Concordia Textiles is a Belgium based textile manufacturer that supplies ballistic outer-shell fabrics to many armies across Europe. Founded in 1925, Concordia is specialized in creating synthetic fabrics. The company is a family-owned business, with the third generation currently in place.
Concordia focuses on dyeing, coating, printing, laminating and finishing fabrics for industrial applications, PPE and military applications. BodyArmorNews.com interviewed Mr. Dirk de Locht, who is the Business Unit Manager for workwear at Concordia Textiles.
High-tech fabrics for body armor
“The mission of the company,” Mr. de Locht said, “is to supply customers with high-tech fabrics based on synthetic solutions on a global scale. We do not use cotton or polycottons, we use pure polyamides, polyamide 66 and polyesters.”
Concordia’s biggest clients are mainly the end-users of their products. The company supplies a range of products including sleeping bags, backpacks, ballistic outer-shell fabrics, thermal jackets and rainwear garments to national armies. This includes the armies of Poland, Norway, Switzerland, France, Italy, Finland, Hungary and Spain.
Some of their most popular products include the heavy polyamide 66 fabrics which they print infrared according to the specific requirements of countries. The lightweight polyamide 66 is also very popular, as Concordia uses it mainly for thermal jackets and sleeping bags.
Fully integrated production
“What makes our products different from those of other companies,” Mr. de Locht explained, “is the fact that we make them in Europe. More and more armies want this from a manufacturer. This gives us a huge advantage compared to the products that are made outside of Europe.
“We are one of the last, if not the only, fully integrated production companies. We can do everything under one roof from weaving to dyeing to coating, printing and laminating. Many of our competitors, on the other hand, only do a part of the production. They have to outsource other products or other parts of the production process.”
Environmentally friendly solutions
Concordia is also one among the many companies who are devising environmental-friendly solutions to help combat climate change, while still complying to the stringent demands of their customers.
“We’re working hard on environmentally friendly solutions,” Mr. de Locht explained. “We are trying to work with water-based solutions as well as recycled yarns. We have finishes which do not contain full carbons anymore. However, this means that the customer needs to accept that the fabric is only water-repellent and no longer oil-repellent.”
Going carbon neutral
Concordia Textiles already have around 50,000 square meters of solar panels on their factory. This covers half of the area of the roofs they have. Despite these efforts, the panels only generate about seven per cent of the required energy.
“Going one-hundred per cent carbon neutral will most-likely never be possible, but we aim to go as environmentally friendly as possible,” Mr. de Locht said. “In Belgium, the laws on environment are already very strict, and of course, we comply to the regulations here in Europe. These regulations are becoming stricter every year. As a result, we are also taking equal steps in the direction of becoming carbon neutral.”
Concordia also has a project in the R & D phase which is focused on recycling. “The idea is to recycle the post-industrial waste and not the end-of-life waste,” Mr. de Locht said, “The latter is not possible at the moment because it’s too complex to disassemble the products.”