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SABIC, National Nonwovens collaborate on fire-blocking aircraft seat cover

November 7, 2012

Product uses an FAA-approved flame-retardant resin and it is light weight.

Easthampton, MA-based needlepunched nonwovens manufacturer National Nonwovens recently selected ULTEM fiber from Saudi Basic Industries Corp.'s (SABIC's) Seattle-based Innovative Plastics business for a new fire-blocking aircraft seating dress cover marketed under the Ultra-Protechtor name. Ultem fiber is made using Ultem resin, a polyetherimide (PEI) material that confers high heat resistance, as well as high flow, high ductility and high strength to meet harsh environmental conditions. SABIC reports the inherently flame-retardant resin meets Federal Aviation Administration regulations, and is a lighter-weight product—a property sought after by the aerospace industry to reduce fuel consumption—than the aramid fibers National Nonwovens previously used in similar end products.

"The SABIC team provided support to enable us to develop our new Ultra-Protechtor fire blocker," says Anthony Centofanti, CEO and president, National Nonwovens. "This, combined with the outstanding performance of Ultem fiber, allowed National Nonwovens to easily upgrade from aramid to create a truly high-end product that meets growing industry safety demands and provides aircraft manufacturers with an exceptional fire blocker technology."

"By moving to Ultem fibers, National Nonwovens has created a new fire blocker technology that meets virtually all OEM seating specifications, sets a higher standard for flame-smoke-toxicity properties and ultimately will help to provide a safer travel environment in commercial and business aircraft worldwide," said David Wildgoose, general manager, Engineering Resins, SABIC Innovative Plastics.