FX11, Aerodyne’s new low pack volume fabric, is the product of an extensive collaboration between Aerodyne Research and Gelvenor Textiles. Gelvenor is one of the most technically advanced textile mills in the world, and is conveniently located near Aerodyne’s manufacturing and engineering operations in South Africa.
When we began to work with the development of the fabric, we set some aggressive goals. The fabric had to be as strong as our current fabric and comparable in every measurable parameter of strength. This includes tear strength, both static and dynamic, as well as puncture and abrasion resistance. It also had to deliver consistent porosity of 0 to 3 CFM.
We then looked at some non traditional measures, such as the drape of the fabric and how flat it could fold. What was the “hand” of the fabric, how easily could a rigger inspect, flake and ultimately pack it?
Our research and development process spanned over 15 months, and included a fair number of tries that did not make the cut. Like some other manufacturers, we looked at one point toward micro fiber options, but we were unhappy with some of the performance characteristics of the thinner fibers. These included excessive stretch at times, and a tendency to snag easily. We also saw some slippage at high stress areas, causing the fabric to pucker.
In the end, we settled on a specially woven and finished fabric. It is produced from 33f10 yarn. It is finished not only to a thinner fabric profile, but also one that folds flatter and easier than any we’ve seen. It is also more resistant to snags than the micro fiber options we tested.
As we put it through the paces of testing we found its performance nearly identical to traditional F111, it just packs flatter, easier, and smaller.
We’ve recently introduced FX11 in our new Smart LPV canopy, but you’ll see it turning up in a variety of other products in the coming months and years.