Firefighting has always been tough. And today, technology designed to make our everyday lives easier is now making firefighting more difficult. Nowhere is this more evident than in Airport Crash and Rescue, Petrochemical and HAZMAT emergencies. Fires are burning hotter, longer and can give off heat in excess of 3000ºF. These extreme conditions require more in Personal Protective Equipment—more than structural turnout gear, more in fact than traditional aluminized proximity gear.
These challenges and others like these require Z-Flex® Silver™—a revolutionary new multilayer aluminized fabric system from Newtex Industries, Inc. Z-Flex Silver is the most advanced aluminized outer shell system ever developed which combines Z-Flex Multilayer Aluminization (MLA™) technology with a proprietary 3D Mock Knit™ fabric featuring PBI flame resistant fibers. This integrated outer shell system offers superior protection and performance for the next generation of Alumnized PPE. Z-Flex Silver is an innovative 5-layer outer shell composite that has been completely engineered to provide durable, comfortable and superior protection from high energy, radiant heat. By reflecting back the heat, Z-Flex Silver allows close flame proximity while reducing the rate of heat absorption that can lead to thermal fatigue.
“Fires involving volatile liquids, chemicals, and gases are about more than putting the wet stuff on the red stuff. These situations involve tremendous amounts of flammable liquids that produce large amounts of radiant heat, subjecting firefighters to conditions that can cause serious injury in a short period of time,” said Doug Bailey, President, Newtex Industries, Inc.
Until now, conventional aluminized fabrics incorporated decades-old technology that failed to provide the enhanced protection and durability to withstand extreme radiant heat. Bailey went on to say, “We heard from leading garment manufacturers, their customers and firefighting professionals that a new generation of aluminized protection was necessary.”
So Newtex took on the challenge, and after nearly a decade of development, field testing and working with some of the most experienced first responders and leading universities, scientists and global partners— Z-Flex Silver was born.
The innovative Z-Flex Silver fabric starts with the revolutionary Z-Flex Multilayer Aluminization (“MLA”) process. The Z-Flex MLA process employs sophisticated thin film vapor deposition technology to apply very fine, highly reflective aluminum particles to both sides of a high temperature polymer film barrier. Z-Flex® films are designed to reflect up to 95% of radiant heat, with zero flame or afterglow even when exposed to direct flame. Z-Flex films outperform competitive films by as much as 50% when exposed to radiant heat sources up to 3000°F/1649°C.
The resulting Z-Flex film is then chemically and mechanically bonded to a patented 3D Mock Knitfabric utilizing the latest advancements in bonding technology. This exclusive, three dimensional (3D) Mock-Knit fabric is woven with high performance PBI fibers and reinforced with filament Para-Aramid for unrivaled protection and strength. The 3D Mock KnitTM technology mimics a traditional knit fabric to deliver comfort, but provides a flexible woven substrate that enhances the match between the Z-Flex reflective layer and the rest of the composite system. This unique 3D Mock-Knit is significantly stronger, lighter, more flexible, and more supple than traditional high performance knit fabrics. The result is Z-Flex SilverTM —a purpose-built fabric that delivers outstanding reflectivity, maximum durability, and a superior flex-bond for extreme fire fighting applications.