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Locally-made fabrics save lives

TenCate Protective Fabrics not only provides a safety net for almost 200 families employed in Pike County, they also protect military and emergency personnel in dangerous situations with the fabrics they weave every day. The plant on Highway 19 operates 24 hours a day, producing highly engineered technical fabrics used to protect military and emergency personnel nationwide and across the globe. Every soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan wears clothing made of protective fabrics like those produced at the TenCate weaving plant in Zebulon. Its fabrics also protect U.S. workers who fight fire or work with deadly chemicals or high voltage electricity. ’We’re proud to manufacture fabrics for the military and help protect soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq,’ said plant engineer Bruce Glover who has worked at the weaving plant since the building was bought by TenCate from Southern Mills in 2002. ‘I’m proud to work for this company because of the protection our fabrics offer for firemen, race car drivers, oil workers and electrical workers.’ In all, 115 employees work at the Highway 19 weaving plant and around 90 others work at the dyeing plant in Molena. Unlike old mills formerly in the area, no cotton is used to produce the flame-resistant fabrics. The yarn used is made at the Union City Plant from combinations of Kevlar, PBI, Rayon and Nomex materials. The highly engineered fibers can cost as much as $87 per pound and can save a soldier or worker’s life by preventing them from catching fire in extreme situations.

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