Insulation works by trapping heat. This has traditionally been done using natural materials like wool, feathers or mineral fibres, or basic manmade fibres like nylon or polyester. However, each of these materials involved some form of compromise, whether it was weight, water-resistance or compression of the material, leading to reduced efficiency.
Modern technology, however, makes custom insulation design possible so that the insulation material can be tailored to the specific task that it is intended to perform. This is achieved by mixing different types of fibre in order to meet the specifications of the product. Manufacturers no longer have to rely on just a single type of fibre
Manufacturers are increasingly catering for the demands of outdoor life. This could be for recreational use, such as hiking or camping, with goods like jackets and sleeping bags. It also encompasses protective clothing such as jackets, hats and gloves for people who spend a lot of time working outdoors.
In the past, the problem with supplying these markets has been achieving a satisfactory balance between having something that is warm but also breathable. Thanks to custom insulation design, it is now possible to have both in addition to other qualities like waterproofing, strength and a soft feel.
You might wonder how it’s possible to achieve this. It all comes down to the type of fibres used in the manufacturing process. Historically, the choice manufacturers have had to make has normally been between the strength of solid fibre set against the insulating property of hollow fibre. Custom manufacture now allows a mix of both kinds of fibre to be used to strike a balance of properties, but it can go further than that. The latest custom insulation techniques allow for individual fibres to be made in a specific shape in order to enhance particular properties, such as the ability to draw away or “wick” moisture.
This technique of combining fibres means that there are applications for custom insulation that extend beyond the outdoor market. It can be used for manufacturing furnishings like curtains in order to reduce heat loss through windows, for example, or to make quilts that offer good heat retention without the penalty of heavy weight.
Custom insulated fabrics can be specified in different weights and textures. This means that products can be made to meet very specific requirements, whether what’s needed is optimum strength, light weight or a luxury feel. Employing custom fibre means that manufacturers no longer have to compromise on insulating performance in order to get the other qualities they desire, such as soft feel or resistance to crushing. Moreover, the latest production methods mean that all this can be achieved without driving up the cost of the product and making it uncompetitive.