Applications for nonwovens continue to grow as entrepreneurs carve out new niches. For TireBooties.com, a DBA of Beach Walker LLC specializing in the manufacture of floor protection products for tires and caster wheels, nonwovens have offered clear benefits over other materials.
TireBooties are protective tire covers made from a 100% spunbound polypropylene nonwoven fabric, which is water proof and fire retardant, according to the company.
“Initially the nonwoven TireBooties were for hand trucks, airless paint sprayers and portable compressors for construction and delivery companies,” says Liz Martin of TireBooties.com. The company has since expanded its product line to include CasterBooties, which are designed for casters on everything from hospital beds to hand trucks.
The company tried various fabrics and designs but nonwovens presented obvious advantages, says Martin. “When designing our products we tested a lot of fabrics but the nonwoven proved to be the best, especially for clean room, medical and pharmaceutical facilities—not to mention the best value in [terms of] the cost of the material in order to make these products affordable to end users.”
TireBooties and CasterBooties are durable, waterproof and washable allowing for economical and reusable solutions compared to expensive housekeeping cleaning, repairs and maintenance, according to the company.
“In clean rooms the initial use was to protect the floors and keep them clean, but then we also learned it helped if the booties showed dirt that the floors needed to be cleaned,” says Martin. “Animal research companies need them for keeping the casters clean from water and debris. They normally rent casters from suppliers, which change out the dirty casters, clean them and rotate them on a rental basis. Now with CasterBooties they keep the same caster wheel but take off the CasterBooties, wash them and reapply clean booties on the casters for a fraction of the rental cost.”
Like many other companies, TireBooties.com underwent a trial and error process before launching its products, says Martin. “After a lot of research and a few failed designs we perfected the CasterBooties.”
Martin says the company has received numerous inquiries for a variety of end uses, including grips for movie studios and, among the general public, for wheelchairs.
“McMaster Carr contacted us with the need to have more clean room products and the two nonwoven products are going in the McMaster Carr catalog in August, which is a big boost for us,” Martin notes. “We are hoping that someday Home Depot and/or Lowes will give us an opportunity as they would sell well alongside the hand trucks, paint sprayers and the portable compressors, not to mention in their rental departments.”
The company is in search of machinery and equipment to enhance its manufacturing process, adds Martin. “With a few alterations our TireBooties and CasterBooties could be mass produced and help make the cost of the product more enticing for the end user. The labor is the high cost, as right now we manufacture them in our facility with commercial overlock machines with metering devices to apply the elastic.”
The company is also getting set to release its RigDiaper product, which attaches under a rig to help prevent hydraulic oil spills of motorized equipment (e.g., forklifts, scissor lifts, etc.). The product uses a nonwoven oil pad that is attached in the center of the RigDiaper to catch the oil as it leaks, Martin explains.