When your career to date has consisted of playing Australian Rules Football, undertaking a plumbing apprenticeship, and building a successful fire and storm damage restoration business? Well I guess you would go to night school to study Formulation Chemistry in order to spend three years developing a product and process to waterproof matresses! Well, that is what Bedguard’s founder Peter Carey did.
A chance discussion on problems relating to bed bugs led Peter to take up the challenge of finding a way of providing a resilient, water resistant material that could be used where bed wetting and odour were a regular occurrence for families or organisations such as the Salvation Army, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, aged care facilities and State provided community houses and women’s refuges.
R&D on Bedguard commenced in 2009 on a small scale in Peter’s home until he was able to find an inert polymer that formed a long lasting and unbreakable bond with mattress materials. The polymer then had be tested and approved by the CSIRO to ensure there was no chance of any dangerous off-gases or absorption by contact before being released for its intended purpose. The CSIRO not only gave Peter the all-clear on human health issues, but also tested and rated BedGuard waterproof mattresses as having "Excellent resistance to water penetration of surface".
But developing a suitable coating was only a starting point. He then had to upscale the equipment to apply the polymer to commercial volumes of mattress materials. So Peter built his own oven and trialed different temperatures, travel speeds, air flow rates and rates and patterns of polymer application before he was finally able to duplicate the results he had achieved at home.
What started in 2012 as a treatment for existing mattresses on site has now grown into the supply of mattresses that pioneer the use of new materials and construction.
The damask fabric is loomed in Victoria and is dense, extremely durable and long-lasting. After weaving, an anti-dust mite, anti-bacterial treatment is applied, followed by heat bonding of a flame retardant.
The fabric is then stitched and quilted in a tight pattern to a foam layer which is double the industry standard and, importantly, with a small needle setting to avoid creation of cavities which could become future points of failure.
The water resistant Bedguard chemical is then applied in Peter’s purpose built oven to ensure bonding and encapsulation, including the needle entry points, making the mattresses impenetrable to liquids, solids and odours.
Finally, springs are inserted along with a heavy duty edge wire and edge clips to resist collapse of the boarder construction inside the mattress.
The finished product range includes all sizes from cots to king beds and is a 100% Australian made BedGuard mattress which is anti-dust mite, anti-bacterial, bed bug resistant, flame retardant, odour, liquid and stain repellant.
The product has had zero liquid penetration failures since it was first launched in 2012 and production capacity has grown to 200 beds per month. Not bad for a bloke looking for a new career.