Argar is one of the main European manufacturers of certified knitted fabrics that are earmarked for the production of personal protective clothing (PPE). The company’s fabrics feature characteristics such as fireproof, antistatic, high-visibility and protection from the electric arc, and because of the increase in demand for PPE recently, the business has been allowed to remain open.
On top of providing its usual PPE, and thanks to the coronavirus, Argar has recently released a new collection that is both antiviral and antibacterial.
The new line is called Avirtex and it offers a range of knitted fabrics characterised by combining two essential pieces of technology: a water-repellent treatment and HeiQ’s Viroblock – a unique solution of vesicle and silver technologies designed to inhibit the growth and persistence of bacteria and viruses.
“We started working with HeiQ around 14 years ago,” says Balestrini.
“When everything started back in February , we asked ourselves if we could help and so we developed the line with HeiQ. We started helping by making face masks as these were the first things that our customers demanded, but now we have the fabrics that can be used for other applications.”
The combination of the two finishes guarantees safer protection compared to standard fabrics for the same purpose. The water-repellent treatment prevents the passage of droplets through the fabric and HeiQ’s solution can then kill the microbes ensuring effective protection against their transmission and preventing contamination.
“Water repellency is something very easy to achieve and we have been using this technology for years,” he explains. “This is the first thing that everyone applies to a fabric because it acts as a barrier for droplets, but this is not enough for the virus – you need Viroblock to kill it, too.”
The company has dubbed the Avirtex line ‘the safest fabrics ever’ as they are capable of killing 99% of viruses between two to five minutes. Additionally, the fabrics can reduce the risk and speed of contamination and retransmission of pathogens from tissues, prevent the passage of droplets, and prevent the tissues from becoming host surfaces for the spread of viruses and bacteria because they slow down their growth and persistence.
What’s more, the collection is made with Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Class II fabrics and the finishes comply with the current REACH legislation. The Avirtex line also exhibits ‘excellent’ antiviral and antimicrobial activity even after several washes, as demonstrated by the antiviral activity analysis ISO 18184 test.
“We always work with certifications, whether it be for testing an electrostatic fabric or something else,” says Balestrini. “To have such a certification for a product to be antiviral, you have to test in the lab as it is more complicated.
“Our fabrics are certified to 30 washes at 60°C. And, at the moment, I have seen no one else in the world with this certification and a positive result.”