Carolina Performance Fabrics is a Mexican manufacturer of engineered textiles. The company is a part of the textile group, Grupo Carolina, that was founded in 1845. They manufacture a wide range of protective textiles that can be used in body armor applications.
Carolina Ballistic is the business unit of Carolina Performance, specializing in the development and manufacture of high-quality textile products for ballistic protection and tactical equipment applications with a strong presence in Body Armor, Vehicle Armor and Advanced Material Solutions.
BodyArmorNews.com had the opportunity to interview Mr. Ryan Reed, Vice President of Technology and International Business Development, and Mr. Jorge Cevallos, Vice President of Marketing and Growth Initiatives, to learn more about the company, their history and their products.
A 175-Year History
Carolina Performance is a family-owned business that is now in their fifth generation of ownership. Their factory was founded in Salvatierra, Guanajuato, Mexico, and has garnered the status of a National Heritage site, protected by the Mexican government.
The grounds date back to the 1600s, when the land was used as a sugarcane plantation, to the 1800s, when the textile mill was founded. Over the years, their business developed and evolved to manufacture ballistic fabrics and many other products. The Carolina Performance’ factory displays a beautiful juxtaposition of is impressive classical architecture and the most modern textile technology available worldwide.
Carolina Performance has expanded to include many different product divisions that supervise the manufacture of an array of technical fabrics. The focus of this article will be the ballistic division, which includes the manufacture of advanced protective materials.
From cotton to ballistic fabric
“Our product range is too diverse to touch on briefly,” Mr. Reed explained, “but at the end of the day, we’re a textile converter. We weave, we finish, we treat, we coat, we laminate. Within that spectrum, it’s incredibly broad.
“We do everything, including spinning our own cotton fibers for our work-wear line. Bags of cotton show up at the factory and they leave the other end of the factory as a treated, dyed fabric that’s ready to go into workwear. We handle a lot of organic and synthetic fibers. This includes cotton, nylon, polyester, aramids, polyethylene, etc.”
Baltec, Compotec and Endurance
Carolina Ballistic is a single point solution provider for a wide range of applications. Vertical integration across the armor manufacturing process allows for total process control and quality assurance and gives flexibility to our client’s and their ever-evolving requirements. Within the product division of Advanced Material Solutions, the fabrics are divided into three product lines: Baltec, Compotec and Endurance fabrics.
The Baltec line finds its primary role in the manufacture of soft armor, anti-fragment and anti-trauma garments. It is typically manufactured with Dupont™ Kevlar® or Honeywell Spectra, with an emphasis on light weight and flexibility. These qualities ensure that this fabric is ideal for soft armor that protects the wearer without hindering their performance.
With Baltec covering soft armor needs, Carolina Ballistics’s Compotec line focuses more on hard armor solutions. These products are also manufactured with Dupont™ Kevlar® and Honeywell Spectra. They find their use in applications such as hard armor, vehicle armor and handheld shields, also prioritizing light weight streamlined performance.
Carolina Ballistic’s Endurance fabrics, unlike the other two product lines, are manufactured with CORDURA® fiber. The company is an official mill partner of CORDURA® and creates these fabrics for usage in tactical garments, such as ballistic carrier systems, tactical uniforms and various military and law enforcement duty gear.
Like many other companies today, Carolina Performance recognizes the threat posed by global warming and climate change. Accordingly, they have taken steps to ensure that their carbon footprint is lowered, and their means of production is sustainable.
“The grounds, as I explained, date back to the 16th century,” Mr. Reed said, “the original aquifers that were built hundreds of years ago are still there. Right next to these is our brand-new solar farm. We use the solar energy generated to heat a lot of our industrial water.
“Whether it’s the water-treatment facility or the solar heating, we’re very involved, both at the industrial and the local level, because we want the community around us to benefit as well. As a responsible company in the 21st century, we’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint and making our processes as clean as they can be.”
SHOT Show 2023
Carolina Performance will showcase their latest products and developments during SHOT Show 2023at the Supplier Showcase. The Supplier Showcase takes place on Monday, the 16th, and Tuesday, the 17th of January.
The SHOT Week Supplier Showcase is a platform for suppliers to display their products. This ranges from shooting and hunting supplies to outdoor material supplies, making it a key event for body armor and ballistic fabric manufacturers.
Make sure to visit booth number 52407 to view the latest products and innovations of Carolina Performance.