Mistral Introduce Fusion Layer Technology (FLT) utilising Liquid Polyester Infusion technology (LPI), Cross-Woven Polyfibre (CWP) and Quad-Rail Layering (QRL) Across their 2017 Inflatable SUP Range in a Dramatic Response to Ever Changing User Demands and the Need to Keep Pace with New Technologies.
The development and betterment of drop-stitch fabric, has never been under so much pressure to evolve, since its introduction in the early 1950s, when Goodyear and the US Government, began experimenting with inflatable planes. Today with the advent of the inflatable stand up paddle board market, the race is on to produce an ever better product.
In the early stages of fabrication, we use a highly sophisticated, fabric weaving machine, to weave polyester fibres to the upper and lower layers of the inner-core of the sleeving fabric. We use only the finest quality, High Density Drop Stitch Polyester Threads and core materials and for our 2017 range of inflatables, we have opted to use Cross-Woven Polyfibre (CWP) exclusively, ensuring the best possible stability and strength, between upper and lower fabric layers, to which the drop stitch is woven.
The criss-crossed woven direction of internal polyester threads, forms the strongest possible, latitudinal and longitudinal stability, in the same way as cross-beams act on a bridge or building. This you can see on the outer skin of our boards, each dimple, being a connecting point, for a cluster of fibres, connecting to the internal membrane wall. As a result we have increased our recommended inflation poundage from a Maximum of 15psi, to a recommended 18psi and Maximum of 20psi. The resulting board is stiffer and higher performing.
Drop-stitch fabric consists of a core material with an outer fabric-laminate on both surfaces. The inner core, consists of two pieces of fabric, connected (sandwiched) by a series of ‘stitches’. An excess amount of thread is used so as upon inflation, the distance separating the fabrics is equal to the the length of the excess thread. In actuality, drop-stitch is not ‘woven’ but stitched.
Older generation inflatable boards, used not one layer, but as many as 5 separate layers. This included the base cloth layer (to which the drop-stitch was woven) followed by 3 separate PVC sheet laminates and a final EVA non-slip pad. This was moderated to 2 and 3 layers in recent years. Advancement now have permitted the use of only the base cloth layer, sealed using Liquid Polyester Infusion Technology to create our Fusion Layer Technology (FLT). This has lead to an average 11kg board, loosing up to 3kg in weight over the total build on account of the use of less layers. Good for the environment and greater levels of performance on a lighter, less-flexible board.
Following the weaving process, the outer surface layer of the fabric, is made water and air tight, through the application of a Liquid Reinforced Polyester, which cures to form a tough outer boundary, thereby creating what we call our Fusion Layer Technology (FLT). This eliminates the need to cut and hand-lay and adhere PVC fabric to the outer core fabric. This typical method, results in a heavier end product, which due to the hands-on application, results in greater chance for irregularities and human error.