USIFI and NFI Lobby Day 2017

April 6, 2017

The U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) and Narrow Fabrics Institute (NFI) members joined forces in Washington, D.C., February 7–8 to discuss textile issues with Congress and key executive branch policymakers. Lobby Day is an opportunity for USIFI and NFI members to nurture stronger working relationships with officials responsible for crafting, implementing and administering policies that …

2017 Specialty Fabrics Showcase

April 4, 2017

FABRIC MEANS PERFORMANCE—THE QUALITIES THAT CUSTOMERS DEMAND. For this feature, we asked our contributors to send us information about their latest high-performing fabrics: fabrics that protect against weather, pests, disease, use and abuse for years—and look good doing it. We’ve organized their product information into performance categories, and Part 1 is included here. In Part …

Hand-crafted shade

April 1, 2017

David Aberle is the president of Hoigaard’s Custom Canvas & Awnings in Plymouth, Minn. Since 1895, Hoigaard’s has been manufacturing and installing high-quality awnings and shade structures for commercial and residential clients. Here, Aberle shares his thoughts about the industry and offers some sound business advice. How did you get involved in the company/industry? Hoigaard’s …

Beware the local radishes

Whenever anyone says something about being on Cloud 9, I have to wonder about the populations of Clouds 1–8. Are there predestined atmospheric locations for those having a bad hair day, a flat tire, two flat tires, a screenwriting career? Is Cloud 1 the lowest level, or does it continually sow discord by boasting the …

Sleek styling for space

What does the well-appointed astronaut wear on a shuttle mission? That was the challenge for designers tasked with rethinking the spacesuits to be worn on the Boeing-built CST-100 Starliner that will launch in 2018 and be used for low-Earth orbit missions and trips to and from the International Space Station. The new Starliner spacesuit, which …

Piezoelectric energy harvesting

Packages that power biochemical and environmental sensors. Breathing is the most consistent source of kinetic energy in the human body, as it produces a large circumferential displacement in the chest, even during sleep. This oscillation is one of few mechanisms in the human body that can also be exploited noninvasively for energy harvesting. The National …

Extreme storage, on ice

How do you build an adequate equipment and maintenance facility on the summit of the Greenland Ice Sheet where temperatures fluctuate between -49°F and 14°F and snow fall amounts threaten to bury food and supplies? The National Science Foundation and their operations partner, CH2M Hill, wanted a practical storage option at the Summit Station, home …

Extra muscle, senior style

The typical solution to help an aging person who is losing strength and stamina is to provide assistance that takes away the burden of daily chores and requires less mobility. But what if you could help him or her become more mobile and retain independence and mobility? Now there’s a smart suit that can do …

Texturizing space

The Hirikata T-SITE bookstore, located in a popular shopping center near Osaka, Japan, is a tranquil respite from the busy world. Dramatic two-story walls of books surround customers who are encouraged to sit, read and relax on lounge furniture or in the coffee shop area. The bookstore also features three 26-foot-high floor-to-ceiling windows that flood …

May the workforce be with you

Manufacturers are facing a variety of staffing challenges, and responding to the need to educate the public as well as potential employees about the benefits of a hands-on career. It’s easy enough to understand that a lack of jobs can wreak havoc on economies, from local to global scales. What can be more complex is …

Instant kayak, on the go

Anyone who loves outdoor adventures knows what it’s like to be on a hike, come upon a lake and wish you could just jump in and go. Or, travel light but not miss out on a memorable paddle. That’s the thinking behind a new fully portable kayak. Justin Case Kayak is the brainchild of Canadian …

U.S. trade policy

Last year was both a momentous and a productive year for the U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) and the Narrow Fabrics Institute (NFI) divisions’ efforts in Washington, D.C. The text of the highly controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) limited damage to the U.S. textile industry to the greatest degree politically achievable; now the election of Donald …

Sculpted in classical lace

Lace has always played an important role in Dutch culture and art. Think of the painter Vermeer’s “The Lacemaker,” or other works of the time depicting women in traditional lace bonnets. So when the design team Jin Choi and Thomas Shine of Amsterdam-based Choi+Shine Architects was asked to create a piece for the 2016 Amsterdam …

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High-performance sewing

Choosing the right sewing machine saves time and money. Every trade has its tools, and marine fabrication is no exception. A critically important tool of marine fabrication is the sewing machine. Regardless of the brand, a sewing machine has to be durable, reliable and easily maintained, because it is, after all, the workhorse of a …

Pre-employment background checks

You may need them, but be careful. These days every new employee brings a possible threat to your business, including theft, sexual harassment, physical violence, identity theft, fraud and drug use. The potential for ruinous legal actions is higher today than ever before. That’s why a background check before you hire an applicant could save …

From the ground up

Cheryl Yennaco rebuilds a business by making the tough decisions, hiring the right team and setting meaningful and measurable goals. “Last year was our best year, and we’re at another point of growth right now,” says Cheryl Yennaco, owner and general manager of Melrose, Mass.-based Atlantic Awnings. “That growth started when we decided to clean …

Opening the door to architects

Experts discuss the best way to encourage designers to use fabric in their projects. Confession:  I am a licensed architect (please don’t hold that against me!) and I like fabric. I am also a teacher of young architects and designers and take every opportunity to introduce students to the wonders of fabric in architecture and …

Washington’s wartime headquarters, restored

March 29, 2017

A significant artifact from the Revolutionary War, George Washington’s Headquarters Tent has been restored and is on display at the new Museum of the American Revolution. Just opened in Philadelphia, Pa., in April 2017, the museum tells the story of America’s founding through immersive gallery experiences, object theaters and recreated historical scenes. The tent’s journey …