consumer-friendly FR solutions that mattress manufacturers are going to be happy with in terms of performance and consumers are go- ing to be happy with when they ask retailers what the components are in the mattress.”

The Shift Towards Glass-Free FR Solutions There are a number of different materials and finishes that can be used to achieve the nec- essary FR standard, but fiberglass yarn has his- torically been the most common option. When used correctly, the glass material is a safe and effective way to block a flame from reaching the inner layers of the mattress. In recent years, though, there have been growing concerns about using fiberglass for this purpose. While its ability to protect against fire has never been questioned, other safety issues have arisen when the material breaks down over time. In such cases, consumers who inadvertently come into direct contact with the fiberglass can expe- rience both skin and respiratory irritation. While rare, concerns about fiberglass FR did

“Because of our innovation and broad range of products, we’ve become the go-to suppli- er making sure that our customers meet the federal regulations.” A valuable partner for both mattress mak- ers and sellers, Precision Textiles ensures that all of the essential standards are met, no matter what kind of mattress it is, where it is being made and to whom it is being marketed. In order to do that, the company is constantly working to develop new products and mate- rials. Innovation is at the center of Precision Textiles’ ethos. And by keeping a close eye on both bedding industry trends and state regu- latory activity, the company is able to steer its research and development into the areas that will be most relevant and beneficial—even be- fore they become required by law. “Our mission is to bring that diverse portfolio of product to our customers with innovation, not just product that’s been around forever,” Tesser continues. “We’re conscious of what their customers need, what the end consumer needs, and we drive our product and our re- search in that direction.”

Because as the industry evolves, so too

must the FR solutions. Case in point: when the market began moving away from tradi- tional quilted innerspring mattresses and more

10 Sleep Retailer / Summer 2021

towards all-foam and roll-packed beds, Preci- sion Textiles was already leading the charge on delivering FR barriers that would better fit those needs—including both mattress sock and laminate options. Made from a stretch tex- tile, a sock fits snugly around the core of the mattress, while the laminate option is applied directly to the cover fabric or ticking. Both products give mattress makers more flexibility in their design, as the FR layer blends seam- lessly into the construction of the bed. “Most of what you’ve seen for years was a quilted product and then when things moved into all-foam mattresses, there was a differ- ent FR solution that was needed and that’s where we’ve been able to adapt to offer an FR sock,” says Gerry Welkley, national sales manager. “Now, the FR market has grown a lot in terms of differentiation of style and how it needs a different FR product to meet the federal regulations. As a product changes in terms of its design, then we’re there to sup- port that with our R&D group.” Precision Textiles isn’t just staying ahead of official regulations; it’s also evolving to address consumer concerns and interests. “It’s not just a distribution facility here,” Keith Martin, vice president, explains. “We are re- ally developing from the ground up unique,

come to a head this past year due to a class-ac- tion lawsuit against a popular online-only mat- tress brand—which saw more than 200 plain- tiffs from across all 50 states report being exposed to the fiberglass-based FR layer by unzipping and removing the cover of the mat- tress. (The company claims that the cover is not supposed to be removed, despite the inclusion of the zipper in the design.) While the lawsuit was not necessarily headline news, it did make the possible issues surrounding fiberglass FR tangible for numerous consumers. Understanding the potential risks that fi- berglass poses, Precision Textiles has been ahead of this issue for a while. The company first started working on developing a glass- free FR solution three years ago—long before the problem hit public consciousness. “There’s been a lot of talk in the industry

about eliminating glass in mattress FR socks because of the obvious issues,” Tesser ex- plains. “We’ve been developing that product for quite some time now, because we feel a responsibility to our customers to be ahead of that curve. And our customers are now telling us that they’re aware of those concerns and we’re starting to get some inquiries about a sock that is glass-free.” Today, Precision Textiles offers a variety of different glass-free FR solutions—including its

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