Industry News

Retractableawnings.com add new features to website

January 18, 2019

Retractableawnings.com recently added an infographic to its website as a new feature to educate customers on retractable fabric awnings. This feature explains the value that retractable awnings add to a home or business, and the savings they can provide via utilities bills. Retactableawnings.com sells and installs retractable fabric awnings and other types of sun, wind, …

Industry News

New IFAI member benefits

January 18, 2019

IFAI has created new member benefits over the past year. For more information about each benefit, visit https://www.ifai.com/membership/member-benefits/. Marine Fabricators Business Insurance The Marine Fabricators Business Insurance program is tailored to MFA division members and their unique risks and exposures. The best in practice program offers these insurance lines with competitive pricing: * Property—property contents …

Industry News

Frisone joins Serge Ferrari

January 18, 2019

Kevin Frisone has been appointed market development manager at Serge Ferrari, a leader in flexible composite material technology. He will lead the company’s growth in the U.S. for the building /architectural segment, including solar protection, façade, acoustics and tensile architecture. Frisone brings 30 years of business development experience to the company. He previously worked for …

Industry News

DNA molecular tagging study

January 17, 2019

Results of a new study published in the September/October 2018 issue of the AATCC Review confirmed that DNA molecular tagging is an effective tool to authenticate denim and maintains its integrity even after exposed to the rigors of bleaching and abrasion. “DNA Molecular Tagging is an Effective Tool to Authenticate Denim, One of the Toughest …

Industry News

Archroma Pakistan wins awards

January 16, 2019

The Pakistani affiliate of Archroma, a global leader in color and specialty chemicals for sustainable solutions, was named employer of the year in the multinationals segment in a nationwide contest organized by the Employers Federation of Pakistan for the third time in a row. The award recognized Archroma’s best practice in human resource management, ethical …

Industry News

Business insurance offered as new benefit to MFA members

January 15, 2019

IFAI now offers business insurance to members of the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA). The broker for this new membership benefit is Marsh & McLennan Agency, who is also IFAI’s insurance broker. “This is the first time IFAI has been able to offer this type of benefit to members. We have had many requests from members …

Industry News

Losberger De Boer becomes a centenary company

January 15, 2019

One hundred years ago, Friedrich Losberger and Klaas de Boer laid the foundation for a company that would become one of the world’s leading suppliers of temporary and semi-permanent space solutions: Losberger De Boer. In 2019, the company celebrates its hundredth birthday. The early years It is in Heilbronn, near Stuttgart, that the story of …

Industry News

Epson center opens in New Jersey

January 15, 2019

Equipment Zone in Franklin Lakes, N.J., has opened its Epson Certified Solution Center. This first such center located on the East Coast enables potential Epson customers to engage with product experts and run test print samples using their own files on the Epson dye-sublimation, signage, photography and direct-to-garment solutions. The technology includes a full suite …

Industry News

Indorama Ventures acquires UTT

January 14, 2019

Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. has acquired UTT, one of the leading suppliers of airbag fabrics and other highly specialized solutions in the field of technical textiles. The company has sites in Germany and Mexico with approximately 420 employees and produces around 70 million square meters of fabrics. Subject to regulatory approvals, UTT will be …

News

Longtime Hoigaard’s sales manager passes away

January 14, 2019

Michael J. O’Toole, a sales manager at Hoigaard’s Custom Canvas and Awning, Plymouth, Minn., has passed away. O’Toole worked for Hoigaard’s for more than 50 years. More information about O’Toole is available here. Hoigaard’s, an awning manufacturer, was founded more than 120 years ago and was one of fourteen companies that founded Industrial Fabrics Association …

Business Members only content

How to solve the labor shortage

January 1, 2019

Think about your local hospital. Picture it in your mind. Think about the people who work there and the work they do. Now imagine that this hospital closed, and so did many of the clinics. Can you imagine your community without access to health care? How would that change your life? As far-fetched as this …

Business

Fringe benefits benefit employers and employees

November 1, 2018

Whether it’s a result of a booming economy, tighter immigration laws or an educational system gone astray, finding qualified job applicants has become increasingly more difficult for those in the specialty fabrics industry. How can small businesses compete for badly needed, qualified workers? Thanks to our unique tax laws, every business can afford to offer …

Business Members only content

Tax law changes make adding equipment and vehicles more affordable

September 1, 2018

Last December’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) not only slashed tax rates, it also enacted rules that allow businesses to treat as an expense and immediately write off more—including 100 percent temporary expensing for certain assets. This means adding needed equipment, vehicles or even a new shop building is now a lot more affordable. …

Business

Stop sexual harassment in your workplace

July 1, 2018

Far too often, the process of making bad and/or unethical choices begins with a simple, almost thoughtless decision. How do I know this? Well, I’ve seen it happen far too often. Harassment is not a sexy subject, and ethics are more than words. “The times they are a changing,” and that’s more than just song …

Business Members only content

Tracking supplier compliance for sustainable textile companies

May 1, 2018

The issue of compliance can be complicated for textile companies, which have to comply with various regulatory and voluntary company standards for product safety and restriction of substances. In the United States, for example, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) contains provisions that aim to improve the safety of children’s products. The European Union …

Business

California Community College Makerspaces offer work-based learning for students

April 10, 2018

The CCC Maker Initiative, administered by Sierra College (www.sierracollege.edu), is offering internships and work-based learning experiences for students through 24 California Community College makerspaces, where students gain technical, entrepreneurial and work-ready skills sought by employers. California Community Colleges participating in the CCC Maker (cccmaker.com) initiative to build makerspace communities are preparing students for careers through …

Business Members only content

Outside expertise: how to find affordable, professional help when you need it

March 1, 2018

While most owners of small- and medium-size businesses know the details of their companies intimately, there are often highly technical matters of law, accounting, management and marketing that are best handled by outside experts. Attorneys, accountants, and management and marketing advisers have specialized knowledge about niche areas that few business owners can hope to duplicate. …

Business Members only content

Savvy cash management helps your bottom line

January 1, 2018

Cash flow—the amount of money flowing into and out of your shop—is an easy concept to understand, yet not always well managed. Not every owner is aware of the impact skillful cash management has on net income, probably because the importance of managing revenue is far easier to recognize in some types of businesses than …

Business Members only content

New IRS accounting method changes

October 1, 2017

The tax returns of many businesses in the specialty fabrics industry have been—and will most likely continue to be—extra thick. Thanks to newly issued “repair regulations,” tax return filings for last year included more work on “Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method” than usual. Fortunately, the IRS recently made it easier for small …

Business Members only content

Smart documentation is key to selling your business

September 1, 2017

No matter where in the world we run our businesses, we aspire to be successful, profitable and happy. We have either started the business from nothing, purchased an existing enterprise or taken the reins of the family business. Often, we begin with limited skills, have minimal formal industry training and largely “learn by our mistakes.” …

Expo News

2018 Outstanding Volunteer Awards presented at IFAI Expo

October 18, 2018

At the annual meeting during IFAI Expo 2018 in Dallas, Texas, IFAI presented this year’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards, to people who generously gave of their time by serving on different boards, task forces and committees, judging competitions and providing education and leadership to others in the industry. The Outstanding Volunteer Award program was developed in …

Expo News

Mary Hennessy: IFAI’s newest Honored Life Member

October 18, 2018

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, at IFAI’s annual meeting at IFAI Expo in Dallas, Texas, association leaders announced that Mary Hennessy had been given Honored Life Member status for her many years of service to IFAI and, most notably, for her leadership as president and CEO of the association for the six years before her retirement …

Expo News

2018 Fabric Structures Student Design Competition Winners Announced

October 18, 2018

The Fabric Structures Association (FSA), a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), recently announced the recipients of the 2018 Fabric Structures Student Design Competition awards. The winners were announced at IFAI Expo 2018, held Oct. 15-18 in Dallas, Texas. First Place Rafael Dias Simoes, Kevin Barthelmebs and Fabien Burgeat from ENSAVT University won …

Expo News

2018 Advanced Textiles Student Design Competition Winners Announced

October 18, 2018

Advanced Textile Products and the Narrow Fabrics Institute, divisions of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), recently selected the winners of the 2018 Advanced Textiles Student Design Competition. The awards were announced during IFAI Expo 2018, held in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 15-18. First Place First-place honors went to J. Walter Lee, Stephanie Wang and Caroline …

Expo News

Small shops: Tips for shortening your lead times

October 17, 2018

Torey Heinz, of Teagles Consulting, has a background in small manufacturing jobs shops. This gives him a good sense of how poor workflow and other issues can affect a small shop’s lead times. Shortening lead time is important, Teagle told participants at his Oct. 17 Expo session, because shorter lead times mean increased sales and …

Expo News

Shade sails clinic

October 17, 2018

On October 17 at IFAI Expo 2018 in Dallas, Texas, Brydon Roe from Shade Sails Canada Inc., Revelstoke, British Columbia, led a shade sails campfire session where he shared his business’s top dos and don’ts for installing shade sails. When it comes to shade sail fabric options, Roe recommended polyester, Commercial95 (or a mid-grade shade …

Expo News

The right technology can save you money

October 17, 2018

Trying to figure out which technology can save a business money can be confusing given all the options available. In his Oct. 17 Expo session, “Using Technology to Improve the Bottom Line,” Mark Stiver, manager of ecommerce, strategy and analytics for Trivantage, gave a high-level view of the primary types of technology available to specialty …

Expo News

Testing basics provide key communication points on textile products

October 17, 2018

When you plan to sell a textile product, there are numerous reasons to test it before taking it to market. Many of those testing results tell you what you can ultimately communicate to others about your product, and what they can expect of your product. Dr. Emiel DenHartog, North Carolina State University, College of Textiles, …

Expo News

IFAI Expo 2018: Show Stopper winners on the floor

October 17, 2018

All the best from Texas: Wednesday morning, Oct. 17, at IFAI Expo led off with lists of winners for the year, including the most popular products on the show floor. The seventh annual Show Stopper competition was designed to showcase the best of the best in the industry, from fabrics, equipment and chemicals to services …

Expo News

The way forward with geosynthetics in the US Army Corps of Engineers is focus of plenary at GeoDallas

October 17, 2018

Jeb Tingle, senior research engineer at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Miss., delivered the plenary address at GeoDallas on Oct. 17 on “Advancing the Nation’s Infrastructure: The USACE Role.” “There’s a big role for research and innovation,” Tingle said. “Doing business as usual won’t give …

Feature

Working innovation: all successful companies innovate to grow, but each approach is unique

January 1, 2019

If there were a formula for writing a hit song, we could all do it. Efforts have certainly been made to figure out just what’s required to reach the top of the charts, but there simply isn’t a single defined path that can be taken to ensure musical success. In manufacturing, businesses that look to …

Feature

Women’s work: challenges and rewards in the specialty fabrics industry

January 1, 2019

Since the earliest days of civilization, women have sewn garments, constructed the tents they called home, and woven the textiles that made life more comfortable and defined distinctive cultures. Over the millennia, textiles produced by women have been essential to life and enterprise. As industrialization made these goods profitable, however, the textile world became a …

Feature

Melynda Norman-Lee brings tented events to life, continuing a tradition of success at JJL Events Inc.

January 1, 2019

“When I work on challenging projects I see the possibilities, not the restrictions,” says Melynda Norman-Lee, event project manager for J J L Events, Toronto, Ont., Canada. “I start visualizing the final outcome when I first start talking with the client. If I haven’t captured that vision from the beginning, I won’t be able to …

Feature

Fabric’s role in revitalizing neglected urban areas

January 1, 2019

Like other rust belt cities, Detroit began declining decades ago, propelled by a combination of bad luck, bad timing, bad decisions and economic transformations that delivered additional crushing, seemingly fatal, blows. Its condition was such that not so long ago, numerous companies sprang up offering tours of the city’s ruined buildings and factories—a somewhat morbid …

Feature

Long-term clearspan tent installations offer a clear advantage

December 1, 2018

For Jeff McInnes, what better proof of the validity of clearspan structures being used for permanent buildings than having his recently installed aquatic center survive Hurricane Florence in North Charleston, S.C. “We often install permanent structures that sometimes need to be in place for extended durations; anywhere from three to 30 years,” says McInnes, North …

Feature

A dazzling duo: indoor fabrics and lighting

December 1, 2018

Fabrics have always been an essential component in commercial interior spaces. But, historically, their inclusion has been limited to more conventional roles, such as draperies and curtains, or flexible room dividers. With some exceptions, fabrics were not intended to serve as a focus in and of themselves. That has changed—decidedly. Fabrics are now looked to …

Feature

Going the distance: Rob Kotowski rebuilds the family business

December 1, 2018

“We don’t anticipate that the completion of a project is the last time we talk with our clients,” says Rob Kotowski, owner and president of Lake Shore Boat Top Co., St. Clair Shores, Mich. “We typically follow up with them a couple of weeks after they’ve taken delivery of their projects to make sure they’re …

Feature

A commitment to growth: Don Alhanati uses automation and lean manufacturing to ensure market diversity and growth for CustomFab USA

November 1, 2018

One of the keys to our success is our investment in advanced automated equipment,” says Don Alhanati, founder and president of CustomFab USA in Garden Grove, Calif. “That, and the fact that we have a creative staff. We are always looking at ways to do things smarter.” Alhanati had worked 12 years at a manufacturing …

Feature Members only content

Seeing is believing: make sure your website and social media strategies are smart, engaging, informative, and visually appealing

November 1, 2018

Perhaps your company relies on good old-fashioned word-of-mouth publicity and steers clear of social media. Maybe your marketing efforts emphasize trade shows and real-world connections, quite successfully, rather than online communications. But you did just update your website … five years ago. Things have changed. Now your customers all have a phone in their hands, …

Feature Members only content

Growth in the inflatables market is coming from safety and protection

November 1, 2018

Everybody knows about inflatables. They’re the bouncy houses rented for kids’ birthday parties, or the big blow-up gorilla that the local car dealership uses to attract customers. The real growth in the use of inflatable technology, however, is in much more serious (and practical) applications—even if they aren’t nearly as visible to most of us. …

Markets Members only content

Taking the lead: women in the tent rental industry

January 1, 2019

When Sarah Crews, director of sales and marketing for Miami, Fla.-based Economy Tent International (ETI), started going to outdoor trade shows 13 years ago, she didn’t see many women attending the events. Tent rental companies headed by women were even scarcer. But over the years that situation has changed, says Crews (formerly Lapping). “As the …

Advanced Textiles

Growing interest in using natural “smart” fibers

January 1, 2019

Since the industrial revolution, textiles have transitioned from natural fibers of cotton, wool, silk and linen to textiles created from petroleum products and reconstituted wood pulp. Today’s synthetic fibers are stronger, cheaper to manufacture, and have proven easily adaptable to a wide range of technical, performance and smart textiles, to the benefit of modern life. …

Advanced Textiles

New smart fabrics and protective gear innovations keep first responders safer

December 1, 2018

First responders—from firefighters to law enforcement to emergency medical services technicians—need to be ready to handle any situation they encounter, and they need the appropriate gear to respond quickly to emergencies. Responders draw on their experience to make sound decisions in the chaos of a crime or accident scene, or in the heat of a …

Advanced Textiles

Early adopters affect product development

November 1, 2018

IoClothes describes itself as “A Community Fusing Tech & Textiles™” that exists to support those who innovate in the smart textile industry by providing information and helping them to establish the right connections to move forward. Managing director Ben Cooper says, “About 30–40 percent of the [textile] industry has a warm-to-hot interest in innovation—new processes, …

Markets Members only content

A faster path to market through industry dialogue and profitable partnerships

November 1, 2018

If innovation is a key to growth and profitability because of the differentiation it can offer in our broadly commoditized industrial fabrics industry—one that for decades has been under strong pricing pressure from low-cost imports—then R&D is an essential component of a company’s toolbox for financial success. My experience, however, coincides with the observation of …

Markets Members only content

Basic training principles for new and long-time tent installers

October 1, 2018

Labor is a problem everywhere, with tent rental companies experiencing constant turnover and the need to train new installers. Desperate to fill out their crews, tent renters will often send new employees on the road for installations right off the bat, with training coming on the job from long-time employees. But just because a crew …

Advanced Textiles

Incorporating new materials into composites

October 1, 2018

In material science, strength alone is often found to have its limitations; a combination of hard and soft, rigid and flexible is an area of increasing interest for a wide range of applications from construction, to sports equipment, to protective apparel. Composites bring together two or more materials to provide one that has novel features, …

Markets Members only content

Recommended fabric cleaning products

September 1, 2018

It’s pretty simple. People buy boats because they want to have fun. The reality, however, is that work—the opposite of fun—is required to keep any watercraft in tip-top condition. Therein lies the rub. “A lot of boaters don’t want to do all the cleaning and maintenance,” says Marianne Iosso, vice president of Iosso® Products of …

Advanced Textiles

Textile-based robots

September 1, 2018

A Harvard collaboration develops soft, wearable robotics for hands. Soft, wearable robotics is an emerging field that looks at methods of enabling functional, powered support to assist human movements using lightweight, low-profile and flexible materials such as textiles. A diverse team of researchers in the Harvard Biodesign Lab at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired …

Markets Members only content

Prototypes and progress: The problems of today are the products of tomorrow

August 1, 2018

  Good companies allocate time, energy, money and resources to the art of product development. Why? Because the products of tomorrow can’t be developed without working through the problems of today. Whether you’re doing product research and development for your own products or you’ve been hired by a customer to conduct the work, there’s a …

Industry News

Retractableawnings.com add new features to website

January 18, 2019

Retractableawnings.com recently added an infographic to its website as a new feature to educate customers on retractable fabric awnings. This feature explains the value that retractable awnings add to a home or business, and the savings they can provide via utilities bills. Retactableawnings.com sells and installs retractable fabric awnings and other types of sun, wind, …

Industry News

New IFAI member benefits

January 18, 2019

IFAI has created new member benefits over the past year. For more information about each benefit, visit https://www.ifai.com/membership/member-benefits/. Marine Fabricators Business Insurance The Marine Fabricators Business Insurance program is tailored to MFA division members and their unique risks and exposures. The best in practice program offers these insurance lines with competitive pricing: * Property—property contents …

Industry News

Frisone joins Serge Ferrari

January 18, 2019

Kevin Frisone has been appointed market development manager at Serge Ferrari, a leader in flexible composite material technology. He will lead the company’s growth in the U.S. for the building /architectural segment, including solar protection, façade, acoustics and tensile architecture. Frisone brings 30 years of business development experience to the company. He previously worked for …

Industry News

DNA molecular tagging study

January 17, 2019

Results of a new study published in the September/October 2018 issue of the AATCC Review confirmed that DNA molecular tagging is an effective tool to authenticate denim and maintains its integrity even after exposed to the rigors of bleaching and abrasion. “DNA Molecular Tagging is an Effective Tool to Authenticate Denim, One of the Toughest …

Industry News

Archroma Pakistan wins awards

January 16, 2019

The Pakistani affiliate of Archroma, a global leader in color and specialty chemicals for sustainable solutions, was named employer of the year in the multinationals segment in a nationwide contest organized by the Employers Federation of Pakistan for the third time in a row. The award recognized Archroma’s best practice in human resource management, ethical …

Industry News

Business insurance offered as new benefit to MFA members

January 15, 2019

IFAI now offers business insurance to members of the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA). The broker for this new membership benefit is Marsh & McLennan Agency, who is also IFAI’s insurance broker. “This is the first time IFAI has been able to offer this type of benefit to members. We have had many requests from members …

Industry News

Losberger De Boer becomes a centenary company

January 15, 2019

One hundred years ago, Friedrich Losberger and Klaas de Boer laid the foundation for a company that would become one of the world’s leading suppliers of temporary and semi-permanent space solutions: Losberger De Boer. In 2019, the company celebrates its hundredth birthday. The early years It is in Heilbronn, near Stuttgart, that the story of …

Industry News

Epson center opens in New Jersey

January 15, 2019

Equipment Zone in Franklin Lakes, N.J., has opened its Epson Certified Solution Center. This first such center located on the East Coast enables potential Epson customers to engage with product experts and run test print samples using their own files on the Epson dye-sublimation, signage, photography and direct-to-garment solutions. The technology includes a full suite …

Industry News

Indorama Ventures acquires UTT

January 14, 2019

Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. has acquired UTT, one of the leading suppliers of airbag fabrics and other highly specialized solutions in the field of technical textiles. The company has sites in Germany and Mexico with approximately 420 employees and produces around 70 million square meters of fabrics. Subject to regulatory approvals, UTT will be …

News

Longtime Hoigaard’s sales manager passes away

January 14, 2019

Michael J. O’Toole, a sales manager at Hoigaard’s Custom Canvas and Awning, Plymouth, Minn., has passed away. O’Toole worked for Hoigaard’s for more than 50 years. More information about O’Toole is available here. Hoigaard’s, an awning manufacturer, was founded more than 120 years ago and was one of fourteen companies that founded Industrial Fabrics Association …

Products

Labor saving products for productivity

January 1, 2019

Slick tent setup Rainier’s High Peak tent system provides an elegant, streamlined look with a frame design that allows for quick and easy installation without tools. The system features a flying center pole tension top with a catenary (arched) design and does not use interior support poles, maximizing usable space. The tent comes in a …

Products

New products: Savvy textile solutions

December 1, 2018

Breathable textiles Teijin Frontier has developed a polyester high-gauge knitting material laminated with a breathable film to produce thin, lightweight and breathable textiles. Textiles laminated with breathable film are widely used for high-functional sportswear due to their waterproofness and stretchability. The new material is compact as well as stretchable, form-stable and moisture-permeable. It has a …

Products

New and flexible fabrics

October 1, 2018

Sound barrier EPT’s XTRM Ply SoundSafe™ is uniquely designed to act as an acoustic barrier, reducing noise transmission through floors, walls and ceilings. It is a smooth, reinforced high-density Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) recommended as an acoustic wrap for machinery, equipment and ductwork. A typical application consists of applying the product over studs, joists or …

Products

Practical products with punchy effects

September 1, 2018

Versatile webbing Bally Ribbon Mills offers high-quality, high-performance webbing to meet the demands of recreational applications including the commercial and sport markets. The webbing is appropriate for a range of recreational applications including binding tape, chin straps, harnesses, packs, climbing webs, pet leashes, and parachute and balloon setups. Available in nylon, polyester, polypropylene, Kevlar®, Nomex®, …

Products

Faster printer

July 1, 2018

The Mutoh ValueJet 1948WX is recommended for everyday and high-production sublimation printing. With its staggered four-head design, it prints at speeds up to 2,199 sq ft./hr., with applications for trade show graphics, promotional items, flags, interior decor, apparel and more. Designed with advanced features such as a rear media feed lever for easy material handling, …

Products

Durable health care upholstery fabric

July 1, 2018

KnollTextiles’ Between the Lines collection offers performance, bleach-cleanable upholstery, privacy fabric and wallcovering for the health care and industrial markets. The collection includes coated upholstery fabrics such as Brigadoon 21, a phthalate-free vinyl upholstery fabric priced at less than forty dollars per yard. Ribbon Stripe is a certified Healthier Hospitals Initiative-compliant privacy fabric stocked with …

Products

High visibility striping

July 1, 2018

World Emblem’s high-visibility striping can be applied to work apparel, vests and many other clothing items to increase visibility and safety. Appropriate for construction workers, firefighters, police officers and others who need as much visibility as possible while working in low light or potentially hazardous conditions. Offered in 10 different trims and 48 standard placement …

Products

Ultra-light composite grid fabric

July 1, 2018

TeXtreme® has added ±45° Grid fabric to its Spread Tow line of ultra-light composites to further optimize solutions for new applications in advanced aerospace, industrial and sports product markets. Used alone or in combination with other TeXtreme products, the Grid fabric helps reduce the weight of products without sacrificing mechanical properties. The new grid fabric …

Products

Flame-resistant stretch fabric

July 1, 2018

Teijin Aramid’s Teijinconex Coolnex Stretch is a flame-resistant, durable stretch fabric that is also highly comfortable for workwear applications. The unique single-layer, high-performance textile combines FR protection with Solotex® stretch technology, which offers excellent fabric memory, elasticity and flexibility. Current workwear fabric using polyurethane is susceptible to reduced stretch and recovery over time, has poor …

Products

Slide-in-wire canopy

July 1, 2018

The patented Infinity Canopy is a dynamic and versatile slide-on-wire canopy. Its modular design allows it to adapt to any space, be configured in one or multiple colors, and change within minutes to create new designs and patterns—even on existing pergolas. It uses readily available parts and shade panels, which eliminates production time and simplifies …

Projects

Exhibition combines the physical and digital worlds

January 1, 2019

Contemporary artist Michael Rees likes to create artwork that connects to a specific space. His experimental exhibition at Grounds for Sculpture, a 42-acre sculpture park, museum and arboretum founded on the site of the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds, began in the exhibit hall looking for inspiration. His show, “Synthetic Cells, Site and Para (Site)” …

Projects

Upward mobility: on-the-go hot air ballooning

January 1, 2019

Who doesn’t wish they could just fly away once in a while—especially at the sight of hot air balloons gracing the horizon? But expense, equipment and accessibility can make hot air ballooning prohibitive for the average person. FlyDOO, a start-up company based in southeast France, is aiming to change all of that. Founder Leandro Corradini, …

Projects

Robotic fabric flowers react to people

January 1, 2019

The natural world is constantly changing. Take a walk through a meadow and the view is different from one moment to the next. That’s the idea behind the kinetic sculpture called “Meadow,” on display at Dutch Design Week 2018 last October. Studio Drift, an Amsterdam-based design firm, created the sculpture to explore the way in …

Projects

Safety in style: the foldable bike helmet

January 1, 2019

Let’s face it, even though a bike helmet is essential for protection, many people won’t wear one because it’s uncomfortable, inconvenient or not particularly attractive. Two former SpaceX engineers hope to change that. Co-founders David Hall and Jordan Klein have introduced Park & Diamond™, a helmet that looks and feels like a traditional baseball cap—yet …

Projects

Reversible all-weather tent

January 1, 2019

Cool in the summer, warm in the winter and waterproof in a rainstorm, the weatherHYDE tent is built for people who like to enjoy the great outdoors all year long. In fact, maker Billion Bricks Ltd., a Singapore-based nonprofit design and technology studio, also envisions the tent as a humanitarian response to a serious problem—global …

Projects

Sports bags double as life rafts

January 1, 2019

Tough, waterproof, multi-purpose—that’s the standard for outdoor bags these days. Design company Subtech Sports has taken things to a new level with version 2.0 of its rugged Pro Drybags. Subtech Sports was founded by Eric Lyth after an experience with kayaking in Australia’s Sydney harbor. He witnessed an eight-foot shark break the surface of the …

Projects

Motorized shades for customer comfort

December 1, 2018

People often agree that a meal tastes better outdoors. That’s why restaurant patios never go out of style. Not only is it enjoyable for patrons, the restaurant benefits from a larger service area with more tables. Princi Italia, a casual dining spot in West Plano, Texas, is one of three locations owned and operated by …

Projects

Washing bag fights plastic pollution

December 1, 2018

The millions of tons of plastic pollution that end up in the oceans and other waterways each year is quickly becoming a global crisis. One of the culprits is clothing made from synthetic textiles. With each laundering, numerous small plastic fibers make their way from the washing machine down the drain and into oceans, lakes …

Projects

Tuft love for natural carpets

December 1, 2018

Industrial textile designer Liset van der Scheer enjoys the challenge of taking traditional materials and using them in an innovative way. For a recent collection of carpet and poufs for Casalis, a Belgian designer and producer of contemporary interior textiles, van der Sheer explored the idea of bringing the outdoors inside. As she imagined the …

Projects

Heat-conducting graphene jacket

December 1, 2018

Part jacket. Part science experiment. That’s how the makers of a new graphene-coated jacket describe their garment. Only a single atom thick, graphene is invisible to the naked eye. It’s lightweight, highly conductive, and is the strongest material known to humankind. But graphene also comes with challenges. It’s hard to work with and very expensive …

The Greater Good

In the pink: Cooley Group supports breast cancer patients and families

January 1, 2019

Social stewardship and community outreach have been woven into the culture at Cooley Group, headquartered in Pawtucket, R.I.  Nearly every quarter, Cooley Group conducts a specific outreach program under the “Cooley Cares” banner to improve lives and make positive changes in the community. Founded as a cotton awning fabrics manufacturer in 1926, Cooley Group has …

The Greater Good

IFAI’s Manufacturing for Good booth assembles duffel bags for homeless recovery center

December 1, 2018

IFAI’s Manufacturing for Good booth made its second appearance at Expo 2018 held in October in Dallas, Texas. Workers at the live manufacturing booth assembled 74 red duffel bags from start to finish. The bags, made from 14 oz. vinyl, were donated to The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, a North Texas-based organization devoted to helping …

The Greater Good

MMI Textiles builds a better community, and workplace, one volunteer event at a time

November 1, 2018

Integrity, service and teamwork are at the center of everything MMI Textiles does, extending beyond working with customers and hiring employees to supporting its community. “Giving back not only goes with our core values, but it also provides an opportunity to work as a team to affect and impact the lives of others less fortunate. …

The Greater Good

Safety Components puts its business acumen to work for charity

October 1, 2018

Following the events of 9/11, Joey Underwood, senior vice president of Safety Components in Greenville, S.C., witnessed several neighborhood efforts to raise money for families of the fallen firefighters in New York City. “I remember driving past a bake sale and thinking, ‘We’re in that business—we should do something, too,” he says. Safety Components develops …

The Greater Good

Aurora Specialty Textiles Group invests in American manufacturing

September 1, 2018

When it became obvious to Aurora Specialty Textiles Group (ASTG) that its 132-year-old facility in Aurora, Ill., was no longer adequate, it wouldn’t have been surprising if the company had given serious consideration to moving operations overseas. But that was not the case. “There might have been a split-second mention of Mexico, but only because …

The Greater Good

O’Sullivan Films’ creek cleanup is the centerpiece of its community work

August 1, 2018

When employees at O’Sullivan Films work to improve the world around them, they don’t have to go any further than their headquarters in Winchester, Va. Winchester, part of the Shenandoah Valley located 75 miles west of Washington, D.C., is home to Abrams Creek, a stream that runs through O’Sullivan’s campus, which includes offices and a …

The Greater Good

Haartz Corporation’s community involvement goes deep

July 1, 2018

Many mission statements of companies claim that part of their corporate responsibility is to support the communities where their employees work and live. Often, this means making a donation to a worthy cause.                 But at the Haartz Corporation, a world leader in convertible toppings and interior surface …

The Greater Good

Service Thread believes that business success and community success go hand in hand

June 1, 2018

When it comes to serving the community, no need is too great or too small for Service Thread, a Laurinburg, N.C.-based designer and developer of engineered yarns and sewing threads. “We usually try to participate in everything,” says Hope Dohogn, human resources manager. “It’s very rare that we would say no.” Whether that need is …

The Greater Good

Ascend Performance Materials supports its employees and communities

May 1, 2018

After a tornado outbreak swept through northern Alabama in 2011, Ascend Performance Materials LLC sprang into action. The Houston, Texas-based company provided housing for employees from their Decatur facility who lost everything, and volunteers from the company helped with cleanup and rebuilding efforts. Out of that tragedy, it founded the Ascend Cares Foundation to support …

The Greater Good

Supporting marine conservation one product at a time

April 1, 2018

Every year more than eight million tons of plastic go into the oceans. Animals are threatened by harsh oil spills, garbage and other debris that invades their habitats; the trash is killing off entire ecosystems and species. This is why www.MarineVinylFabric.com is changing the way businesses can help change the world. David Goldman, founder and …