A leading sports apparel and equipment retailer approached a Bolger & O’Hearn Inc. technical salesperson about the availability of a fluorine free water repellent. The retailer was seeking to have the fluorine free D.W.R. (durable water repellent) applied to some of its lines of sport jerseys. At the time Bolger & O’Hearn did not have a D.W.R. that was fluorocarbon-free but had several C6-based offerings. Bolger & O’Hearn management evaluated the market potential of a fluorine free D.W.R. product, for both the inquiring retailer’s application and additional outside ones. The market forces that led this large retailer to us also pointed to a significant market opportunity in other areas, particularly for sports apparel brands.
The R& D team at Bolger & O’Hearn team was charged with designing a fluorochemical-free D.W.R. to compete with products already on the market. Within three months the basic formula for Altopel F3 was elucidated and tested on different synthetic and natural fiber textiles. The F3 product, a completely fluorochemical free D.W.R. was found to possess the following attractive characteristics
- Single-component formulation for easy mill processing
- A wide processing window with the ability to cure at between 280°F-380°F
- High initial water repellency on textiles based on synthetic fibers, natural fibers and blends
- Exceptional durability to home laundering with 100 spray rating maintained on polyester and nylon fabrics through 50+ HL’s
- Compatibility and synergistic effects with selected C6 fluorochemicals for high performance D.W.R.’s with oil repellency
- Attractive economics for market penetration
The F3 product was commercialized within a year and has been qualified by several large textile mills in the U.S. and Asia. Altopel F3 marketing efforts have included logo production, trademarking, and social media and print media campaigns with the establishment of a noncommercial website that provides education on the issues surrounding fluorochemical products.