Class A Surfaces
Written by Steve Melito on December 18, 2017 in Fabric Dunnage Materials

Class A surfaces include chrome grills and faux wood panels. To prevent scratching, parts bags use a soft liner material. Brush tricot fabric is a good choice, but this reusable packaging material is also “dirt magnet”. For packaging engineers, effective material selection is a key part of product design. To make an informed decision, engineers need to know the basics of brushed tricot fabric and Class A surfaces.

Evaluating Reusable Packaging Materials

Typically, brushed tricot fabrics are made of synthetic fibers such as nylon or polyester. Natural fibers such as cotton can be used, but they’re usually blended with synthetic fibers that impart specific properties. For sewn fabric dunnage, tricot or napped fabrics can be laminated to vinyl for reinforcement. Laminated fabrics can provide greater tensile strength than plain fabric alone, but they tend to act as separate materials and can de-laminate. Coated fabrics made of tricot materials are available.

Brushed tricot fabrics are soft and cost-effective, but these reusable packaging materials may also require frequent cleaning. Ultimately, the same finishing process that imparts their softer feel also makes them a “dirt magnet”. During the brushing process, hair-like fibers are pulled so that they stick out. In turn, these hairs tend to pick up more dirt. Brushed tricot fabrics are permeable and support cleaning, but packaging designers should include cleaning costs in their total cost of ownership (TCO) calculations.

Brushed Tricot Fabric and Class A Surfaces

Tricot fabrics that are brushed are easy-to-produce and relatively inexpensive. These reusable packaging materials also offer good elasticity and resist creasing. When tricot fabric is brushed, the material acquires a distinctive look and feel. The front of the fabric has vertical ribs, but the back has horizontal ribs. This novel appearance is a function of how the manufacturing processes stretches long parallel threads and then loops the adjacent threads around these parallel threads.

Brushing is a finishing process that uses brushes or other abrading devices to raise the fibers in fabrics like tricot. Raising a nap produces a fuzzy or downy surface, which is why brushed fabrics have a softer feel. This novelty texture is a good choice for Class A surfaces, a term that’s used in automotive design to describe high-quality surfaces that fit together. If parts with Class A surfaces become scratched, assemblers may reject them because even shallow grooves can affect part fit and function.

How to Protect Class A Surfaces

Do you have questions about brushed tricot materials for reusable packaging? Are you looking for a Made in the USA dunnage from a company that provides design assistance, help with material selection, and expert sewing capabilities? Hold-True offers sewn solutions that add value to the supply chain in industries like automotive, heavy truck, power sports, and aerospace. To learn how we can help you, contact us at our facility in Mansfield, Ohio (USA).

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