some of the considerations we keep in mind when assisting customers in selecting a fabric for their project.
. Fabric Construction
Fabrics can be constructed in many different ways. We specialize in manufacturing knit mesh textiles, with the majority of our fabrics made through warp knitting methods. All of these fabrics feature an open-hole structure that enhances the breathability of the material. However, they vary with regard to weight, width, color, finish, and fiber content, which affects their other key characteristics.
As indicated above, specialty fabrics can be made from a variety of fibers. Two of the fibers we commonly used in the manufacture of our fabrics are nylon and polyester. While the two share many advantageous characteristics, such as high durability, low material weight, easy cleaning requirements, and resistance to mildew and tearing, they also differ in many ways. For example:
- Nylon has a smooth and soft feel, which makes it suitable for use in applications where aesthetics and/or comfort are critical.
- Polyester is hydrophobic, which makes it easier to dye into different colors and faster to dry when it is wetted.
Fabric Properties & Industry Standards
As specialty fabrics are intended for use in a specific application, they must exhibit the properties needed to ensure they perform well in that application. These properties vary from application to application. For example:
- In construction, highway maintenance, and traffic control applications, high-visibility is important to keeping personnel safe, so a fluorescent material would be highly beneficial.
- In glass manufacturing applications, the risk of injury from abrasive or sharp materials is high, so a cut-resistant fabric would be valuable.
Whatever your specialty fabric needs, at Jason Mills, our experts can help you select an appropriate product from our extensive selection of over 100 established SKUs. If none of those products meet your needs, we will research and develop a fabric that does. Some of the fabric property requirements we accommodate include:
- Fire resistance (compliant with FAR 25.853 and FMVSS 302)
- Sun and salt resistance
- Moisture and mildew resistance
- Tear resistance
- Cut resistance
- ANSI compliance
Quality Specialty Textiles at Jason Mills
If you’re looking for quality specialty textiles, turn to the experts at Jason Mills. We are fully committed to providing customers with high-performance knit materials. Our extensive textile experience, combined with our skilled employees, quality fibers, and advanced knitting technology, enable us to produce knit material solutions for a wide range of customer needs. To learn more about our specialty textile capabilities, contact us today. To discuss your fabric needs with one of our experts, request a quote.