Restonic Selects GE's ULTEM* FR Resin For New Mattress To Meet Tough Open Flame Standards While Enhancing Comfort, Resilience
Furniture World Magazine
Restonic Mattress Corporation has selected flame-retardant ULTEM* polyetherimide (PEI) resin from GE Advanced Materials to develop the bedding industry's first UL® certified mattress that is compliant with California's Technical Bulletin 603 (TB 603). GE provides its PEI material in resin form, which is then converted into a fiber and then made by Western Nonwovens, Inc. into a flame-retardant barrier that meets the new standard. Because the fiber is based on GE's ULTEM resin, the new barrier is inherently flame resistant, eliminating the use of conventional halogenated additives that generate toxic smoke when burned. The new barrier also helps deliver “high-loft” comfort and resilience and will be featured on the mattresses of Restonic's new Ergo Sleep® high-performance foam sleep system that will be launched in February, 2005.
The TB 603 fire-safety standard of the California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation (BHFTI) is most stringent standard for mattress flammability in the country, and go into effect in Calif. this month. It requires that all new mattresses, box springs, and futons sold to consumers in Calif. provide protection against an open flame that could cause bedding to burn intensely. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is also developing a new national open flame standard for mattress flammability and fire-resistant upholstered furniture
The new Restonic Ergo Sleep mattress meets the requirements of the TB 603 open-fame test for low heat-release rate and total heat release. It has received UL certification under a program for mattress manufacturers seeking compliance with TB 603. Products certified by UL to comply with the TB 603 standard are marked with UL's classified label.
According to the CPSC: “From 1995 through 1999, mattresses and bedding were the first items to ignite in an estimated 19,400 residential fires each year. These fires resulted in an estimated 440 deaths, 2,230 injuries, and $273.9 million property loss annually.” The large amount of polyurethane (PU) foam in a conventional mattress is highly flammable when exposed to an open flame. In UL's TB 603 open-flame test, this foam rapidly ignites, generating large amounts of smoke and high levels of heat and flame that can quickly “flashover” causing the room to burst into flames in a matter of minutes. The initial thick smoke before flashover can disable victims and tragically prevent their escape.
The ULTEM resin-based barrier is sandwiched between the Ergo Sleep mattress' foam core (both visco-elastic and latex versions are available) and the outer fabric layer, which creates a fire barrier that separates the foam from the fire and helps to inhibit flame spread. Unlike traditional bedding materials, mattresses using the ULTEM resin-based barrier typically exhibit low heat release and little smoke generation after 30 minutes, affording consumers sufficient time to detect the fire and evacuate.
“We're proud to be the first national bedding producer to have received certification from UL that our new Ergo Sleep line meets California's stringent new open-flame mattress flammability standard,” said Restonic President and Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Toman. “Our goal was to make a safer product while at the same time delivering the highest quality for which Restonic is known. That's why we selected a barrier based on GE's ULTEM resin. Not only does the barrier help enhance the fire safety of our new mattresses, but it also provides excellent lofting and greater resiliency, which has enabled us to create a new product with much more comfort than competitive TB 603-compliant mattresses,” Toman said.
John Carrington, general manager, Global Marketing for GE Advanced Materials, agrees. “Our work with Restonic helped this important GE customer develop a new mattress line that provides enhanced flame retardancy with a high degree of comfort that has been largely missing in traditional mattresses. The enhanced peace of mind and increased comfort means a better night's sleep for the consumer.”
Besides its use on Restonic's Ergo Sleep mattresses, ULTEM resin is targeted at other household applications including upholstered furniture and an array of textile-based home furnishings. The GE resin is also widely used in firefighter helmets; lightweight components for aircraft, train, and marine interiors; high-end electronics components; and other demanding applications where safety, high performance, and exceptional durability are required.
Restonic Mattress Corporation, founded in 1938 and headquatered in Rosemont, Ill., is a leading manufacturer of mattresses that are sold through retailers nationwide. Restonic's commercial unit supplies bedding products to hotels and motels, universities, and the recreational vehicle industry. Restonic has over 30 manufacturing facilities worldwide. For more information visit the company's website at www.restonic.com.
About GE Advanced Materials
GE Advanced Materials (www.geadvancedmaterials.com) is a world leader in providing materials solutions through engineering thermoplastics, silicon-based products and technology platforms, and fused quartz and ceramics. Among its businesses are:
ULTEM is a trademark of General Electric Company. UL is a registered trademark of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. Ergo Sleep is a registered trademark of Restonic Corporation.