Invista’s Cordura brand specializes in the development of high-performance fabrics and fiber technologies used in a wide range of apparel, bags, packs, footwear and other products where durability is paramount.
With a strong military/tactical heritage and a 50-year history of innovative, durable solutions, the company has for several decades been delivering the fabrics of choice for protective gear and clothing with customers that currently include all branches of the US military, other armed forces and law-enforcement bodies worldwide, as well as key global suppliers of work and safety apparel.
In the drive to provide even higher levels of protection, the Cordura brand has invested in developing new technologies that meet the demand for long-lasting performance and at the same time meet other critical industry challenges.
As a result, the latest technologies pioneered by the Cordura brand are having an impact on both the protective workwear and military fabrics markets – with a high degree of cross-fertilization between the two.
Invista, the parent company of the Cordura brand, is one of the world’s largest integrated producers of chemical intermediates, polymers and fibers. In 2017 Invista made an investment of more than $65 million in state-of-the-art polyamide 6,6 fiber production equipment at its facility in Camden, South Carolina, USA.
This resulted in expanded capacity for producing Invista PA 6,6 fiber for use in a diverse range of applications, including a significant increase in US capacity of high-tenacity, specialty fibers used in Cordura fabrics for military applications such as bags, backpacks and ballistic vest carriers, as well as commercial applications such as workwear, motorcycle, and many other outdoor and lifestyle gear and apparel products.
A recent breakthrough in innovation came when Invista’s research and development team at the Seaford, Delaware, USA, manufacturing site, home of the world’s first PA 6,6 production facility.
Designated Invista T420HT, this patent-pending high-tenacity staple fiber is designed to enhance the core strength of Cordura fabrics, particularly when blended with natural fibers such as cotton or wool and is the strongest PA 6,6 staple fiber the company has ever produced.
Fabric made with Invista T420HT fiber was quickly adopted by a leading US workwear producer that specializes in protective apparel and has also been adopted by US and international militaries for next-generation lightweight, breathable and quick-drying combat uniforms.
Recently, the Cordura brand collaborated with military supplier Crye Precision on a new generation of military uniform technology using the durability of Cordura fabric combined with lightweight comfort and added mobility.
Known as G4, this uniform is made from Crye Precision’s VTX Ripstop material, constructed with stretch Cordura NYCO Extreme fabric that utilizes Invista T420HT fiber technology to deliver optimized durability in the pants and sleeves.
Invista’s investment at its Camden facility has also accelerated progress in the development of new solution dyed nylon (SDN) capabilities, complementing the site’s existing PA 6,6 filament fiber manufacturing processes.
One of the major advantages of SDN technology is that the color is locked into the fiber during the production process. This improves the ability to ensure color consistency across different textile components (e.g. fabric and webbing) of tactical gear and equipment such as load carriage, ballistic vests and footwear, where color standardization is required.
Other core attributes found in Cordura fabrics made with SDN PA 6,6 fiber technology are enhanced resistance to ultraviolet (UV) fading as well as excellent resistance to abrasion, scuffs and tearing.
Invista has also patented technology to impart inherent near infrared signature reduction capability as well the ability to engineer short-wave infrared reflectance properties into its SDN nylon 6,6 fiber technology for added concealment and protection.
Lot-to-lot color consistency and UV fade resistance properties built into SDN PA 6,6 fiber technology are not only important in the tactical sector, but also across other commercial markets where image and maintaining corporate identity are key considerations.
Technical Cordura fabrics made using Invista PA 6,6 staple and filament fibers have successfully migrated from the military segment into the global protective apparel market.
For example, Cordura NYCO Extreme fabric technology is an intimate blend of high-tenacity Invista T420HT fiber and cotton woven in specific constructions and blend ratios to provide comfort and protection in hot, humid environments.
Not only does this technology form the foundation for the next generation of military combat uniforms, but it is also becoming a fabric of choice for work clothing worn in similar conditions.
Similarly, Invista’s SDN PA 6,6 filament technology is used in Cordura fabrics that protect areas of work garments subjected to localized wear in industries, such as building and construction, manufacturing, engineering, delivery and security services.
Fabrics made with SDN PA 6,6 can withstand the impact of repeated high-temperature industrial laundry treatments, have excellent wash-fastness properties, and are highly resistant to tear and abrasion.