W.L. Gore & Associates in search of durable and sustainable water repellent impregnation (DWR)
U.S. W.L. Gore & Associates is investing in the search of durable and sustainable water repellent impregnation (DWR) with the aim to find solutions to enhance the ecologic profile. At the same time conserving the comfort and durability of the actual most performant DWR or to supersede these
Gore takes the ongoing debate on PFCs very serious. PFCs are substances to be found in various application in the automotive and electro industries as well as in textiles. In the sector of outdoor and work clothing typically perfluorinated materials are applied for the impregnation of textiles to enhance their water, oil (for instance protective sun crème) and dirt repellent characteristics.
Gore works since the beginning of the PFC discussion in expert circles to make DWR impregnation more environment friendly. Bernhard Kiehl, Head of the sustainability programme of Gore Fay Fabrics explains: “Gore has taken a leadership role within the outdoor industry concerning the sustainable handling of PFCs. The company has invested quite a lot and is one of the first enterprises to ban the substance PFOA in all feedstock of its entire textile collection.”
Gore’s actual DWR combines high performance with lower environment impact.
For the time being, Gore Fabrics uses a DWR impregnation with marked enhanced environmental profile. This was achieved without increasing the charging volume of chemicals or to compromise with the expectation of users in view to the performance of water repellent characteristics. Bernhard Kiehl adds: “We are convinced that the actual DWR impregnations offer the best combination of high comfort, durable functionality and low ecologic footprint.”
Gore attains with its actual DWR impregnations a high degree of durability of the water repellent characteristics, allowing the long life of functional weather clothing made by Gore. LCA’s (Life Cycle Assessments) conducted under critical accompaniment by the Öko Institute Freiburg, Germany, confirm that durability is the most decisive factor to reduce the ecologic footprint of functional clothing.
Comparison tests show significant differences. Gore has invested significantly in the reserach of water repellent technologies to enhance their ecologic footprint. Since 2013 Gore examined a row of DWR materials based upon perfluorinated polymers such as on the basis of hydrocarbons or on wax basis. Laboratory and field trials proved that water repellent qualities of actual available, non perfluorinated DWR equipment are less durable in an outdoor application than the DWR by Gore. John P.Cusick states: Already after a short time of use the non perfluorinated DWR effect ceased in field testing. With the quick fading of the water repellent effect no customer will show satisfaction when looking for a comfortable piece of clothing with long lasting functionality.”
Gore plans to invest more than USD 15 million over the next five years to search for alternative material solutions. John P. Cusick explains: “We are open to various ideas and technologies from internal as well as extern sources. As technological leader our search is not restricted on alternatives for actual coatings. We include also totally new aspects in our research work having the needed effects, and in a nonconventional manner. It is our aim to reduce the ecological footprint in our products without impairing functionality.
Gore’s headquarter is located in the USA and the company has around 10000 collaborators generating a turnover of better than USD three billion and owns production facilities in the USA, German, UK, Japan and China. As a technology oriented company Gore values research and product innovation.
Operation in Europe started shortly after the funding of the company in 1958. Meanwhile the company has locations in the most important European countries and serves these markets with sales and production and with products of all of its business fields. Gore is among the few enterprises that have been bestowed repeatedly and since 1984 as a member of the 100 best employers of America (100 Best Companies to Work For). Also in Europe Gore is among the leading employers and was able to place itself among the best in Germany, France, UK, Italy and Sweden.