New DuPont generic fiber approved

Carole Sloan, Staff Staff, December 9, 2002

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has approved a new generic fiber subclass recognizing T-400, a new generation of elastic fibers created by DuPont Textiles & Interiors (DTI).

The new fiber generic is called elasterell-p; it is specially designed to deliver superior performance and aesthetics in applications requiring low to moderate stretch. These include a number of home furnishings applications, including upholstery fabrics and sheets, said Steve McCracken, president of DTI. In addition, McCracken explained, "The new fiber is resilient over a long time, unlike spandex. It delivers the Lycra spandex promise with a lower cost and the ability to withstand chemical treatments of bleach."

Lycra is DTI's trademark for its spandex stretch fiber. T-400 will be marketed under the Lycra brand, he noted. McCracken said, "T-400's easy care properties come naturally compared with Lycra, and it opens up a whole family of variants where we can exploit its chemistry."

In addition, T-400 has a "price relationship that is much lower than spandex, although it requires the use of higher quantities. But, as important, it eliminates a lot of processing steps and the need for texturizing," McCracken explained. It also designed to provide a smoother finish than textured fibers and can be used in woven and knit constructions.

Unlike spandex, T-400 can be used with everything in fibers, McCracken noted, "and fills a unique space between textured yarns and spandex in terms of stretch and recovery." Its uniqueness, he continued, "is that it comes from polyester chemistry and delivers spandex properties."

DTI is producing T-400 in its Chattanooga, TN, facility, It has applied for a generic fiber category in Europe where the temporary generic for T-400 is elastic fiber. Currently, there are apparel products on the market.

Toray in Japan has been licensed to manufacture T-400 for the Japanese market, and the fiber will be marketed under the DTI-Toray joint venture company TDC.

DTI also has created a 50/50 joint venture with Shinkong Synthetic Fibers Corp. (SSFC) in Taiwan to manufacture T-400 for the Asian market. DTI will provide the technology and product expertise as well as market the fibers with Lycra brand support. SSFC will manage the joint venture company and provide its manufacturing expertise to the joint venture. DTI's manufacturing capacity in Chattanooga will be directed to the North American and European markets when Asian capacity becomes available.

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