Fungi-fighting yoga mats and heat-seeking swampstools

January 1, 1970

The classic yoga warrior pose combines grace and strength, and a new product developed by Sommers Plastics showcases those same attributes. Sommers Plastic Products Company Inc., Clifton, N.J., manufactures specialty polyurethanes, lenticulars, holographics, fake furs and faux leathers; its newest launch is a patent-pending antimicrobial EVA foam used in yoga mats. Equifit SpaCare, New York, …

Experts give advice on surviving tough economy

From “Start and Run Your Own Business,” by Alan Le Marinel reprinted on www.howto.co.uk. Everyone from pop psychologists to business gurus is flooding the Web and landing their smiling faces on the display tables right inside the door of your favorite big box bookstore. Everybody wants to help you make it through this tough economy, …

Takai develops products that make a difference

By Sigrid Tornquist Hivix Co. Ltd. manufactures a broad array of cold inflatables for the sports and leisure, medical and healthcare, and industrial markets. But in an ever-changing marketplace, companies need to be constantly pursuing new products, new applications and new processes. “We always keep in mind when contracting with a business: How will this …

Specialty Fabrics Review interviews J.C. Egnew, founder and owner of Outdoor Venture Corp.

Interview by Sigrid Tornquist What is your most important lesson learned? Good will is the best capital business can have. You can be out of money, but if you have the good will of your supply base, your customers and your bankers, there’s always an opportunity to work your way out. What is your industry …

Sustainability symposium to be held in July

By Marie O’Mahony The Rip Curl Project will be discussed at “Fashioning Now: Changing the Way We Make and Use Clothes,” a sustainability symposium for designers, students and the fashion industry, Tuesday July 26, 2009, at the University of Technology (UTS), Sydney, Australia. Speakers include Marie O’Mahony (UTS), Dr Kate Fletcher, Reader in Sustainable Fashion, …

Museum and fine art customers seek sustainable fabrics

By Holly O’Dell As with any textile application these days, end users in the museum and fine art markets continue to have an insatiable appetite for sustainable fabrics. Andrew Oransky, director of product management for Roland DGA says, “fabric printing in general has been driven by users’ desire for greener products than PVC. Over time, …

Read your Material Safety Data Sheets

By Vince Cahill Exposure to almost any material can be dangerous—usually as the result of improper use or storage. An MSDS provides valuable facts about a material that can pose dangers to workers. The first sections contain information required by OSHA. This includes: Product name and manufacturer information, including an emergency telephone number Information about …

Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Pete McKernan, president and CEO of Herculite Products Inc.

Interview by Sigrid Tornquist What is your industry prediction? The first lesson I learned about predicting the future is that you can’t. But we can observe trends and try to anticipate how those trends might create opportunities and challenges. What is your business philosophy? Help customers grow their businesses by providing innovative products and services …

Dream it, design it, print it

Digitally printed fabrics have yielded creative, one-of-a-kind solutions for the home interiors market. The sky is seemingly the limit when it comes to design and end-product potential. Print shops and end product manufacturers have delivered a variety of products for clients, including wall coverings, draperies, blinds, pillows, bedspreads and upholstered furnishings. Although it’s been in …

Creating an event out of fabric

By Gail Nickel-Kailing Wanting to “wow” their best management staff, T-Mobile approached Rainier Industries seeking colorful, creative and flexible graphics and displays for a staff appreciation event planned at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. The Challenge: Sight unseen What do you do when you’re working with a marketing partner who has a concept and …

Fabric columns feature dynamic, functional design

By Barb Ernster One of the trends noted by Toronto-based Eventscape is that architects and interior designers are becoming much more knowledgeable about the aesthetic and technical benefits of fabric products and are incorporating them more often in conjunction with other nonfabric materials. Designers appreciate the benefits of a seamless, eco-friendly product that can cover large …

Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Mark Philip, director of John Herber Ltd., dba The Canvas Technology Centre

Interview by Sigrid Tornquist What is your industry prediction? Customer demand for custom-built products will increase as people tire of inferior, off-the-shelf items, and realize they need to pay a bit more for quality. What is your business philosophy? Build a great and lasting relationship with your employees and customers—and have fun doing it. What …

Misting system keeps boats cool

By Maura Keller For those whose idea of boating tends to involve sipping chilled white wines and discussing the third Stieg Larsson novel, even when the sun is hot the shade is really cool… In 2009, Taylor Made Products, Gloversville, N.Y., acquired the rights to the Boat Misters® product line. The Comfort Zone boat misting …

Australian architectural firm cools air with stored water

By Janice Kleinschmidt One architectural firm in Victoria, Australia, is going a step further in environmental sustainability by using stored water to cool air at a primary school. Water in underground tanks lined with 1mm-thick polypropylene sandwiched between two sheets of geotextile fabric— part of the rainwater harvesting system for irrigation and toilets—will provide a …

A history of color analysis

By Mark Gundlach In the past century, there has been much study and research into the measurement of color and the ability to control it so that both the seller and the buyer agree that the quality is acceptable. Among the first people of our century to provide us with a greater understanding of our …

Software for job-cost analysis

By Marc Hequet Sources interviewed named three kinds of software as keys to their job-cost analysis: With Peachtree Accounting software from Sage Group plc, Mark Matson relentlessly monitors material and labor costs as a percentage of overall revenue. “We focus on the total cost in a few categories versus job-by-job comparison of estimates to actual …

Fabric graphics hospitality projects that dazzle

By Holly O’Dell For a nightclub in New York City, Color X printed a massive 30-foot-by-40-foot curtain made of poly-poplin fabric used to separate the entryway from the venue. Inside, separate lounge areas feature giant fabric prints (also made of the poly-poplin and printed via dye sublimation) that stretched and wrapped on the wall, with …

Doing business with NASA

By Jill Lafferty Think NASA only works with the major aerospace firms? Think again. NASA awarded $4.3 billion to small businesses in the 2011 fiscal year, representing nearly 18 percent of NASA contracting. The NASA Office of Small Business Programs hosts an annual small business symposium that offers the opportunity for one-on-one meetings with NASA …

Choosing printing technology in today’s economy

By Barb Ernster While everyone is painfully aware that many long-standing printing companies are no longer here, the economic roller coaster ride of the past two years has created a much savvier end user, according to David Hawkes, group product manager at Roland DGA Corp.. The key to longevity is evolution, and the ingredients of …

Chandler and Charlene Clark make connections that lead to profit

By Sigrid Tornquist For Chandler and Charlene Clark of Signature CanvasMakers, the line between hobby and vocation is thin—but it is that common bond boat lovers share that often results in a profit for the company. As the Clarks were readying to set sail one weekend last summer, they struck up a conversation with the …

Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Gary Buermann, MFC, president of G & J Awning and Canvas

Interview by Sigrid Tornquist What’s the most recent piece of equipment you’ve bought, and how is it working out? At Expo 2011 I bought my first computerized sewing machine. The more I use it the more addicted to it I get—it does so much automatically, like back tacking and maintaining the needle position. You have …

Printed truck curtains provide a moving message

By Holly O’Dell For soft-sided curtains on trucks, digital printing can transform a blank canvas into a mobile billboard. Load Covering Solutions Ltd., based in Burlington, Ont., Canada, encourages customers to add value to their deliveries by printing a four-color message on their soft-sided trailers. The company designs the artwork—which could be anything from an …

Project at Molokai Ranch comes full circle

By Sigrid Tornquist When Tropical J’s was at a financial crossroads in 1997 and co-owner Gary Barnes needed a sizable project to keep the company afloat, Molokai Ranch asked him to redesign its “tentalows”—canvas-covered frames—to house its guests. One ranch owner on Molokai—an island situated between the heavily touristed islands of Oahu and Maui—was repurposing …

Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Kevin Kelly, MFC, IFM, CPP, president of Globe Canvas Products Co.

Interview by Sigrid Tornquist   What inspires you in your work? Because I have witnessed an ongoing bias against the use of non-rigid materials (i.e. textiles), and a bias in favor of using rigid materials as a default choice in the design, architectural and construction worlds, I am inspired by the opportunity to prove the merits …

Finding help, from outside the family

By Jamie Swedberg How do you find good people to work at your company, assuming you haven’t brought them into the world yourself? “The short answer of what we’re using is Craigslist,” admits Chandler Clark, owner of Signature CanvasMakers LLC, Hampton, Va. “Because, I mean, the money required to run an ad is crazy money, …

Snapshot: Inspired by the sea

By Sigrid Tornquist At the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, FTL Design Engineering Studio and Peter Marino Architect designed an innovative solar shade system for the Louis Vuitton “Island Maison.” The project is located in a floating “Crystal Pavilion” designed by Safdie Architects, an asymmetric building with irregularly angled facades, sited one degree north of …

In a holding pattern

Award-winning inflatable fabric structure design needs development partners. By Janice Kleinschmidt In 2008, the New York City Office of Emergency Management announced the 10 winners of its design competition based on the scenario of a Category 3 storm hitting the city. Viraline Architecture LLC won with its Rapidly Deployable Inflatable Container featuring two inflatable layers …

Snapshot: After party

By Sigrid Tornquist Every year since 2004, Aztec Tents has provided custom tenting for HBO’s Primetime Emmy Awards after party. The event space is transformed into an elegant and intimate venue, under the creative design of Billy Butchkavitz. For the 2012 event, the centerpiece of the event was a massive 40-foot sculpture, inspired by South …

Sound investments

The recently relocated College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta, Ga., sports an insulated tensile membrane roofing system made from Birdair’s Tensotherm™ that enhances the facility’s thermal performance. Designed by Thompson, Ventulett, Staninback architects with Sykes Consulting Inc. engineers, with roof systems consultants and fabricators Birdair Inc., the facility uses an 8mm layer of …

Membrane envelopes propel heavy-lift aircraft

By Katherine Carlson, a writer and editor based in St. Paul, Minn. Membrane technologies can be found on land, water and in the air. Tensys Dynamics, Bath, U.K. and Melbourne, Australia, designs envelopes for a new type of aircraft, the Hybrid Air Vehicle (HAV). HAVs are heavy-lift aircraft combining a lifting body hull form with …

Industry professionals recycle PVC

By Janice Kleinschmidt When Christo and Jeanne-Claude call themselves “environmental artists,” they are referring to the fact that their works transform the way we view our surroundings. But they are environmental artists in another way: They insist that at the end of their temporary exhibitions, the materials be recycled. When their project The Gates, located …

Statistics explain geosynthetic materials used at 2008 Beijing Olympics

Sources: CETCO Lining Technologies, Leister Process Technologies A few well-grounded statistics on the use of geosynthetic materials at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing: Millions of square meters of geosynthetic liners and geomembranes were installed to help create ponds and lakes, rowing and canoeing courses and swimming venues. To line the Shunyi Rowing-Canoeing Park, 720,000 …

A&R stresses the importance of diversification

By Sigrid Tornquist Bud Weisbart, IFM, vice president of A&R Tarpaulins Inc., believes diversification brings health to a company. In the late 1980s, A&R designed EMI (electromagnetic interference) cable covers for a company providing testing equipment for the computer industry. Demand for the covers skyrocketed, with sales reaching $1.5 million a year for five consecutive …

Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Junko Takai, president of Hivix Co. Ltd.

Interview by Sigrid Tornquist What is your proudest moment? For instance, we supplied an air-pressure mattress to an ederly woman who was confine to her bed. After she died, her family told us that even at the end, her skin was beautiful—she had no bedsores because of our product. What is your business philosophy? We …

Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Claude Le Bel, president and founder of Sollertia Inc.

Interview by Sigrid Tornquist What is your industry prediction? Almost everyone is or will be affected by the economic downturn, but companies that are strong and have the necessary knowledge will survive. What is your business philosophy? If you’re honest, fair and take care of people, everything is possible. What is your business strength? Being …

Eco-friendly tent branding

By Elizabeth Kephart Reisinger Many companies are promoting environmentally friendly practices, and the trend is spilling over to events. Here are some ways to advise your clients on how to brand their tented event as “green.” Print all signage, marketing material and brochures on recycled and/or recyclable materials. Explore using biodiesel or other petroleum alternatives …

Green fabrics composed of post-consumer recycled polyester

Aurora Specialty Textiles Group Inc., Aurora, Ill., introduces the first style in the new Weaves Of Green® fabric collection. Weaves Of Green® fabrics are woven by Southern Industrial Fabrics Inc. and are finished and sold to the graphics market exclusively by Aurora. These fabrics are composed of 100% post-consumer recycled polyester. The fiber source is …

Recycling PVC

By Peder Engebretson Flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC) uses compounds known as plasticizers, which make the material soft, flexible and a potential health hazard, particularly in the manufacturing process. (It’s the off-gassing plasticizers that result in “new car smell.”) On the other end of the life cycle spectrum, PVC presents recycling challenges. Scott Campbell, president of …

Trade associations are vehicles for mutually beneficial growth, McKernan says

By Sigrid Tornquist “At the end of the day, the issues facing our members, whether domestic businesses or international, are essentially the same,” says Pete McKernan, chairman of the Industrial Fabrics Association International’s board of directors. According to McKernan, there are far more similarities than differences in the way we do business, and the benefits …

Creating a collection

In her book “The Design Directory of Window Treatments,” interior design veteran Jackie Von Tobel created thousands of hand-drawn illustrations. But it wasn’t until her friend and business associate, Jeanelle Dech of Adaptive Textiles in West Chester, Pa., suggested that she create a fabric collection based on these designs that Von Tobel knew about the …

Sewing vs. welding seams

By Andrea Swensson Sewing Economical. For shops just starting out, a new sewing machine can cost only a fraction of a new welding machine. Convenient. The needle-and-thread method can accommodate a variety of thicknesses without much adjustment, and many shops already have sewing capabilities. Versatile. Projects involving tight angles or sheer fabrics can simply not …

Popular options for 3-D software

AutoCAD www.autodesk.com/autocad Longstanding and well-known Efficient user interface Annotation scaling Dynamic blocks Parametric drawing PDF Integration Autodesk ImageModeler This image-based modeling and photogrammetry software enables architects, designers and entertainment content creators to generate 3–D models from 2–D digital images. The software’s easy-to-learn, three-step workflow—calibration, modeling and texturing—enables users to achieve stunning, photorealistic 3-D models with …

Mark Philip’s IAA entries prompt visit from Prime Minister

By Sigrid Tornquist When Mark Philip, director of John Herber Ltd., dba The Canvas Technology Centre, Kaiapoi, New Zealand, decided to enter two projects into IFAI’s International Achievement Awards (IAA) program last year, he had no idea that the decision would result in a visit from New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key. Philip’s company won …

Choosing fabrics and accessories

By Maura Keller Marygrove Awning Co., Livonia, Mich., is one of the largest retractable awning companies in America. Marygrove doesn’t offer heating and cooling components directly; customers are referred to a reputable contractor that has performed this type of work with Marygrove in the past. When incorporating awning components and accessories into clients’ venues, the …

Working with hospitals

By Janice Kleinschmidt Health care institutions have to deal with the high costs of cutting-edge medical tools and drugs and recruiting staff in a highly competitive market. So interior design budgets can be quite stringent. “The opportunity lies in foundations where there’s an entity inside the hospital that is independent of the hospital that is …

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Meeting demand: A manufacturer’s perspective

By Holly O’Dell It wasn’t a tough sell for Aurora Specialty Textiles Group of Aurora, Ill., to board the green train within the last three to five years. “People are more aware now about environmental issues than they were a few years ago,” says Jeff Leagon, Aurora’s vice president, business development. “It was a combination …

Entrance canopy stretched to fit

By Sigrid Tornquist The St. Louis Children’s Hospital entrance canopy project Lawrence Fabric & Metal Structures Inc. installed in 2002 stretched the company’s capabilities in many ways, says president Jerry Grimaud. The hospital brought the concept of a butterfly design to Grimaud sketched on a plain piece of paper, requesting that it be colorful and …

Nonwovens: How they are made

By Janice Kleinschmidt Woven fabrics begin with twisting fibers together and then weaving those yarns together. Nonwovens begin with the arrangement of fibers into a web by entangling them. There are three basic methods of binding the web to give it structure: chemical, thermal and mechanical. In chemical bonding, polymers or copolymers are applied by …

Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Kathy Schaefer, COO of Glawe Awnings and Tents

Interview by Sigrid Tornquist What are your strategies for encouraging employees to help control operating costs? I’m pretty transparent with them as far as what kinds of costs the business has. I tell them the costs of labor, gas, heat, and materials so they’re all informed. Once we had an employee who filed a false …

Fabric suppliers responding to print technology

By Barb Ernster In response to the growing demand for direct-to-print technology, Fisher Textiles undertook an exhausting testing process to become a registered fabric supplier for Hewlett Packard’s new latex printers. At least 15 of its fabrics are registered and listed on the HP media guides; all of them are 100-percent polyester. That process will …