Q&A with Indi-Clean; understanding flame retardant fabrics

Yachting Pages recently spoke to Graham from Indi-Clean about providing flame retardant applications for interior fabrics to the superyacht industry.

What is Indi-Clean?

We opened for business in 2001 as a management company for privately-owned vessels based in North East Mallorca.  In 2005 we started to clean carpets on vessels in our management, because we weren't happy with the service available and by 2006 we started Indi-Clean and relocated the business to Palma.

We turned down what would have been our first job on an 80m superyacht in 2005 - because we didn't have the confidence or experience to do the job!  Probably a wise decision.

Indi-Clean is now a specialist fabric & textile cleaning company. Initially we worked with smaller vessels (15-25m), to slowly build on experience and trust. After a few years, the bigger boats and their management companies’ heard about us and we got invited to quote for superyachts.

In 2010 we joined with Flame Screen UK to offer MCA approved IMO standards flame retardant treatments for interior furnishings.  We cover the Balearics and Barcelona. Flame Screen are global - very busy boys!

Please explain Flame Screen UK in a little more detail?

Flame retardant treatment (FR) for fabrics is nothing new, it's been in use for years on board aircraft etc… But certainly these last few years the service of flame retardant application for interior fabrics has been required much more often on board vessels, demanded by the surveyors from all flag states. 

In the past fabrics in need of flame proofing tended to be industrial quality, think aircraft & train seats, these days we need to be able to treat the most delicate fabrics and see no change of appearance.  Almost any fabric that absorbs liquid can be treated. The type & weight of the fabric dictates the best application method and chemical mix.  The FR chemical is sprayed onto the fabric with an electric spray gun.

As the science behind the FR chemical has got better, the chemical has also got safer - safer for us during application, safer for guest and crew to live with, safer in its manufacture and safer in its disposal. As a green company, Indi-Clean probably would not have got involved with the FR chemical of old.

We work closely with Flame Screen UK because after our own investigation, their FR works best for us. It passes all the relevant IMO tests, is MCA compliant and has a very extensive Material Safety Data Sheet.  However, most important to us, is the many toxicology test reports that their product passes - it's safe to use. 

How is the product different to any others currently on the market?

It would be wrong to say all FR's are equal because they're not! 

Indi Clean researched this field of work for over twelve months before choosing to partner with Flame Screen UK.  As a company trying to be as green as possible, we have to be 100% sure that our service and product not only meets the necessary specifications, but is absolutely safe to live with, and we've got to be able to prove this by showing all the relevant test reports. 

A lot of our work comes from management companies who represent the superyachts and they want to see everything, including toxicology tests, ingestion, inhalation, eyes, skin etc… The list goes on.  I'm happy to say - we've got it covered and can prove it!

You need to do your research, ask a few questions and ask to see test reports before choosing an FR company. 

How did the partnership with Flame Screen UK come about?

Boats started asking if we could flame proof fabrics after we'd cleaned them, for a year we had to say no.  We investigated how to develop our own FR chemical, but were years behind our competitors and the cost of development was huge and ongoing.  So we started to investigate the possibility of joining an established FR company as a Licensed Applicator using their product.  Friends who captain yachts offered advice from their own experiences and also passed good contacts and we spoke with the MCA to seek their advice. 

We needed a very proactive specialist FR Co that could provide us with a chemical of the highest spec that has all the necessary IMO test passes, is MCA MGN 453(M) accredited, be able to produce extensive Material Safety Data documents to prove its safety and we needed 24/7 access to the best advice on all things FR related, we found only one company that could meet all these requirements - Flame Screen UK. 

So we met with them at the London Boat Show and again at the Monaco Yacht Show to discuss in detail the FR chemical and certification process and were very happy to become their Balearic Licensed Applicator. They travel to Mallorca each year to audit us, to check on our systems of operation, offer advice and brief us on new developments within the industry. 

Has this grown your client base considerably? 

Our client base for FR application has grown incredibly over the years with both new and repeat business. Now we have a history of good service with captains and management companies we seem to be on a roll! 

We can fly with the FR products so are not limited only to vessels moored in the Balearics.

For more information about cleaning services click here, for details about fire and safety equipment click here.

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