From heavy-duty tarps, to gym mats and pool covers, vinyl coated polyester (VCP) is a versatile industrial
fabric that can be used in a variety of applications.
VCP is a strong, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) coated fabric made up of a polyester base (known as scrim), covered with a PVC coating. The scrim supports the PVC and provides excellent tensile and tear strength for a variety of industrial applications.
What is Vinyl Coated Polyester?
VCP’s strength is determined by the base fabric, including the denier and fabric construction.
The PVC coating can be formulated to include color, water resistance, fire retardant (FR), mildew resistance, soft or firm hand, cold crack, and more – all depending on the application need.
PVC has natural UV and anti-microbial resistance, but extra additives can be included in the formula for superior UV and/or anti-microbial resistance if needed. TVF’s stock VCP has a UMDL configuration – this stands for UV and anti-microbial resistance along with a dull (matte) finish.
Plasticizers are added to the PVC solution to make it softer and more flexible. PVC is typically hard and brittle without plasticizers. Depending on the end-use, adding more plasticizer can create a very soft and supple hand for products such as mattress covers.
Finishes and Treatments
Blockout – Fabric can also be manufactured with levels of light transmission that range from very transparent to completely opaque. You can easily identify a blockout fabric by holding your cell phone light up against the vinyl and see if any light peeks through.
Antimicrobial – PVC has natural antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of micro-organisms. Depending on required specifications, additional antimicrobial additives can be included in the formula to further deter the growth of microbes and bacteria that can lead to odor and discoloration of the vinyl.
UV – PVC has natural UV resistance, which helps with both colorfastness and UV degradation.
However, depending on customer requirements, additional UV light protection can be added
to the PVC formula to protect the vinyl from premature aging and discoloration.
Cold crack – Plasticizers and other additives assure that the vinyl does not crack under very cold conditions. TVF has vinyl up to -40F cold crack.
Fire retardant (FR) – NFPA 701-1 is a common FR finish for VCP. Depending on the weight and end-use, NFPA 701-2 may be requested for heavier fabric.
CPSIA – Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was established in 2008 to control the amount of lead and phthalates in materials that go into making children’s products. Lead must be below 100 ppm and phthalates must be less than 0.1 percent.
Vinyl Coated Polyester Testing
There are a few standard tests performed on VCP, depending on end-use. It is important to remember that sometimes increasing performance one way may affect results another way.
For example, it’s possible that changing the PVC formula to increase adhesion might lower the tensile or tear strength, which is based on the yarn denier and construction. Protecting the integrity of the fibers will require a lower heat setting, which may affect the adhesion of the PVC.
The most common tests are:
Tongue tear (ASTM D2261)
Tensile strength (ASTM D5034)
Adhesion (ASTM D751)
Abrasion (ASTM D3884)
Fire Retardant (NFPA 701.1)
End Use Applications for Vinyl Coated Polyester
8 oz.: fumigation tarps, inflatables
10 oz.: tarps, tarp sidewalls, bellows, athletic field covers
14 oz.: tarps, tarp sidewalls, athletic field covers
18 oz.: truck tarps, gym mats/pads, dog pads, RV skirting, boat lift canopies, inflatables,
athletic equipment, pool covers
22 oz.: truck tarps, oil booms, gym floor covers
35 oz./ 38 oz./40 oz.: truck tarps, dock seals, pet beds
Vinyl coated polyester (VCP) is a PVC-coated polyester fabric with many industrial applications. VCP has excellent tensile and tear strength and can withstand the elements, particularly with the additions of UV, antimicrobial, cold crack, and fire retardancy. TVF supplies a variety of stock weights (from 8 oz. for inflatables to 40 oz. for dock seals) and can do custom projects as well.