Tana-Tex has Firm Hold on Healthcare Institutions

September 5, 1999

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Chicago, (USA) -- 'Point of View 100/104', the one piece integral fabric for cubicle curtains has been a market leader for many years. The patented fabric is the main focus of Tana-Tex, Inc., a small but successful manufacturer and jobber of healthcare furnishings for the past eighteen years.
The integral mesh fabric was the brainchild of Jack Weil, who owns both INDECOR and Tana-Tex. With a background in textiles and home furnishings, Weil started doing commercial work, and discovered that he could make a product more interesting than anything that had been done before; it would be ideal for cubicle curtains where the top half would provide ventilation, and the bottom, privacy. It took three years to win the patent. Today, with over 160 sku's in solids, prints, woven jacquards, yarn-dyed and piece-dyed fabrics, Tana-Tex has a firm hold in healthcare institutions nationwide.
"We operate as a mill, purchase all our raw material, take control of our product from the very beginning and contract out to large mills who produce it for us. We do all our own designing, choose our patterns, and control the quality," said Anat Unruh, President of Tana-Tex. "Most converters don't own their own raw material and that's what makes us different from other jobbers. We also produce our own line and sell it to other companies." There are no restrictions to its open line. Manufacturing, warehousing and converting is done in the Carolinas.
In the past, the company did a lot of work for companies like Schumacher, Arc Com and Design Tex. Today, Tana-Tex has become more of a mill jobber, making a complete product from raw material to finished goods. It also converts an exclusive line of product for Cincinnati-based Fantagraph, the largest distributor of health-care and hospitality textiles in the U.S. Tana-Tex also sells its products in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand -- countries that build hospitals to American standards. It is the parent company of INDECOR, a manufacturer and converter of hard window treatments, draperies, shower curtains and home furnishings for the North American market.
"We don't sell directly to end users. Our reps work with specifiers, architects, furniture dealers, and those who sell to the healthcare industry. We make a big effort to call on designers and get our products specified," said Jane Helfant, vice president.
"We care a lot about what happens inside a hospital", added Unruh. "We like to not only comply with design specifications, but also to create a home-like feel. Everybody is looking for a more residential d'cor, to get away from the common mesh look. We like to be able to provide color and design all the way up."
The fabric is knitted on flatbed Trico machines in inherently flame retardant 100 percent Trevira yarn and provides lifelong code compliance. Washable at 160 degrees F, it does not shrink, fade or pill. For cubicle curtains, the one piece integral fabric including mesh provides continuity of color and design. Knit 100-104 inches wide, it requires no fabric repeat or seaming which translates to considerable cost savings. Generally, there are 20-22 inches of mesh on cubicle curtains, with a 4 inch fabric header which triple folds to reinforce grommets, and ensure strong construction. Cubicle Fabric up to 94/95 inches in length is fabricated railroaded (seamless construction). The 76 inch fabric body without mesh is used for drapery, bedspreads, shower curtains and valances. Tana-Tex's fabric is heavier than most hospital fabrics, withstanding over 6000 double rubs for bedspreads. It is also more opaque and so lends itself to printing on both sides of the fabric. The fabric is also available yarn-dyed, piece-dyed or with embroidery. This year the company has come up with 65 new sku's and a colorful line of pediatric prints.
But it has not been that easy. When Tana-Tex first started, transfer prints were not available for wide widths in the U.S. and had to be imported from England. The product is also very difficult to make and finish as it entails working with two different kinds of fabric that struggle against each other. However, because of the special nature of its construction, and because it is hung in the direction of its strength, it retains its 'memory' and does not sag. Previously, the company had a wide range of mesh patterns, but due to the strict codes for mesh holes to conform to sprinkler systems, the mesh pattern has been standardized to meet the code.
Tana-Tex's exclusive wide width fabric and its special weight make it suitable for unique applications and niche markets where narrow width goods don't fit the bill. With the capability of producing knit fabric with FR Avora yarn in 160 inch idth, the company is venturing into the acoustical market where its products can be used as acoustical baffles stretched overhead in frames in stadiums, theaters and restaurants. Tana-Tex hopes to develop and increase the size of its collection and become more involved in stocking and selling finished product.
"It's a wonderful product, and it's so much fun to produce," said Unruh. F&FI


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