Louisville Bedding Debuts the Fire Defender
By Staff -- Home Textiles Today, 1/15/2007 12:00:00 AM
Louisville, Ky. —
Looking to get the jump on tough new U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations on mattress flammability, Louisville Bedding Company has begun previewing Fire Defender, a mattress pad and box spring cover set that exceeds the new standards.
Under the new mattress standard, all mattressing being made as of July 2007 must meet new burn test rules. At bottom, the reg requires that mattresses must be capable of burning for at least 30 minutes before they hit flashover, the point at which they explode into flame. Further, the heat release factor cannot exceed 200 kilowatts throughout that 30-minute period.
Fire Defender's heat release during 30-minute trials hit just 11 kilowatts, according to Don Hoffman, a mattress industry veteran who heads up Louisville's program.
"It not only meets the standard; it beats the standard," Hoffman said.
With the average price of a queen mattress/box set now at $800, Louisville conducted consumer research to determine how many consumers planned to replace what they own with the new more fire-resistant mattresses. Some 64% said they would. However, consumers whose mattresses were less than five years old were far less inclined to do so.
Fire Defender is intended as a low-cost alternative to a new mattress purchase. The top is a traditional cotton that will burn off, but it is filled with fibers that quash the accelerant nature of the fire.
"It's a special blend of fiber fill that is inherently [flame resistant]," said Scott Walters, national merchandising manager, bedding. "This is not a chemical treatment process."
The sidewalls are made of a flame-resistant fabric adapted into Louisville's Expand-a-Grip construction. The wrap-under for both pad and box cover runs about five inches deep. The set is washer and dryer safe.
The Fire Defender set will retail somewhere from $150 to $170 for a queen. Louisville Bedding will produce sets in the full range of sizes, including X-long twin and Cal King. The company hopes to have the product out at retail in May. The mattress season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Hoffman said.
Louisville Bedding plans to support the rollout with its first-ever consumer marketing program, which will include newspapers, magazines, cable television, and the Internet.
"We're going to spend dollars making sure that [buzz] happens," said Al Farias, vp, sales and marketing.
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