DuPont looks ahead to 'smart' products

Gary Evans, Carole Sloan, July 21, 2003

WILMINGTON, DE As polyester celebrates its 50th anniversary, DuPont, through its wholly-owned subsidiary DuPont Textiles & Interiors (DTI), is concentrating on technology, specialty fibers, innovation and technology to expand its presence.

DTI is working on "developing 'smart' garments and home furnishings products," explained James Trainham, chief technology officer. Among the possible applications are thermal management for both polyester and nylon, which would include the retention of heat for sheets and bedding, respiration measuring rates, color changes in fabrics and enhanced security detection, he explained.

As part of its strategy, Unifi will become the sole producer of Dacron polyester filament in 2005, while the fiberfill business "will be an on-going business with technology and manufacturing alliances all over the world," Trainham added. Micormattique, its micro-denier polyester fiber also will be part of Unifi, he said.

Teflon, DTI's stain- and wrinkle-resistant product, breaks this week with its first television commercial for home furnishings and apparel products.

The broadcast and advertising campaign, using the theme "Make Every Day Easy," will run through the fall and will cost about $20 million. The print ads also feature home furnishings products with bedding and upholstered furniture featured. The program will highlight the "softer" side of Teflon, which began as a non-stick coating for cookware 40 years ago.

The TV commercials will be on network programming with early morning and evening events as well as special events and on cable. Home furnishings and apparel ads will appear summer and fall issues of major consumer publications.

The ad campaign will co-brand with key customers as well as retailers such as Federated and May Co., according to Huw Williams, global business manager, global effects.

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