Industry News

Staff changes at Mutoh

November 20, 2017

Mutoh America Inc., a manufacturer of wide-format printers and cutters, has promoted Ryan Arakaki to advertising and events manager, and has appointed Mark Rugen as the new director of training and education. Arakaki will continue leading the company’s vision and brand working alongside the product, training and sales teams. Rugen comes to Mutoh with more …

Industry News

Apparel Impact Institute launched

November 17, 2017

In an effort to urge collective action in the apparel and footwear industry, industry leaders have launched the Apparel Impact Institute (AII). Designed to work with brands and manufacturers to select, fund and scale projects that improve the sustainability impact of the apparel and footwear industry, the AII will identify promising projects and help bring …

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NSF expands sustainable certifications

November 16, 2017

NSF International, a global, independent organization that works to protect the environment and human health, is now an approved certification body for three additional Textile Exchange standards. NSF International’s portfolio of responsible textile certifications helps organizations demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, transparency and traceability. NSF International’s full responsible textile certification portfolio now includes recycled content, …

Industry News

INDA launches new Directory of Pilot Lines

November 15, 2017

INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, has launched print and web versions of a new Directory of Pilot Lines for Nonwoven/Engineered Materials Product Development. It is the first and only compendium of pilot facilities that offer commercially available machine time for the necessary trial activity associated with the development of new nonwoven fabrics …

Industry News

Meeks promoted at Outdura

November 14, 2017

David Meeks has been promoted to vice president, Casual Furniture, at Outdura in Hudson, N.C. Meeks’ career in the furniture and related textiles industries spans 19 years, having served in key leadership roles in the indoor and outdoor markets. In this new role, he will work with Outdura’s sales team and customers nationwide while continuing …

Industry News

OEKO-TEX ® sustainability labels

November 13, 2017

OEKO-TEX certificates and labels that allow textile manufacturers to prove compliance with environmental and social regulations in their production chains are available on the market. The use of chemicals in production, the continuous improvement of the supplier’s working and production conditions and the safety of the final product can all be independently and credibly verified …

Industry News

Smart Fabrics Summit 2018

November 10, 2017

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced that it will partner with the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) to co-host the Smart Fabrics Summit 2018 on April 24 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The Summit provides a forum for public and private sector leaders in technology, apparel and …

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Du Chesnay appointed Lectra CFO

November 9, 2017

Lectra, a Paris, France-based world leader in integrated technology solutions, has named Olivier du Chesnay chief financial officer. As deputy chief financial officer of Lectra since May 2013, du Chesnay was already supervising management control, statutory consolidation and audit, headquarters’ accounting, cash flow, credit management and change risk management, as well as sales administration. Prior …

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INVISTA awarded Conservation Certification

November 8, 2017

INVISTA’s Seaford, Del., site has demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship and education by achieving a two-year Conservation Certification from the national Wildlife Habitat Council. INVISTA received the certification for its avian and wetlands/water bodies programs. The Conservation Certification program focuses on creating and enhancing the breeding and nesting habitat for the eastern bluebird and …

Industry News

A&E expands sustainable offerings

November 7, 2017

American & Efird (A&E), a manufacturer and distributor of industrial and consumer thread and technical textiles, has launched a new recycled, air-entangled, polyester sewing thread: Magic® using REPREVE®. The thread incorporates Unifi’s REPREVE fiber made from recycled plastic bottles, providing an eco-friendly performance sewing thread option for environmentally conscious customers. The thread also provides eco-versatility …

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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 …

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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.” …

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How to attract and hire exceptional employees

August 1, 2017

In the buyer’s market of recent years, it was probably easy for you to attract top-notch job candidates. Not so much today. With new job creation being healthier than expected in 2016, and further increases so far this year, finding and hiring the best candidates for your shop will no longer be a slam dunk. …

Business

Understand your customers’ personalities for better sales

July 1, 2017

Elemental keys to staying in sync and making the sale. The first thing you need to know is that your customers are different—from each other, and from you. You may feel that you already know that, but I can tell you that many business owners and professionals have lamented to me that the client they …

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Sustainability: good business

June 1, 2017

Rainier Industries succeeds with a light footprint and a firm handshake. For Rainier Industries Ltd., sustain-ability is more than just a buzzword—it’s a way of doing business. Although often associated with high expenses, Rainier president and CEO Scott Campbell considers sustainability an initiative that makes business sense. “It’s actually pretty easy and saves money,” he …

Business

Driving business during the slow season: entertaining clients

June 1, 2017

Everyone appreciates the time of year when things start to slow down. But after a recuperation stage, tent rental companies may find themselves twiddling their thumbs, waiting for clients to call. What do you do to drive business at these times? Many operations host a showcase or an open house, blending strategy and celebration. One …

Business

Handle with care

May 1, 2017

Layoffs or firings can mean trouble for everyone involved. It’s an unwelcome responsibility, but almost every business owner and manager will eventually come face-to-face with the disagreeable task of terminating one or more employees. “Firing people is one of the toughest, most unpleasant things you do as an employer,” says James Walsh in his book …

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U.S. trade policy

April 1, 2017

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 …

Business

Pre-employment background checks

April 1, 2017

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 …

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Strategic retention

March 28, 2017

It’s one thing to find qualified workers; it’s another to keep them happy in their jobs. Inman Mills has a 116-year history as a textiles manufacturer, now staffing three plants with 700 employees. The Inman, S.C.-headquartered company enjoys a low turnover rate and, in fact, has employees who have been with the company for 40 …

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Building markets in Ukraine

March 1, 2017

Ukraine plans to attract $300 million for the development of domestic technical textiles and nonwovens industries. According to recent statements from the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, Ukraine plans to attract up to $300 million USD worth of investments for the development of the domestic technical textiles and nonwovens industries over the next several years. This …

Business

Fewer, faster, finer

March 1, 2017

How U.S. manufacturers can adapt to changing expectations of customers. Back in 2007, Trans-Tex LLC, based in Cranston, R.I., was struggling to survive. Management quickly concluded that the company, a dye sublimation heat transfer printer of narrow web fabric, could not compete against overseas competition by attacking their strengths. Those competitor strengths included manufacturing long …

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Creatively Pleasing

February 1, 2017

Phyllis Mitchell is the owner of Phyllis Mitchell’s Island Style Marine Canvas & Upholstery in Kemah, Texas. Since its opening in July of 2013, the company has been specializing in the design and fabrication of all things sewn on a sail or powerboat. Here, Mitchell shares her thoughts about the industry, the challenges her company …

Business

Tax law changes

February 1, 2017

How the Trump Administration may affect businesses. Any change in Washington, D.C., brings the possibility—and the likelihood—of tax law changes. The election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States is no exception. In his campaign, President Trump highlighted several goals of tax reform that included reducing the official corporate tax rate …

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From old to new: a glimpse into recycling technology

January 4, 2017

Recycling discarded materials into usable other things requires considerable effort and investment, but more companies are doing just that. Take Serge Ferrari North America, a Pompano Beach, Fla.-based manufacturer of flexible composite membranes used globally by numerous markets. In 1996, the company began exploring the idea of recycling its materials for the print and tent …

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When to count income

January 1, 2017

Get ready for new guidelines on ‘revenue recognition.’ Sometimes accounting rules and the tax law are logical and equitable; sometimes they aren’t. One question always seems to surface: When is a business’s revenue considered “income”? The time to claim income and deductions is dictated by rules or laws, not by a business owner’s opinion. Accounting …

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Keeping up with the Joneses

January 1, 2017

Stephan Kåmark is president of Oxnard, Calif.-based Advanced Canvas & Upholstery Services. The Channel Islands Harbor shop specializes in flooring, enclosures, covers, solar power and repairs in the marine, industrial, aviation and military sectors, offering quality fabric and hardware from the U.S. and Europe. Here, Kåmark talks about his biggest influence, the rewards that come …

Business

Good people, bad choices

December 1, 2016

Even the most well-intentioned employees are vulnerable to slipping into unethical choices when their lives lack balance. Ask an average person, “Would you voluntarily do something that is unethical or illegal?” Generally, he or she will reply something like, “Heavens, no!” People naturally prefer to do the right thing. However, when faced with enough pressure, …

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Soft sensors

December 1, 2016

Flexible data collectors that can be worn on (and eventually, in) the body have great promise for patient-focused health care, but there are privacy concerns. The market for smart sensors is expected to grow from $18.58 billion in 2015 to more than $57 billion by 2022, according to a report published this summer by MarketsandMarkets …

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Northern niche

November 1, 2016

Kate Mitchell is the owner of NOMAR, a Homer, Alaska-based company that develops unique items to serve the local industries. NOMAR first opened its doors in 1978 as Mitchell’s Marine Canvas & Upholstery. Today, it employs 15 skilled employees and offers American made clothing, ‘Laska Luggage,’ fisheries gear, parachute bags, upholstery and canvas boat tops. …

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The Halo effect

November 1, 2016

Threading carefully to minimize damages from patent infringement. The smart textile industry continues to respond to customer interest in interactive fabrics that meet a variety of needs, including the monitoring of athletic performance and the improvement of tissue reconstruction. This growth drives new approaches to solve problems, pushing the textile industry to draw on advancements …

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Price and value in the agricultural markets

October 11, 2016

Profit margins are tight for a lot of industries, but this is especially true in the agricultural arena, where profits can be wiped out—in some cases virtually overnight—by events beyond the control of growers and producers. Consequently, pricing has become a huge concern for all involved, say manufacturers of fabric agricultural products designed to mitigate …

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New technology and management strategies can prevent targeted cyberattacks

October 1, 2016

Modern, targeted cyberattacks can take any organization by surprise. And these targeted cyberattacks are increasingly widespread. CBS “Money Watch” reported in June 2015 that more than 80 percent of U.S. companies have been successfully hacked, according to a Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey. According to the CBS report, “Successful attacks by hackers involved …

Business

Shading for land or sea

October 1, 2016

Sandy Sturner is the managing director of Marine Tech LLC, a St. Thomas, Virgin Islands-based sail and canvas shop that thrives on challenging and unusual projects. Established in 1999, Marine Tech focuses during the winter “high” season on marine canvas with an emphasis on mega-yachts, and during the balance of the year concentrates on awning …

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Coating tests that evaluate five types of durability

September 1, 2016

The right coating chemistry can make the difference between a fabric that has long-lasting durability and one that fades, degrades and fails before its expected lifecycle. This is especially true of fabrics used in awnings, tents, flexible decking, outdoor furniture, marine upholstery and automotive seating, where exposure to harsh environments can hasten the product lifecycle. …

Business

Blair Belluomo brings a strong and appreciative management style to the family business

September 1, 2016

I went to school with many kids whose parents had businesses, and they thought that just because their parents ran a successful business, they could just step in and be successful as well,” says Blair Belluomo, owner and president of Belle Isle Awning in Roseville, Mich. “So many of them failed because they hadn’t had other …

Business

Test of time

September 1, 2016

Bea Heinz, owner of Jefferson Tent & Awning Co., St. Louis, Mo., has a bit of experience in the custom canvas industry—51 years to be exact. Established in 1911, the majority of Jefferson Tent & Awning’s business consists of the custom manufacture of commercial and residential canvas awnings as well as all types of canvas …

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Canada is putting a new emphasis on developing smart textiles and wearable innovations

September 1, 2016

Textile is rapidly becoming the most effective wearable technology form factor,” says Tony Chahine, CEO of Myant & Co., a member of the Canadian-based Smart Textile and Wearables Innovation Alliance (STWIA). “Smart textiles and wearables have the ability to provide a holistic picture of the body, enhance everyday life and even transform the future of …

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Bold predictions: What’s realistic for smart textiles

August 1, 2016

The words smart textiles have generated much discussion in the industry and the media recently. India-based market research firm Markets and Markets has estimated that the value of this high-tech textile sector will grow to $4.7 billion by 2020. Given that the smart textile industry was estimated to be less than $1 billion in 2014, …

Business

Providing “shady deals” since 1972

August 1, 2016

Debbie Lacy, general manager of The House of Canvas Inc., Glendale, Ariz., takes pride in her family owned and operated custom awning business. From residential and commercial window awnings to shade screens and roll curtains, everything from start to finish is done in-house. Here, Lacy shares her thoughts about the business, her predictions for the …

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Reinforcement of seismic proportions

July 29, 2016

A Japanese fabric manufacturer reinforces its showroom against future earthquakes, making a provocative visual statement. With the four main islands of Japan perched atop a convergence of three major tectonic plate boundaries, the country has a history of earthquakes and seismic activity. The ongoing seismic impact on buildings, infrastructure and population is significant, requiring some …

Business

Who’ll mind the store?

July 29, 2016

Internship programs are an untapped resource for finding the next generation of leaders for specialty fabrics businesses. After decades of building businesses within the textile industry, entrepreneurial baby boomers are entering a new phase of life. As CEOs, business owners and managers consider transitioning out of their leadership positions, they’re dealing with a lot of …

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Equipment purchasing: price and value

July 18, 2016

ROI is still an important factor in buying decisions, but qualities like reliability, durability and customer service are moving to the forefront. The return on investment (ROI) and how long it might take to achieve it is always a key consideration in most purchasing decisions, particularly during the Great Recession when pricing and ROI moved …

Business

Tips for building a strong management team

July 14, 2016

Training staff to be empowered, involved and empathetic means success in the present and in the future. Although it was years away—10 to be exact—from when Jerry Grimaud, president of Lawrence Fabric & Metal Structures Inc., St. Louis, Mo., became the company’s sole owner in 2005, he didn’t waste any time considering an exit plan. …

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Projects and prototypes

June 29, 2016

Industry breakthroughs are proving the viability of photovoltaic fabrics. The University of Wisconsin–Madison may not be the first research institution you would think of for solar textiles research, but a relatively new research team is changing that low profile substantially. Marianne Fairbanks, assistant professor in the School of Human Ecology, and Trisha Andrew, assistant professor …

Business

Foundations built to last

June 29, 2016

Mal Maher is the CEO of NC Carpet Binding & Equipment Corp., a Newark, N.J.-based company that manufactures machinery and offers supplies for the flooring trade. Founded in 1947 by his uncle and grandfather, Maher got his start in the family owned and operated business in 2000. Here, Maher shares his thoughts about production challenges, …

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Working smarter, from fabric to product

June 29, 2016

Amsterdam-based studio works with manufacturers to bring a design sensibility to smart fabrics. The theme for this year’s Met Gala, the annual Metropolitan Museum of Art style spectacular that brings out top celebrities and fashion industry icons, was about fashion in the age of technology. Some designers took the opportunity to integrate smart textiles into …

Business

A succession solution

June 29, 2016

How to determine if an employee stock ownership plan is right for your company. An exit plan is generally not at the forefront of a company owner’s mind, especially at the height of career success, but it’s no less important than any other business strategy. When the time comes to step down, a comprehensive exit …

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Smart fabrics, smart move

June 29, 2016

From research to manufacturing reality through the AFFOA Institute. The AFFOA initiative provides an exciting opportunity to enhance the functionality of the fabrics that all of us interact with every day,” says Dr. Julianna Abel, University of Minnesota mechanical engineering assistant professor. These functional fabrics, or “smart fabrics,” can include “multi-material fabrics for medical and …

Business

Tents, trends and technology

June 1, 2016

From RFID to GPS, Mike Holland uses all the newest tools to keep Chattanooga Tent Co. at the leading edge. “We embrace technology here,” says Mike Holland, president of Chattanooga Tent Co., Chattanooga, Tenn. “Especially when it comes to material handling, we’re always looking for anything that can help us work smarter and be more …

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The digital marketing leap

June 1, 2016

Asking the right questions before choosing a digital marketing partner can save you time and money. There was a time when digital marketing could casually be left to employees who were interested in dabbling in online options. Now, however, digital marketing has grown up. Every business needs a plan that genuinely integrates traditional marketing efforts …

Business

Stretching tent technology

June 1, 2016

Anton van Druten’s knowledge of the stretch tent industry spans the globe, literally. As owner of Swift Tents, a Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada-based business that specializes in the installation of stretch tents and in the training of riggers and event crews, van Druten became familiar with the tent industry while living in South Africa. Here, …

Business

Leading the third generation

May 1, 2016

Ryan Chism, estimator and project manager at The Chism Company Inc., San Antonio, Texas, is the third generation working in a family-owned and managed company. Founded in 1951, the company has grown from a small home improvement business to a recognized industry leader in fabric and metal shade and protective solutions. Here, Chism shares his …

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Going social

May 1, 2016

Gain an edge over competitors by learning to navigate the sea of social media marketing. The ways in which social media is utilized for business are nearly limitless, but it is especially valuable for building brand equity, highlighting company culture, enhancing public relations efforts, complementing customer service, augmenting business development, developing customer relationships and strengthening …

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Brand new

April 1, 2016

A strong brand identity can drive sales, while a weak one holds a business back. Your business may be keeping up with economic and market changes and be on the leading edge of industry trends, but is your brand keeping pace? There’s no denying that today’s business culture is fast-moving and constantly changing. A leading …

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Ideas in harness

April 1, 2016

Michael Lester doesn’t shy away from a challenge. He builds a team of fellow innovators and comes up with tensioned fabric solutions. “We’re always innovating,” says Michael Lester, managing director of MakMax Australia Pty. Ltd. in Brisbane, Australia, a world-renowned company building custom membrane structures and manufacturing a range of shade products. “We’ve always got …

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Against the elements

April 1, 2016

Donald Franks is the owner of Shade One Awnings, a Toms River, N.J.-based awning company that specializes in residential and commercial awning sales, service and installation. Franks started the company in 2002 and has since set himself apart from competitors by focusing on motorized retractable awnings. Here, Franks talks about how he got his start, …

Business

Collecting sun and rain

March 1, 2016

A pair of dynamic fabric structures bookend the Taiwan landscape. From the northern most tip of Taiwan, where capital city Taipei is located, to the southwest coast, where Kaohsiung City, the country’s industrial center, greets the setting sun, two new installations showcase the capabilities of tensioned fabric. The north-south oriented island nation of Taiwan (population …

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Sailing the ocean blue

March 1, 2016

Leo Pohlmann, owner and designer of Uncharted Marine Canvas, Gulf Breeze, Fla., has been serving the Gulf Coast’s boat canvas and marine upholstery needs for more than 25 years. Recognized by the Marine Fabricators Association for his achievement in design, Pohlmann’s business objective of providing customers with cutting-edge material and design products has been a …

Business

Recent tax changes

March 1, 2016

Tax savings from another late law. Once again, lawmakers waited until late in the year to pass another “extenders” bill. The new “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015” retroactively extends quite a few tax-saving provisions, many of them quite narrow in scope such as those for film and theater producers, NASCAR® racetrack …

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New IFAI chairman Steve Ellington shares his vision for the Industrial Fabrics Association International

November 1, 2017

With the geopolitical challenges and opportunities the specialty fabrics industry faces, we, as an association, need to make sure that we continue to educate our members and provide them with opportunities,” says Steve Ellington, president of Trivantage LLC, Glen Raven’s distribution and marketing services subsidiary in Glen Raven, N.C. “We need to make sure that …

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IFAI Expo 2017: Report from New Orleans

November 1, 2017

Despite the hurricanes and wildfires of late summer, IFAI Expo 2017 attracted many new first-time attendees to New Orleans in late September. And exhibitors reported that attendees were more likely than previous years to purchase their products, services and equipment. Aside from exhibitor-attendee interaction, the show floor was a hive of lively “campfire” educational sessions …

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Tension tents hold their ground while offering an aesthetic edge

November 1, 2017

One of many crucial questions tent rental providers must help clients planning upscale outdoor events answer is whether they want a tension or frame-supported tent. Several factors influence the decision, from aesthetics to weather and space restraints to pricing. And while more clients are choosing the latter, tension tents are not without significant advantages. Center …

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Biomimetics: Fabrics borrow from nature to solve problems

October 31, 2017

For most people, arriving home from a hike covered in burrs would likely cause aggravation. But for George de Mestral, the burrs became an inspiration. Curious about how they clung so stubbornly to his clothes, the Swiss electrical engineer put them under a microscope, which revealed hundreds of “hooks” that attached to anything with a …

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Lloyd Verduyn focuses on continuous improvement in products and processes at Verduyn Tarps

October 1, 2017

“As a company, we believe in the Japanese principle of Kaizen, which is the philosophy of continuous improvement,” says Lloyd Verduyn, president and owner of Verduyn Tarps, based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. “For us, that extends beyond processes and personal efficiency to our products as well. We’re never finished making our tarp systems better. That …

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Multifunctional fabrics and material innovations

October 1, 2017

What spurs innovation? Does the kernel of a new idea spring forth fully formed from the brow of a genius, or does it gestate over a long, arduous path involving sweat and heavy lifting? Maybe a bit of both, if you dig into the histories of new materials or processes. Often you will find that …

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2017 Equipment Showcase

October 1, 2017

With technology taking over and automation ascendant, manufacturers are reinventing themselves and their operations to maximize efficiency, effectiveness, safety, reliability, productivity and profitability. The equipment they choose, especially when skilled labor is in short supply, doesn’t replace craftsmanship—it enhances it. We asked our equipment suppliers to tell us about the advantages of their latest innovations …

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How to expand into new market segments without sacrificing core products

October 1, 2017

For many custom fabricators, diversification is the name of the game. Recognizing—and seizing—opportunities to venture into new market segments can mean the difference between staying in business or (perish the thought) going under. But companies can also become too diversified, to the point where potential clients don’t have a clear idea of what’s being made …

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Fibers and fabrics play a starring role in the effort to harvest kinetic energy

September 1, 2017

Back in the day, a telephone was expected to perform a limited number of functions: alert you when someone was trying to reach you and connect you to those you were trying to reach. Technology advanced and phones became more portable. The same sort of process is happening to fabrics and fibers. The possibility of …

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Elissa Decker’s fabric expertise helps Moss Inc. build global growth

September 1, 2017

The properties of any fabric will be determined by the combined characteristics of its fiber, yarn, construction method, and dyeing and finishing processes,” says Elissa Decker, senior manager of materials, Moss Inc., Chicago, Ill. “It’s such an exciting time to work in the industry, because there’s a lot of performance that you can build into …

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From machines to humans: Boost the productivity of your business

September 1, 2017

Improving productivity depends on a combination of efficient employees, equipment and processes. Driving improvement in all these areas involves examining the current practices in place and making adjustments to systems, employee training, technology, equipment and tools. From small tweaks in communication processes to large technology improvements, companies are using many techniques to boost productivity. Tecsew …

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The efficiencies and versatility of advanced and automated equipment are helping bring back the U.S. sewing industry

September 1, 2017

When U.S. textile jobs started to leave en masse for China and other cheap-labor countries in the 1990s, an entire industry scrambled to pick up the pieces. Companies that survived the upheaval frequently shared one common trait: adaptability. Some contract sewers courted niche non-apparel product makers, while others invested in equipment to become leaders in …

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Information please: Automated reporting paves the way to productivity

September 1, 2017

In addition to reviewing in-house monthly profit and loss statements, The Dize Co., an awnings fabricator in Winston Salem, N.C., monitors information gathered by an independent, web-based company. “I can go online and see what we installed the week before and what we have in the pipeline for the next four to six weeks,” president/CEO …

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Go with the flow: Relocating a business opens the door to efficient shop layouts

September 1, 2017

After 85 years in a historical, four-story building, Ohio Awning & Manufacturing Co. moved to a newer, one-story building. The Cleveland-based company took advantage of the relocation to design its new floor layout with workflow in mind. The move also allowed Ohio Awning to invest in a cutting machine, which it didn’t have space for …

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Does “Made in the USA” matter in the sewn-goods industry?

August 30, 2017

A 2015 survey by Consumer Reports indicates that nearly 8 in 10 American consumers would rather buy a product made in United States than an imported one—and 60 percent of them would be willing to pay 10 percent more for it. But the sewn-goods industry faces critical questions about the “Made in the USA” label: …

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Fabric helps brick-and-mortar retailers take visual branding to another level

August 1, 2017

The effects of society’s ever-increasing digital dependency, overabundance of shopping malls and shifting spending habits are not doing the retail industry any favors. But its future is not all doom and gloom. A study released earlier this year by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and IBM found that most members of Generation Z—the generation following …

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Chad Miller keeps American National Manufacturing on top of changing market demands

August 1, 2017

People often ask if we make a particular product, and the answer is often no. But can we? To that, the answer is yes,” says Chad Miller, director of contract manufacturing of American National Mfg. Inc. and formerly co-owner of Plas-Tech Sealing Technologies, Corona, Calif. “We have everything we need to make new products. All …

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Crossover skills give upholsterers business opportunities in many markets

August 1, 2017

The president of the Professional Upholsterers’ Association of Minnesota proudly states that she was the fifth woman to graduate from an upholstery curriculum at Minneapolis Technical College in 1977. “It was considered a man’s field back then,” says Diana Shroyer Guenther, owner of Shroyer Custom Upholstery in Coon Rapids, Minn. She worked one year for …

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Know-how now

July 24, 2017

Experienced upholsterers consider the loss of training in their trade, and how to bring in new talent. With 39 years in the upholstery industry, Chip Lueck recalls a vast pool of shops around the country with talented upholsterers. “It’s not there anymore,” says the owner of Recovery Room in Panama City Beach, Fla. “I’ve talked …

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An education in upholstery

July 24, 2017

The owner of The Funky Little Chair sets out to preserve quality and services by offering upholstery classes at her shop. “The Funky Little Chair” could be the title of a children’s book, but Cynthia Bleskachek’s lessons are for adults. “If people want to be a professional upholsterer, they have to dig in and figure …

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Mike Peterson reshapes company culture at SugarHouse Awning

July 1, 2017

Mike Peterson restructures an awning company’s culture by asking hard questions, collaborating on the answers, and fearlessly changing the rules. Our old philosophy was to focus on profitability and the end result—and in order to get there we did our best to take care of our customers, and our employees came last,” says Mike Peterson, …

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Closing the loop: long-term sustainability strategies for textile manufacturers

July 1, 2017

Textile manufacturers are deploying sustainability strategies and forming partnerships to green up products and processes, helping manufacturers meet the requirements of even the most eco-concerned customers—and getting a good start on the circular economy of the future. For most manufacturers, eco-friendly, sustainable products are becoming a competitive necessity. And as concern over environmental issues has …

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Layers of safety: textile innovations offer protection when disaster strikes

June 29, 2017

A suit of plate armor weighing up to 100 pounds. A 10-foot-thick stone fortress wall. A thin piece of highly engineered fabric. Whether the danger is a force of nature or a manufactured threat, all three provide protection. But much has changed since medieval days of storming the castle and the logic that “the heavier …

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Transitioning to new leadership for the family business

June 1, 2017

Kate Mitchell transitions her diverse fabrics business on the Alaskan frontier to her children- who value a courageous past and anticipate a bright future.  We didn’t homestead like the Kilcher family from Discovery Channel’s ‘Alaska: The Last Frontier,’ but we were here before the roads were paved,” says Kate Mitchell, founder and co-owner of NOMAR …

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Management plans for innovation in process and product

June 1, 2017

Centering business processes on continual improvement clears the path for innovative ideas to become innovative products. Every industry-changing product started as a great idea. But without an effective organizational structure in place, not every great idea has the opportunity to come to fruition. A good manager knows this. An innovative manager puts it into practice. …

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Cutting-edge fabric innovation: technology that serves the customer

June 1, 2017

The cutting edge of fabric innovation—generating energy, stopping bullets, fighting pollution and keeping feet happy at the same time. Partnering against pollution It’s no longer just a prototype: The first adidas running shoe made almost completely out of plastic recovered from the ocean officially launched earlier this year. The company hopes to sell 1 million …

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Business innovation throughout the textile supply chain

June 1, 2017

Pushing, planning and budgeting for innovation relies on creativity, construction, communication and collaboration throughout the industry. It was a tough night for firefighters called out to three major blazes overnight. One exhausted man slogged back to the rig in his soaking-wet turnout gear. When another firefighter touched his shoulder, he screamed. It’s a steam burn—moisture …

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Building the best teams and the best practices to put innovation to work

June 1, 2017

By building the best teams, improving continuously and putting the customer first—always—companies that put innovation to work keep customers coming back. When Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, introduced the iPhone in 2007, his name became synonymous with innovation—a business practice and marketing advantage that isn’t particular to any one industry. Nor is it …

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Mastering the craft

May 1, 2017

Jerry Margrave keeps his company on track by staying on top of industry skills, technology and opportunities to solve customer problems. “Every time the phone rings we have a new opportunity to see how we can help somebody,” says Jerry Margrave, MFC, owner of Specialty Trim & Awning Inc., Bakersfield, Calif. “That’s the way we …

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Shade 101: Beyond the basics

May 1, 2017

Successful marketing and selling means reaching, educating and caring for customers—in print, in person and online. Sit outside in sun and rain.  Reduce cooling costs and glare. Protect indoor and outdoor furnishings from UV rays. Add a level of privacy while enhancing the architecture of your home or business. Increase property value. Gain visibility for …

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Making a mark

May 1, 2017

As the interest in and use of digital textile printing expands, wide-format printers have become essential players, opening up new and profitable opportunities for specialty fabricators. Wide-format digital printing is expanding exponentially, spurred by advancements in printer, ink and fabric technology. Deployed for all manner of products—apparel, décor, banners, murals, signage, upholstery, wallpaper, vehicle wraps …

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May the workforce be with you

April 1, 2017

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 …

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From the ground up

April 1, 2017

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 …

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Opening the door to architects

April 1, 2017

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 …

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Game on

March 1, 2017

A competitive mind-set is what manufacturers of high-tech fabrics and fabric products say is powering demand for their high-performance solutions.  When you think about high-tech sports and recreation products designed to help athletes hone the competitive edge, equipment rather than fabric likely springs to mind first, but this reaction is behind the times—fabrics have evolved to …

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Bring it on

March 1, 2017

Jacob Schwartz navigates the design and construction process by leveraging group strengths, examining all options and committing to long-term solutions for clients. “Without exception, the more—and earlier—we are engaged in the design process, the more successful the fabric application becomes,” says Jacob Schwartz, owner and director of engineering and construction for International Tension Structures (ITS), Phoenix, …

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Shade with character

March 1, 2017

Fabricators bring together innovative and classic elements to protect their boating customers from the sun’s harmful rays. Whether permanent or removable, shading on boats has a big job to fulfill: protecting the crew and passengers from the sun while creating a comfortable environment. And boat owners are becoming more knowledgeable about the health dangers that …

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The 2017 State of the Industry: Part 2

March 1, 2017

The slow economic recovery after the Great Recession has made kick-starting growth in the specialty fabrics industry a continuing challenge. Five of the six key markets covered in Part 2 of this report showed growth in 2016, which is expected to continue in 2017. (The military market was down 6 percent, and is expected to …

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Glamp it up

February 1, 2017

The growing glamping trend brings together comfort and the great outdoors-whether for a weekend getaway or as a way of life.  Glamorous camping—aka glamping—is more than camping for people who want a weekend in nature but don’t want the challenges that come with being outdoors. Glamping is fabric at its best. It’s soft shadows that …

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The buck starts here

February 1, 2017

Chris Ritsema leads his company by building a strong culture that encourages growth and success for his employees. My vision has always been to grow a company that empowers its employees,” says Chris Ritsema, owner of Canvas Innovations in Holland, Mich. “I want to give people a reason to stay here and build their careers—and …

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More than covered

February 1, 2017

Demands increase for truck covers and tarps that offer weather protection and driver convenience. With millions of trucks being utilized across a wealth of industries, tarps and truck covers are big business for manufacturers and specialty fabric suppliers. As the industry continues to grow, some companies have increased their efforts to gain market share within …

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Part 1: State of the Industry 2017

February 1, 2017

Despite some slowing of global GDP in 2016, growth of the U.S. and Canadian specialty fabrics industry is slow but steady, and markets like fabric structures, tent rental and manufacturing, fabric graphics and marine fabrication are outpacing national averages. The pace is expected to continue, but can also be somewhat constrained by changes in unemployment …

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Air Apparent

January 1, 2017

Companies and event organizers use inflatables to grab public attention and promote their brands.  Although he now sells spaces in luxury subterranean survival shelters, Robert Vicino once focused his entrepreneurial spirit on loftier altitudes. He put a 90-foot King Kong on the Empire State Building and designed Otto the Autopilot for the farcical movie Airplane. …

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Sun-Powered textiles

January 1, 2017

Fabrics with self-cleaning properties can last longer, require less maintenance and even reduce air pollution.  Sunlight can damage many types of fabrics, yet it can also have a beneficial effect on textiles that are enhanced with self-cleaning technologies. Thanks to functional coatings and pioneering research, self-cleaning properties—powered by the sun—are extending the life of textiles …

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Sustainable Opportunity

January 1, 2017

Eric and Angie Riggins create new products and capture new markets to ensure a steady stream of work throughout the year.  We’re always looking for opportunities to grow the business,” says Angie Riggins, co-owner of Alpha Canvas, Charlotte, N.C. “We have to be innovative to set ourselves apart from our competitors—we find ways to meet …

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Developing friendlier fabrics

January 1, 2017

As sustainability is increasingly important to growing numbers of consumers, fabric manufacturers are broadening their eco-friendly offerings, giving specialty fabricators plenty of green options. As a famous frog once lamented, it’s not easy being green. The same can be said for companies wanting to “green” up their product offerings and manufacturing processes, since doing so …

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Built for comfort, durability, and safety

December 19, 2016

Fabric manufacturers and upholsterers balance traveler and commuter requirements. Whether for business or for pleasure, people are always on the go. More than 121 million U.S. workers are employed full time, according to 2015 statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor. To reach their work destinations, 85 percent of these workers commute in automobiles, and …

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IFAI Expo 2016: advanced textiles

December 1, 2016

Today’s textile testing is challenged with evaluating varied performance qualities for multiple environments. The Advanced Textiles Testing Track at IFAI Expo examined textile testing in light of a new wave of textile developments. Dr. Emiel Den Hartog, North Carolina State University (NCSU) Center for Research on Textile Protection & Comfort (TPACC), focused on a “multi-level” …

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IFAI Expo 2016: shade and weather protection

December 1, 2016

The special shade section on the show flow featured end products ranging from retractable awning systems, shade structures and canopies to motorized shade and weather solutions of all types. Programming and events included “Super Tuesday” seminars, tours of local shops and a keynote lunch, plus Wednesday evening’s opening reception at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. …

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IFAI Expo 2016: specialty fabrics programming

December 1, 2016

A variety of educational choices drove the Specialty Fabrics Program schedule Oct. 18-21 at the IFAI 2016 Expo. Attendees enjoyed dozens of presentations and “campfire” sessions featuring experts on topics as diverse as training the next generation of skilled workers, understanding functional fabric design and beating offshore manufacturers. The exhibit hall showcased the latest in fabrics, …

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Fighting pink stain

November 1, 2017

The work “pink” brings to mind a little girl dressed as a princess, cotton candy at the county fair and plastic lawn flamingos. But for those in the marine industry, the word takes on a sinister connotation as a stain caused by streptoverticillium reticulum. It’s a far greater menace than a never-washed red garment laundered …

Advanced Textiles

Fabrics go multifunctional

October 31, 2017

Textiles have evolved from being commodity materials to providing an array of benefits, including additional comfort and protection, improved hygiene and support for health care. The innate nature of fibers can provide certain special characteristics—cotton adds breathability and a smooth hand, and wool offers thermal comfort, for example. But due to the growing need for …

Advanced Textiles

Eco-friendly antimicrobials and sustainable solutions

October 1, 2017

Antimicrobial properties are fast becoming a required treatment in textiles for applications that range from hospital drapes and linen to contract and domestic textiles as well as clothing. While offering protection from germs is a positive factor, there has been some disquiet concerning the environmental impact of antimicrobial treatments. In response, fiber and fabric manufacturers …

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A new NAFTA?

September 11, 2017

How trade deals currently in discussion could impact the textile industry As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to improve U.S. trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since taking office and after threatening to withdraw the United States from NAFTA unless its terms were renegotiated, President Trump has cajoled Mexico and …

Advanced Textiles

Preventing permastink goes beyond antimicrobial solutions

September 1, 2017

It’s everywhere and it’s not attractive. Permastink—the unpleasant smell that won’t wash out of textile products—has become a topic of conversation for consumers and brands alike. Polyester and other synthetic fibers are the materials of choice for the active performance and athleisure styles consumers now wear throughout the day. Unfortunately, these synthetic fibers are perceived …

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Museum of Modern Art fabric exhibition in 1956

September 1, 2017

In 1956, all of New York City’s art world was abuzz about a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). It wasn’t the retrospective about the French Impressionist painter Henri Matisse, whose works were newly arrived in New York from Paris (a show that originated at the French National Museum of Modern Art), …

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Choosing the right foam for your seating project

August 1, 2017

From cockpit cushions with hull angles to bosun’s chairs and boat mattresses, choosing the best solution for cushion foam is a bit of a science. The task can feel daunting given the complexity of choices in foam types, materials, densities and compression factors, but choosing correctly is crucial to a project’s success. Factor in comfort …

Advanced Textiles

Nonwoven advances in performance and sustainability

August 1, 2017

The global market for nonwovens is expected to grow from a 2015 level of $2.9 billion to $8 billion by 2022, according to Stratistics Market Research Consulting, specialists in global cross-sector market research. Existing market sectors such as health, hygiene and automotive applications are expanding, and others are being added, with much of the growth …

Advanced Textiles

Thermal control technology in textiles expands to a wide variety of industries

June 29, 2017

Recent advances in thermal control for apparel have grabbed the headlines in this type of textile technology, but there are highly sophisticated materials and technologies that are less obvious, but at least as impressive, especially in building interiors and exteriors and other energy-saving applications in everyday life. Depending on the desired outcome, an approach to …

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A sculptural fabric roof for a high-end mall in Mexico

June 1, 2017

A sculptural fabric roof complements the expansion of a high-end mall. Cuernavaca is the capital of Mexico’s Morelos state, located in the lush Tepozteco Mountains just south of and bordering Mexico City. With a warm, stable climate that ranges year-round from 20–30 degrees C (68–86 degrees F), it has legitimate claim to “City of the …

Advanced Textiles

Patent law for innovators

June 1, 2017

Protecting the technologies and products that drive growth in the textile industry. Is innovation a key component of your business plan?  Will you distinguish yourself with unique product offerings? Whether protecting our men and women in uniform, advancing the treatment of medical conditions, or adding to a more sustainable tomorrow, innovation fuels the growth of textile …

Advanced Textiles

Better together

May 1, 2017

Collaborative efforts support growth in the smart textiles industry. The more high tech an industry is, the greater the range of expertise it may need. Advanced textiles, particularly smart materials, are a prime example of this. Textiles often undergo a variety of processes requiring specialized skills and equipment, so collaboration is essential to the industry. …

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Living off the land

May 1, 2017

Ohana Yurts encourages sustainable living, one yurt at a time. To Jenny and Nathan Toler, a yurt is more than a temporary shelter or even a permanent home; it’s a way to reconnect with the earth. “It’s living in the environment as opposed to being protected from it,” explains Nathan, who owns Haleiwa, Hawaii-based Ohana …

Advanced Textiles

Piezoelectric energy harvesting

April 1, 2017

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 …

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High-performance sewing

April 1, 2017

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 …

Advanced Textiles

Keeping up with carbon

March 1, 2017

Demand for carbon fiber stresses market ability to provide it,  but costs and efficiences are expected to improve. Although carbon fiber as a commodity has been around since the late 1960s, only in the past 10 years can there truly be considered a dynamic market of real substance with steady growth potential. Others in the …

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Covering the environment

February 20, 2017

Eco-concerns increase in truck and tarp industry These days, nearly every business is burdened with some kind of environmental challenge. These challenges include cutting landfill deposits, disposing toxic-laden wastes in a proper manner and educating employees on workplace recycling. Nearly every company has pressures from regulators and customers to change their products and processes to …

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Green glamping

February 17, 2017

Eco-friendly glamping structures designed to keep Mother Nature smiling. Glamping brings together the best of two worlds—all the splendor Mother Nature has to offer in posh, elegant accommodations. As if that weren’t enough, glamping structures are usually designed with fabrics that blend into the surroundings that leave less of a footprint to challenge the environment. …

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Inflation rates

February 1, 2017

Blow-up shapes and structures make a valuable medium for edgy and interactive art. When Los Angeles based artist Paul McCarthy installed two works in Munich’s Haus der Kunst, the widely known provocateur hired a company that specializes in inflatables for branding to create a flowerpot of geraniums to cover the museum’s roofline. The blow-up vinyl-coated …

Advanced Textiles

Special (fabric) effects

February 1, 2017

Ubisoft and OCAD University students worked together to advance the technology of the motion capture suit. Ubisoft, a leading creator, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and services, is behind some of the world’s most recognizable game brands, including Assassin’s Creed, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon and Watch Dogs, and more recently has launched Ubisoft Motion …

Advanced Textiles

Better chemistry, better products

February 1, 2017

Sustainability in textile development and manufacturing is an ongoing conversation, much of it revolving around processes that conserve energy, water and natural resources. Beyond manufacturing processes, however, sustainability issues are driving true technical innovation, resulting in new products that offer a host of advantages. Replacing PFCs The search for alternatives to perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) such …

Advanced Textiles

Self-cleaning textiles embrace sustainability

January 10, 2017

Self-cleaning textiles and coatings are making inroads in a variety of industries including those related to medical, architectural and fashion endeavors. Using hydrophilic and photocatalytic properties, self-cleaning textile technology allows fabrics to be cleaned simply by water without using cleaning agents. The photocatalytic component of these textiles can help decompose organics on the textile using …

Advanced Textiles

Knowing what you need

January 1, 2017

Examining antimicrobial and omni-repellency performance. Textile testing was front and center at IFAI’s Advanced Textiles Conference and on the IFAI Expo 2016 show floor in Charlotte, N.C. Testing to be assured that a product will perform as expected is an important step in the development of any application; in antimicrobial performance, it is becoming even …

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Flying the “Paper Airplane”

January 1, 2017

Canvas Specialty, Inc. works through challenges to create a shade structure that is also art. The simplicity of the paper airplane has made it a popular toy for generations of kids (and adults), even in this age of high-tech entertainment. But while the shade structure installed recently in Los Angeles’ Grand Park was designed to resemble …

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Stability at sea

January 1, 2017

Redesigned nylon para sea anchor provides unmatched strength and support for a new oil vessel. Fabric’s wide-ranging aquatic capabilities are often observed above water in the form of sails, for example, or inflatable and flexible boating structures. When put to work beneath the surface, dependence on its strength is just as—if not more—critical, succeeding only …

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Eyes in the sky

December 1, 2016

Drone photography is the latest tool for tent professionals to show off their stuff. I flew a drone for the first time at IFAI Tent Expo 2015 and was instantly obsessed. The experience of controlling a copter 400 feet away was amazing! The things I could see and the photos and video I could take …

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Carrying on traditions

December 1, 2016

William Miller is the owner, manager and fabricator of Colonville Canvas, a Clare, Mich.-based company that specializes in marine covers, enclosures, bimini tops and upholstery. Miller grew up learning about the industry in his father’s shop. He opened his own shop in 2014 and has carried on the family tradition of making quality products. Here, …

Advanced Textiles

Biomimetics and biotextiles

December 1, 2016

Imitating nature offers sustainable choices in new textiles. Nature provides the inspiration for many innovations in business, including in the field of textiles. Some efforts, however, are quite specific in imitating nature. In fact, an entire field of science has blossomed under the name “biomimetics,” a term first coined in 1969 by Dr. Otto Schmitt, …

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Beyond branding

November 29, 2016

Inflatables manufacturers find diverse markets in addition to promotional products. To attract the attention of drivers, car dealerships float spheres or other shapes with automakers’ logos. People dressed in inflatable costumes that identify them as brand mascots line festival walkways to interact with attendees. Giant replicas of consumer goods—whether it’s a can of beer or …

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Fear of flying?

November 29, 2016

Companies that make air- and helium-filled products weigh the risks. When Pink Floyd’s trademark helium pig got too high at a Coachella concert in 2008 and drifted away, no one got hurt—even though the pink inflatable was, as the Associated Press reported, “as tall as a two-story house and as wide as two school buses.” …

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Crossing over, down under

November 1, 2016

A fabric-clad pedestrian bridge is poised to become a landmark entry point to Western Australia’s in-the-works sports stadium. Australian football fans ready to cheer on the 2018 Australian Football League season will travel from all across the country to attend the highly anticipated opening of the new Perth Stadium and Sports Precinct located on Western …

Advanced Textiles

Military complexities

November 1, 2016

Smart materials mean lighter and more comfortable gear—and more flexible procurement policies. The nature of military warfare has undergone a seismic change over the past twenty years. Theaters of engagement are now more diverse and complex, demanding more of military personnel than ever before. The traditional procurement policy of buying in bulk to ensure standardization …

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Five climates, five approaches

November 1, 2016

Weather and water conditions dictate how regional shops make enclosures for exacting customers. Local geography can define a business. In the case of marine fabrication shops, locality factors into everything from work schedules to choice of materials. Whether the shops are based in the subtropical heat of Florida or the often-chilly climate of the Great …

Advanced Textiles

The growing ground for durable nonwovens

October 11, 2016

David Nelson was devoted to nonwoven technology at 3M when the Minnesota-based corporate powerhouse became a charter member of The Nonwovens Institute, which launched in 2007 at North Carolina State University. Nelson served on the institute’s industrial advisory board for six years, three years as chairman. He also served for six years on the board …

Advanced Textiles

New materials take portable structures to another level

October 1, 2016

For Harry Osborne, creative lead at “brand experience agency” SET Live, headquartered in London, the graphic applications and collection of temporary structures throughout the “Google on the Beach 2015” (GoB) event were an exercise in balance. “A balance between getting the most from Anthony Burril’s incredible artwork,” says Osborne, “but also satisfying the local council’s …

Advanced Textiles

Advanced textiles in Russia

October 1, 2016

Government invests $300 million to expand applications in the defense, aerospace and geosynthetic industries. The Russian government plans to invest up to $300 million USD in 2016 and 2017 toward developing the technical textiles industry, according to recent statements by Denis Manturov, Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade. Manturov is responsible for the development of …

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Bob Koerner has devoted more than 40 years to geosynthetics industry

October 1, 2016

When Dr. Robert M. Koerner talks about geosynthetics, the cadence of his speech quickens and the passion behind his words suggests that geotextiles, geosynthetic clay liners, geomembranes and geogrids (to name a few) could quite possibly be the most exciting materials civil engineers have at their disposal. As a leader in the field of geosynthetics, …

Advanced Textiles

Applications for durable nonwovens

September 19, 2016

Nonwovens may be best known for their role in disposable products; but, with advances in technology, these engineered fabrics are reaching further into markets where traditional textiles have been used. Ulrich Hornfeck, board member and chief commercial officer at Sandler AG, offers examples from the German-based company’s portfolio: Transportation: interior and exterior absorbers, carrier materials …

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Enhancing the “legitimacy” of portable structures

September 16, 2016

The concept of a portable structure seems contrary to normal expectations. A building, after all, should be grounded with a solid footing and not move! Nevertheless, Aaron Betsky, architecture critic, curator and the dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Scottsdale, Ariz., argued in a recent online opinion piece that temporary structures should …

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Faith in the details

September 6, 2016

When it comes to specifying hardware for shade structures, fabricators and clients can rely on the wisdom of “sweating the details.” “Ideally, the fabricator and architect should be working together from the schematic phase,” says Erik Jarvie, PE, sales engineer with Tension Structures, a division of Eide Industries Inc., Cerritos, Calif.  “The knowledge of a …

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A steel-framed fabric building shelters, protects and stores

September 1, 2016

With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, agriculture must overcome myriad demands required to feed so many people. A mineral known as potash provides a critical piece in solving this puzzle. Created during the evaporation of ancient seabeds, potash is most widely used as potassium fertilizer. “Potassium is one of the …

Advanced Textiles

Innovators find a variety of markets for color-changing materials

September 1, 2016

New research and applications are proving that color-changing smart textiles continue to offer viable technology and products in the smart fabrics marketplace. Most recently, researchers from the School of Information, University of California, Berkeley, have developed a new color-changing “smart thread,” Ebb, that turns fabric into a computerized display. According to information provided by the …

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Sheltering safety standards

August 1, 2016

Rain or shine, fabric roofing structure allows a crash test facility to continue research year-round. Earlier this year, the National Safety Council estimated motor vehicle deaths to be 8 percent higher in 2015 than they were in 2014—the largest year-over-year percentage increase in 50 years. While a multitude of factors contribute to vehicle crashes, safety …

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Getting the word out about fabric graphics

August 1, 2016

Fabric graphics have become a marketing and branding essential. As they go outside to play, the medium is definitely part of the message. Fabric graphics are a perfect vehicle for our branding-obsessed culture, providing the ability to transmit messages in fun, colorful, impactful and attention-getting ways. Fabrics and fabric graphics are at home everywhere indoors, …

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Adding lighting to outdoor attractions

July 21, 2016

To make outdoor fabric structures and displays stand out, integrated lighting systems are setting new standards. No matter what the fabric structure or whether it’s installed outdoors or inside, illumination adds the finishing touch, transforming the extraordinary into something even more unforgettable and making an ordinary tent or display much more memorable. Lighting invites people …

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Equipment purchasing: price and value

July 18, 2016

ROI is still an important factor in buying decisions, but qualities like reliability, durability and customer service are moving to the forefront. The return on investment (ROI) and how long it might take to achieve it is always a key consideration in most purchasing decisions, particularly during the Great Recession when pricing and ROI moved …

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Revealing the romance of sailcloth tents

July 13, 2016

Trendspotting online shows tent renters and manufacturers what brides are looking for. If you want to know what’s trending in fashionable apparel, look to Paris, France. If you want to know what’s trending in automotive design, look to Torino, Italy. If you want to know what’s trending in cuisine, look on either coast of the …

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Digital printing: New fabrics, inks and printers are expanding graphic applications, indoors and out

June 16, 2016

Advances in technology are making custom graphics easier, more affordable and much more impressive. Fabric printing has come a long way from the days when vinyl banners were the norm in signage and screen-printed T-shirts were the gold standard in custom apparel. “Advancements in digital printing technology have made it easy to print photorealistic images …

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Special effects for digitally printed interior décor

June 14, 2016

Combine textured fabrics, dazzling metallic effects, LED lighting and acoustics for interiors that impress. In and of themselves, digitally printed wall and window coverings, as well as upholstery-type products for interior décor, add pizzazz to residential and commercial settings. Additional effects can boost the impact significantly. The first product from DreamScape™, a division of Roysons …

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Canopy protects New Zealand kindergarten from UV rays

June 1, 2016

Mid-century kindergarten in New Zealand gains a contemporary facelift and enhanced enrollment—and a healthy dose of shade. Of all the roles that shade structures fulfill—from aesthetic appeal to space expansion— their most critical function is weather protection. Few places require as much protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays as New Zealand, which, according to the country’s …

Industry News

Staff changes at Mutoh

November 20, 2017

Mutoh America Inc., a manufacturer of wide-format printers and cutters, has promoted Ryan Arakaki to advertising and events manager, and has appointed Mark Rugen as the new director of training and education. Arakaki will continue leading the company’s vision and brand working alongside the product, training and sales teams. Rugen comes to Mutoh with more …

Industry News

Apparel Impact Institute launched

November 17, 2017

In an effort to urge collective action in the apparel and footwear industry, industry leaders have launched the Apparel Impact Institute (AII). Designed to work with brands and manufacturers to select, fund and scale projects that improve the sustainability impact of the apparel and footwear industry, the AII will identify promising projects and help bring …

Industry News

NSF expands sustainable certifications

November 16, 2017

NSF International, a global, independent organization that works to protect the environment and human health, is now an approved certification body for three additional Textile Exchange standards. NSF International’s portfolio of responsible textile certifications helps organizations demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, transparency and traceability. NSF International’s full responsible textile certification portfolio now includes recycled content, …

Industry News

INDA launches new Directory of Pilot Lines

November 15, 2017

INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, has launched print and web versions of a new Directory of Pilot Lines for Nonwoven/Engineered Materials Product Development. It is the first and only compendium of pilot facilities that offer commercially available machine time for the necessary trial activity associated with the development of new nonwoven fabrics …

Industry News

Meeks promoted at Outdura

November 14, 2017

David Meeks has been promoted to vice president, Casual Furniture, at Outdura in Hudson, N.C. Meeks’ career in the furniture and related textiles industries spans 19 years, having served in key leadership roles in the indoor and outdoor markets. In this new role, he will work with Outdura’s sales team and customers nationwide while continuing …

Industry News

OEKO-TEX ® sustainability labels

November 13, 2017

OEKO-TEX certificates and labels that allow textile manufacturers to prove compliance with environmental and social regulations in their production chains are available on the market. The use of chemicals in production, the continuous improvement of the supplier’s working and production conditions and the safety of the final product can all be independently and credibly verified …

Industry News

Smart Fabrics Summit 2018

November 10, 2017

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced that it will partner with the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) to co-host the Smart Fabrics Summit 2018 on April 24 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The Summit provides a forum for public and private sector leaders in technology, apparel and …

Industry News

Du Chesnay appointed Lectra CFO

November 9, 2017

Lectra, a Paris, France-based world leader in integrated technology solutions, has named Olivier du Chesnay chief financial officer. As deputy chief financial officer of Lectra since May 2013, du Chesnay was already supervising management control, statutory consolidation and audit, headquarters’ accounting, cash flow, credit management and change risk management, as well as sales administration. Prior …

Industry News

INVISTA awarded Conservation Certification

November 8, 2017

INVISTA’s Seaford, Del., site has demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship and education by achieving a two-year Conservation Certification from the national Wildlife Habitat Council. INVISTA received the certification for its avian and wetlands/water bodies programs. The Conservation Certification program focuses on creating and enhancing the breeding and nesting habitat for the eastern bluebird and …

Industry News

A&E expands sustainable offerings

November 7, 2017

American & Efird (A&E), a manufacturer and distributor of industrial and consumer thread and technical textiles, has launched a new recycled, air-entangled, polyester sewing thread: Magic® using REPREVE®. The thread incorporates Unifi’s REPREVE fiber made from recycled plastic bottles, providing an eco-friendly performance sewing thread option for environmentally conscious customers. The thread also provides eco-versatility …

Industry News

Milliken & Co. launches new website

November 7, 2017

Milliken & Company, a global textile technology company, has launched a website designed to highlight the advantages of its newly created Specialty Interiors business. The new site, www.millikenspecialtyinteriors.com, provides an overview of the company’s full range of interior textile service and product offerings in the home, office, health care, hospitality and specialty event markets. Convenient …

Industry News

IFAI magazines win six awards at MMPA ceremony  

November 6, 2017

Awards include two gold and four bronze. IFAI magazines won a total of six awards at the 21st annual Minnesota Magazine & Publishing Association (MMPA) Excellence Awards ceremony held on November 2 in Minneapolis, Minn. The Excellence Awards competition was created to recognize and foster outstanding publishing achievement. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges …

Industry News

Honduras transforming textile sector

November 6, 2017

With a $1.5 billion U.S. investment, Honduras’ textile and apparel sector is investing in cutting-edge technologies to help transform the country into one of the world’s major players in the booming synthetic yarn and activewear market. The funds have been used to modernize sewing machines and other equipment, expand industrial parks, improve port and road …

Industry News

Chemical companies join ChemSec’s Marketplace

November 3, 2017

To facilitate the corporate drive to replace hazardous chemicals in textile products and supply chains with safer alternatives, chemicals expert NGO ChemSec has launched the Marketplace. The web-based platform allows chemical companies to advertise safer alternatives to downstream users and brands. A growing number of large chemical suppliers in the textile sector have recently joined …

Industry News

Morbern recognized for environmental protection

November 2, 2017

The Vinyl Institute of Canada, in conjunction with Environment and Climate Change Canada, recognized Morbern for its work to protect the environment. Morbern, a manufacturer of vinyl upholstery with corporate headquarters in Cornwall, Ontario, and High Point, N.C., received a letter of achievement for fully implementing the 2008–2013 Environmental Performance Agreement with respect to the …

Industry News

Baldwin acquires Ahlbrandt System GmbH

October 30, 2017

Baldwin Technology Company Inc., a leader in process automation solutions, consumables and services to the print, textile and film industries, has acquired Ahlbrandt System GmbH, Lauterbach, Germany. Ahlbrandt’s 87 team members and Corona treatment, spray coating and hot air-drying products complement the Baldwin team and their broad product and service portfolios. In addition, Baldwin plans …

Industry News

Microban names Texchem UK distributor

October 27, 2017

Microban International Ltd., a leader in textile odor control and prevention, has named textile chemical manufacturer Texchem as a United Kingdom distributor. Texchem will distribute Microban’s entire range of odor control and anti-microbial solutions, including the AEGIS® product line, to apparel, furnishings, home textile, technical textile and healthcare retailers and brands in the U.K. and …

News

EXPO 2017 HUB winners announced

October 26, 2017

More than a hundred IFAI members took part in the daily prize drawings in the HUB at EXPO 2017. One business card was pulled out of the jar each day of the show and the winner received a $50 VISA gift card. On the last day, the lucky winner received a full registration to EXPO …

News

Roy Schweinfurth, former IFAI president, dies

October 26, 2017

Roy Schweinfurth, former IFAI board member and president, died October 8th. He served on the IFAI Board of Directors from 1977 to 1989, and as IFAI president (a position now called chairman) from 1985 to 1987. He was involved with the IFAI Awning Division, now called the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association. His obituary appeared in …

Industry News

FiberVisions commemorates 50 years

October 26, 2017

FiberVisions, a leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing polyolefin staple fibers for nonwoven applications, has operated at its Covington, Ga., location for 50 years. The plant began in 1967 as Hercules Incorporated, providing polypropylene fibers to the carpet and upholstery industries. In the early 1980s, Hercules’ focus shifted to staple fibers for the hygienic and …

Industry News

VTT introduces recycled fiber

October 25, 2017

The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has introduced a new fiber by dissolving worn and discarded cotton and using it as a raw material. The first product models demonstrate that recycled fiber can be transformed into a yarn and comfortable fabric. Based on a carbamate dissolution process, the technology has been used to produce …

Industry News

ECO-PASSPORT accepted by ZDHC

October 24, 2017

OEKO-TEX ® ECO-PASSPORT certification is now accepted by the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Programme as an indicator of conformance with the organization’s Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) in connection with the ZDHC Gateway—Chemical Module. The ZDHC’s MRSL covers chemical substances that are limited or banned from intentional use in the production of apparel …

Industry News

Family Governance Forum to take place in Chicago

October 20, 2017

The Family Governance Forum will be held October 19 and 20 in Chicago. It is a two-day, interactive experience that connects family leaders and influencers to support the growth, development and success of their families’ legacies. The program is designed to lead participants through learning, discussion and planning to heighten their effectiveness as leaders in …

Industry News

Landex Coat Flame Retardant Clear is the world’s first aqueous transparent flame retardant coating

October 19, 2017

Dainichi Giken, Daimaru Kogyo and Teijin have co-developed the world’s first aqueous transparent flame retardant coating for a wide range of combustibles. Landex Coat Flame Retardant Clear significantly improves the flame retardancy of diverse combustibles, including timbers, papers, fibers, rubbers and plastics. The transparent coating is simply applied to the surface to maintain the material’s …

Industry News

National Women’s Business Council releases study on women entrepreneurs

October 18, 2017

The National Women’s Business Council released a second part of an important study on the necessity of entrepreneurs who are women, titled Necessity as a Driver of Women’s Entrepreneurship: Her Stories. The study offers observations derived from case studies of nine diverse women business owners. For the report, the nine women discussed their entrepreneurial experiences in context …

Industry News

SCORE publishes infographic on collaboration tools for small businesses

October 18, 2017

SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, has published an infographic showing how small businesses that use online collaboration tools see 26 percent faster growth and 21 percent higher profits. Among businesses with fewer than 100 employees, 12 percent currently use online collaboration tools, while 17 percent plan to use these tools …

Industry News

Commerce Dept. to discuss textile industry assessment findings in October 18 Webinar

October 17, 2017

In 2016, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) undertook its first comprehensive survey and assessment of the health and competitiveness of the U.S. textile, apparel, and footwear industry since 2003.  The BIS team is now prepared to share preliminary findings of this critically important study that will be unveiled later this …

Industry News

AATCC announces 2018 student design competition

October 17, 2017

The Association of Textile, Apparel & Materials Professionals (AATCC) is inviting students to showcase their design talents to win cash and recognition by participating in the 2018 Concept 2 Consumer ® Student Design Competition. The 2018 “All Day Adventures in Activewear”- themed competition will challenge students to design a line for a specific outdoor or …

Industry News

Color Casters sponsoring color management workshop in Phoenix

October 16, 2017

The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) will be holding a Color Management Boot Camp in Phoenix, Arizona from October 24 to 26. Led by certified SGIA digital color professional instructors Jim Raffel and Ray Weiss, along with certified digital color professional Shelby Sapusek, the workshop is for people struggling with color control, having difficulty getting …

Industry News

Marine Fabricators Regional Workshops

October 13, 2017

Join IFAI at the 2017 Marine Fabricators Regional Workshops. The workshops are designed to help you improve your efficiency and generate revenue, as well as provide a forum for networking and picking up valuable insight from your peers. Discover different patterning and upholstery techniques, share tools, tips and tricks, meet with local suppliers and gather …

Industry News

Digital Textile Printing Conference Version 2.0

October 12, 2017

AATCC and SGIA have gathered some of the biggest names in the industry for the Digital Textile Printing Conference Version 2.0 being held November 29-30, 2017, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham, N.C. The conference will focus on the latest industry trends, print technology developments, key market drivers and insights, applications and case studies. …

Industry News

Cortec® Coated Products introduces EcoWeave

October 11, 2017

Cortec® Coated Products announced a new high tech extrusion coating line. EcoWeave is a highly durable tarp-like film that protects expensive, heavy raw metal materials and finished products against corrosion. Made from the same type of woven polyolefin film used to wrap lumber, it is durable, yet lightweight and versatile. With its new coating capabilities, …

Industry News

Submit your best photos to the InTents Buyer’s Guide cover contest

October 10, 2017

We’re looking for the perfect photo for the cover of the 2018 InTents Buyer’s Guide. This is your opportunity to show off your best work to the entire industry! Submit photos that meet these guidelines: High resolution: 300 dpi and at least 2 MB at 4-by-6 inches. 2. A safe installation. 3. Good composition, lighting and color. …

Industry News

Gerstein, Vegas advance at Unifi

October 10, 2017

Unifi Inc., Greensboro, N.C., has appointed Richard E. Gerstein to executive vice president, global branded premium value-added products and chief marketing officer; and John Vegas has been promoted to executive vice president and global chief human resources officer. Gerstein brings 30 years of P&L and marketing expertise and has served in executive roles for a …

Industry News

Gant retires as Glen Raven CEO

October 9, 2017

Allen Gant Jr. has retired as CEO of textile manufacturer Glen Raven Inc., with C.G. “Leib” Oehmig IV, a 28-year veteran of Glen Raven, stepping in as his successor. Gant will remain chairman of the company’s operating board. Gant joined Glen Raven in 1971 and was named CEO in 1996. Gant announced in 2013 that …

Industry News

Managing water consumption

October 9, 2017

DNV GL and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have launched a new self-assessment tool to help the textile industry manage water consumption. It assists textile companies in evaluating the water footprint in manufacturing processes, helping to make more informed decisions about how to manage water consumption in supply chains. The Global Network for …

Industry News

Flushable wipes lawsuit dropped

October 6, 2017

The Association of Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) has announced the settlement of the class action lawsuit brought by the city of Perry, Iowa, that alleged damages from flushable wipes manufactured by a number of producers. The city admitted that since the inception of the lawsuit, it had not experienced any clogs or increased maintenance costs …

Industry News

Protective textiles market grows

October 5, 2017

The global protective textiles market is expected to reach $7.78 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Research and Markets, “Protective Textiles Market Analysis by Application (Heat & Flame Resistant, Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, Ballistic, Space Suits, Healthcare Garments), and Segment Forecasts, 2014–2025.” The market is expected to grow at 3.4 percent CAGR, owing …

Company News

Sand Sea and Air accepting supply donations for Puerto Rico

October 4, 2017

Terri Madden, the owner of Sand Sea and Air Interiors Inc., located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and a regular contributor to Marine Fabricator magazine, recently contacted IFAI to provide an update of the situation facing her business as well as many others on the hurricane-ravaged island. “I am more fortunate than most,” Madden says. …

Industry News

Roland promotes Miller, Lambert, Chaffins

October 4, 2017

Roland DGA, an Irvine, Calif., manufacturer of wide-format printers, cutters and engraving devices, has promoted Tony Miller to director of sales and product management. Miller will be responsible for spearheading Roland DGA’s expansion into new markets and overseeing the company’s product development and sales efforts. Sid Lambert has been promoted to U.S. sales manager for …

Industry News

TSG promotes Rosenstein, Goldman

October 3, 2017

TSG Finishing, North Wales, Penn., has named Brian Rosenstein CEO and Michael Goldman president. Rosenstein and Goldman represent the fifth generation to head the textile finishing company that has been privately held and family-owned since 1901. With their leadership, TSG recently relaunched its Defend brand as a high-performance water and stain repellent, targeting the residential …

Industry News

Woolam Gin receives GOTS certification

October 2, 2017

Applied DNA Sciences has announced that one of its ginning partners, Woolam Gin, O’Donnell, Texas, was awarded the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS v5.0) certification, making it the first certified U.S. organic cotton gin utilizing Applied DNA’s molecular tagging system. The company is 100 percent compliant with all standards and requirements for the GOTS v5.0 …

Industry News

2017 OFPANZ Awards for Excellence winners

October 1, 2017

Thirteen projects were recognized as winners of the 2017 Awards for Excellence competition hosted by The Outdoor Fabric Products Association of New Zealand (OFPANZ). The Awards for Excellence offers OFPANZ members a chance to showcase their technical skills, design excellence and innovation to the industry. Entries are judged on appearance/workmanship, complexity, design/innovation, and functional and …

Industry News

Ascend completes expansion

September 29, 2017

Ascend Performance Materials, a global producer of specialty plastics, fibers and chemicals, completed a $6.2 million expansion project at the company’s plant in Greenwood, S.C. The project, which added nearly 30 new jobs, will add 24 million pounds of staple fiber production capacity and consolidate the majority of the company’s nylon fiber production at this …

Expo

E-textiles experts field questions at IFAI Expo

September 28, 2017

A group of trainblazers in the world of e-textiles offered ideas and fielded questions in a casual setting on IFAI’s EXPO show floor yesterday. Many of the audience were experts themselves, so the discussion was, one might say, among colleagues in this segment. Standards for smart textiles was on the minds of many. One audience …

Industry News

Sewn Products Equipment adds Ahearn Denning

September 28, 2017

Sewn Products Equipment Company (SPEC) has acquired Ahearn Denning Cutting Machine Inc. SPEC is a global supplier to the soft goods and allied industries with a range of equipment, parts and services that cover a multitude of applications. By acquiring Ahearn Denning, SPEC will have offices on both U.S. coasts as well as San Pedro …

Industry News

Raven Industries acquires Colorado Lining

September 27, 2017

Raven Industries Inc., Sioux Falls, S.D., has acquired Colorado Lining International Inc., Parker, Colo. The acquisition will align under the company’s Engineered Films division, which manufactures polymer film and sheeting. By adding new design-build and installation service components to the company’s geomembrane offerings, the acquisition will advance Raven Engineered Films’ business model into a vertically …

Expo

Government contracts offer great opportunities for textile companies

September 26, 2017

Business owners who want to pursue government contracts shouldn’t be discouraged, says Mary Lynn Langraf, senior international trade specialist for the U.S. Department of Commerce/OTEXA. Langraf presented a detailed discussion Sept. 26 at IFAI Expo 2017, emphasizing that the textile industry is a robust area of interest for government procurements. The first step in securing …

Expo

Shade sails add usability to outdoor spaces

September 26, 2017

“Shade Sails 2.0” was one of the opening presentations Sept. 26 at IFAI Expo 2017. The presentation featured Tim Koehler, Lawrence Fabric and Metal Structures Inc., and Tim Akes, MPanel Software Solutions, who discussed two projects that could handle wind and snow loads. The first project at Southwest Illinois Community College was an outside study …

Industry News

Oppermann acquires Southern Weaving

September 26, 2017

Oppermann GmbH, a global manufacturer of textile webbing products, has acquired Southern Weaving Co., located in the Upstate region of South Carolina. In the near term, Oppermann plans to continue operating the Southern Weaving facilities located in Greenville and Anderson, S.C., while undergoing a plant expansion capable of merging the Greenville production within the next …

Products

Anti-graffiti film

November 1, 2017

Mactac’s PermaColor SAG Anti-Graffiti and Window Protection Films are available in three laminate options designed to prevent graffiti, scratches, acid-etching gouges, UV light damage and tagging on smooth surfaces, graphic images, glass and windows. The films are clear with permanent acrylic adhesive and a smooth polyester lining, engineered for easy graffiti removal. The company says …

Products

Color swatch library

November 1, 2017

Archroma® has introduced the Color Atlas, a six-volume library of 4,320 color swatches. The accordion-fold design allows for quick browsing of the cotton poplin samples. Also available is a compact version which includes the same color options in two volumes for increased portability. A mobile-friendly Color Atlas Online offers features such as “color-on-the-go”, which allows …

Products

Cut-resistant fabric

November 1, 2017

Cut-Tex® PRO is a cut-and slash-resistant fabric made from a combination of ultra-high performance molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) and other technical fibers woven by special high-density knitting machines. U.K.-based PPSS Group says the fabric offers five times the resistance of fabrics made from Kevlar® and is comfortable and fully machine washable. Current applications include uniforms …

Products

Tougher knits

November 1, 2017

M Plus from Guilford on Maine is a new high-performance polyester knit upholstery textile that is soft to the touch but reliably durable, bleach cleanable and withstands 200,000 double rubs. The line features top-selling colors (black, navy, red and tan) as well as two fresh looking heathered colors; silvery charcoal and dark brown. As a …

Products

Latex ink-friendly fabric

November 1, 2017

Top Value Fabrics has expanded its textiles for latex printing with a new line of coated fabrics called Latex Performance Textiles, specifically engineered to create durable, high-quality production graphics utilizing HP Latex Technology. The fabrics are constructed with a proprietary coating that provides a print-receptive treatment for maximizing the beauty of printing with latex ink …

Products

Caffeinated textiles

November 1, 2017

S.Café® technical composite fiber products from Singtex Industrial contain eco-friendly coffee oil extracted from spent coffee grounds. Both the AIRMEM™ membrane and AIRNEST™ bio-foam are comprised of 25 percent coffee oil, which replaces petroleum-based materials with a more sustainable alternative. The high-performance products are used in home textiles, garments, shoes and many other applications. S.Café’s …

Products

Karellis 11301 blackout fabric

October 1, 2017

The Karellis 11301 blackout fabric by Mermet® is available in a width of 300cm, one of the widest blackout fabrics on the market. The 100 percent opaque PVC-free coated polyester is an elegant and environmentally friendly option for internal blinds. The fabric blocks 100 percent of the light and UV rays, and offers excellent thermal …

Products

AllergoProtect bedding

October 1, 2017

AllergoProtect is a trio of products—mattress topper, duvet and pillow—which hold 99.5 percent of dust mite allergens inside the filling and the cover, even when shaken. This means allergens are not breathed in and no longer cause allergic reactions. The German research group Hohenstein developed a negatively-charged textile finish that attracts the positively-charged allergens like …

Products

Top Notch FR solution-dyed fabric

October 1, 2017

Marlen Textiles’ Top Notch FR® solution-dyed fabric is flame retardant, incorporating the industrial fabric industry’s first halogen-free flame-retardant system. The fabric is environmentally friendly, durable and soft, and can be used for many outdoor residential and commercial applications, including awnings, tents and canopies. In addition to lowering the risk of halogen exposure, Top Notch FR …

Products

Mimaki USA TX300P-1800B direct-to-textile printer

October 1, 2017

Mimaki USA’s TX300P-1800B direct-to-textile printer features an advanced belt transport system to ensure stable feeding of stretchy and thin fabrics.The 74-inch-wide direct-to-fabric printer includes many features found in high-end direct-print models and is suitable for users creating samples or short-run pieces. It includes new print heads with a high gap setting that maintain accurate ink …

Products

HarborTime Edge marine-grade fabric

October 1, 2017

HarborTime® Edge marine-grade fabric from Trivantage® is an innovative double-coated fabric powered by Perfecta Marine® technology, which keeps surfaces cooler and reduces interior temperatures. Made from acrylic-coated polyester, the fabric is suited for harsh environments with exceptional abrasion resistance and minimal shrinkage and stretch while remaining highly mildew- and UV-resistant as well as water-repellent. For …

Products

Ultraleather Pearlized collection metallic fabrics

October 1, 2017

The metallic and pearlized color trend expands with seven new colors in the Ultraleather® Pearlized collection from Ultrafabrics®. An addition to its signature Ultrafabrics collections, the Ultraleather Pearlized line highlights a classic natural grain with a subtle luminescence that provides a hint of luxury and refinement. Recommended for everything from restaurants and lounge areas to …

Expo

This year’s Show Stopper winners

September 28, 2017

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

Products

Heavy-duty marine zipper

September 1, 2017

LENZIP has a brand new zipper for the marine canvas, outdoor gear and portable (temporary) shelter markets: the LENZIP No. 12 Marine Grade UV Zipper is larger than the industry standard No. 10, but smaller than Lenzip’s BIGZIP® No. 15 gauge. The new No. 12 gauge is available with 316 stainless steel sliders in auto …

Products

Invisible netting

September 1, 2017

The new 26-foot-wide Nebula™ net from Rose Brand Inc. provides a high gain, see-through projection surface that’s virtually undetectable to an audience. Projected objects seem to float in midair or appear out of nowhere. The Nebula net can be used for stunning visual effects such as layered projections for concerts, dramatic reveals for corporate events …

Products

Tougher shears

September 1, 2017

Wolff Industries’ Premium KAI series multipurpose shears are made from high-quality Japanese steel. With steel throughout the handles, the soft Santoprene insert cushions the user’s hands for increased comfort. The shears are made from A-8 High Carbon stainless steel with a Rockwell hardness rating of approximately 60, one of the hardest and smoothest available. These …

Products

Flame-retardant reflective tapes

September 1, 2017

The Coats Signal line of premium fire-resistant and flame-retardant retro reflective tapes are designed for maximum heat and flame protection, for great visibility and resistance to extreme conditions. When illuminated by a light source, the reflective tapes provide enhanced visibility at nighttime, during difficult weather conditions, as well as in low light for protective clothing …

Products

Shadow strength

September 1, 2017

Enduratex has introduced Overshadow, its first combination TPO fabric with a PU topskin and a new offering in its earth-friendly Puretex collection. The high-performance fabric with applications in the contract and hospitality markets has UV-stabilized pigments that last a minimum of 300 hours, an abrasion resistance on the Wyzenbeek of 100,000 cycles #10 Cotton Duck, …

Products

Awning upgrades

September 1, 2017

Herculite’s NATURA® awning fabric has new features including surface improvements that reduce crazing and make the appearance of the face and reverse of the fabric virtually identical. The new proprietary core-stabilized system reduces edge curl, inhibits seam leakage and offers excellent dimensional stability. The new NATURA now features 10 designer colors and a softer hand …

Products

Eco-friendly upholstery fabrics

August 1, 2017

Breathe by Milliken™ textiles are eco-friendly, durable performance upholstery fabrics that repel everyday stains, are easily cleanable, sustainably designed and responsibly manufactured. Breathe fabrics are the industry’s first fluorine-free performance fabrics compatible with both natural and manmade fibers. They emit no VOCs, including PFCs like PFOS and PFOA, or added formaldehyde, which can harm indoor …

Products

Recycled thread

August 1, 2017

American & Efird (A&E) now offers Perma Core® using REPREVE®, an eco-friendly, high-performance sewing thread option. Unifi Inc., manufacturer of REPREVE, turns plastic bottles into 100 percent recycled polyester fiber, which is then made into products sold by leading consumer brands and retailers. Perma Core using REPREVE combines a recycled continuous filament polyester core and …

Products

Super-format textile printer

August 1, 2017

The ITI3200-TXK 3.2-meter, dual-production mode super-format textile printer from Inkjet Technology Inc. is built for large-run production. The newest model comes configured with Kyocera KJ4B high-speed production print heads for speeds up to 2,195 sq.ft./hr. It incorporates an advanced media handling system in the rear of the printer to accommodate both transfer paper and direct-to-fabric …

Products

Two new graphics films

August 1, 2017

Arlon Graphics LLC has launched two new innovative products and a new technology for vehicle and fleet applications. SLX™ Cast Wrap is a premium gloss white repositionable cast film with FLITE Technology™. Designed for the single installer, the film allows for a fast wrap and superior repositionability. FLITE Technology is a light contact system allowing …

Products

Transparent curtain fabrics

August 1, 2017

Two new transparent curtain fabrics from Swiss textile producer Création Baumann intricately filter light to create delicate shadows in any room. Karneol is designed with a repeating pattern of slightly irregular rectangles to create an organic motif. Celeste’s pattern of embroidered circles presents a consistent rhythm of shapes in a variety of colors. Made from …

Products

Sturdy shade fabric

August 1, 2017

Trivantage® is offering SolaMesh® fabric, an innovative new fabric using polymer technology, recommended for shade sails and other shade structures. Tested in the world’s harshest environments, the shade sail fabric is made from highly stable HDPE monofilament and tape, providing best-in-class strength, value and longevity. Available in 16 colors, it offers a 10-year warranty. Trivantage, …

Products

Japanese-inspired fabrics

July 1, 2017

The Azuma textile collection, from KnollTextiles, is inspired by the balance and harmony found in Japanese design philosophy and culture. The four upholstery fabrics in the collection, Kabuki, Sashiko, Zen Wave and Kaya, celebrate bold graphic forms and simple, subtle beauty. The fabric designs include striking geometric elements, vivid colors, subtle embroidered patterns, wave motifs …

Products

Coats Epic Metallic thread

July 1, 2017

Coats Epic Metallic thread is a specially developed metallised sewing thread consisting of a metallised yarn twisted together with a durable polyester core spun thread. The thread is especially suitable for decorative stitching on denim wear, apparel and leather goods that have not been treated with tannins. The metallic elements are available in gold, silver …

Products

Soggy-free foam

July 1, 2017

The Bellbloc fabric liner system improves the performance of fabrics in upholstery applications by protecting foam inserts from the elements, extending the useful life of foam cushions. Developed specifically for the outdoor, hospitality, contract, long-term care and residential markets, the innovative liner is engineered to resist moisture, mold and mildew while reducing foam compression in …

Products

Compact sewing table

July 1, 2017

The Merrow® Helmsman Table is designed to be easy to assemble, lightweight and durable. The narrowest table on the market, it features an adjustable-height frame seated atop locking wheels. Ergonomically friendly and highly transportable, it can be adjusted for any location or environment and can be used with an air, clutch or servo motor. The …

Products

Professional printing

July 1, 2017

Next-generation SureColor S-series 64-inch S40670, S60670 and S80670 high-performance, roll-to-roll eco-solvent printers are the first large-format signage printers powered by Epson’s PrecisionCore printhead technology, for printing of photographic quality images for the signage, vehicle graphics and fine art reproduction markets. The new line incorporates the fourth-generation Epson Ultrachrome GS3 solvent ink, designed to reduce ink …

Products

The graphic edge

July 1, 2017

Fisher Textiles, a supplier of fabrics for digital printing, has introduced DD 4444 Domination®, a new fabric for frontlit Silicone Edge Graphics (SEG) applications that is specially treated for UV-curable, direct and transfer sublimation printing. DD 4444 Domination is very stable with a gorgeous sheen that can also be used for banners, exhibit graphics, photographic …

Products

Innovative ink

June 1, 2017

The DuPont™ Artistri® Xite S1500 dye-sublimation ink is now available for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and roll-to-roll printers, offering superior product consistency, jetting reliability and color print performance for printing on polyester textile substrates. Also available are Artistri Brite inks for the direct-to-garment market, for a variety of print heads from low to high viscosity, …

Products

Chameleon-like thread

June 1, 2017

Coloreel’s Embroline is a unique thread-coloring attachment for the embroidery industry: a unit that can easily be used with any embroidery machine without modifications. Color changes on the thread can be made rapidly, from one solid color to another or gradually, to make smooth transitions. Embroline provides the embroidery market with a versatile solution to …

Products

Modern polka dots

June 1, 2017

Designed by Sebastian Herkner in collaboration with Nya Nordiska, the Lou fabric was a winner in the Wallpaper® Design Awards 2017 in the category “Best Piercings.” With a modern pattern of polka dots in a disciplined graphic composition, the lightweight, laser-cut polyester fabric plays with the contrast between transparency and opacity. Contemporary fabric is recommended …

Products

It’s curtains …

June 1, 2017

ELINA is the latest fabric collection from Création Baumann; the laser-cut curtain fabric has a vertical design counterbalanced with a delicate horizontal stripe at regular, well-spaced intervals. Semi-transparent material is flame-retardant polyester, available in white and black. The clean lines filter incoming light to produce a serene symmetrical pattern, recommended for contemporary architecture. A 10 …

Products

2017 Specialty Fabrics Showcase: Part 2

May 1, 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 the product information into performance categories, and Part 2 is included here: we’ll cover …

Products

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 …

Products

Attention-getting activewear

March 1, 2017

Shockwave is Top Value Fabrics’ newest addition to its line of polyester fabrics for active wear applications. The 92/8 Polyester Spandex Space Dye Jersey Fabric is soft to the touch and allows for good lateral movement and comfortable wear. Popular applications include yoga apparel, hoodies, sports bras, leggings, headwear and athleisure wear. Top Value Fabrics …

Products

Decorative fabrics

March 1, 2017

The Outline Collection from KnollTextiles is a textiles and wallcovering collection that explores line work, geometry and color in high-performance products. Highlights include Nature Walk, a polyurethane upholstery by designer Ruth Adler Schnee, high-performance 100 percent woven polyethylene wallcoverings Alias II and Asterisk II, and digitally printed privacy fabric with integrated mesh for easy maintenance. …

Products

Light control

March 1, 2017

Phifer has expanded its SheerWeave collection to include additional blackout and light-filtering interior sun control fabric options. Style 7600 blackout has a soft, acrylic foamed backing for total light blockage. Style 7650 is a complementary range that uses the face fabric of Style 7600, providing privacy while allowing for natural light. The new fabrics are …

Products

Stress-free removable film

March 1, 2017

DPF 510 Removable is a short-term promotional removable film available in a Gloss (DPF 510GTR) and Matte (DPF 510MTR) finish. It features a two-sided, lay-flat poly coated liner that provides a consistent and vibrant print quality compatible with a variety of print systems including Eco-Solvent, Solvent and Latex. DPF 510 Removable is recommended for short-term …

Products

Stay dry in the rain

March 1, 2017

MINOTECH™ is a water-repellent outerwear material inspired by the design of straw raincoats made in ancient Japan. Due to the material’s micro-garter structure, small convex bulges help reduce horizontal surface tension to allow raindrops to slip off the surface in a vertical direction. With its non-laminated structure, MINOTECH has high moisture permeability that allows sweat …

Products

New colors for shade solutions

March 1, 2017

Vicar International is stocking Cooltra Shade in Desert Tan, Aqua Blue, Black and Forest Green. Manufactured with 100 percent high density polyethylene warp knitted shade fabrics, Cooltra Shade is lightweight, durable and can provide shade for up to 95 percent UV coverage. The mesh is manufactured with a pre-heat set process for added strength and …

Products

Engineered for inclement weather

February 1, 2017

Tecasafe® Typhoon3™ is a tri-laminate FR fabric designed for use in rainwear. With a PPE category 2 rating, it provides protection from arc flash events and is engineered to feel comfortable and stand up to extreme wear and multiple launderings. Tecasafe Tundra1000™ is a double-sided, wool-enhanced fleece with a high PPE category 2 rating. Weighing …

Products

A next-generation adhesive supply unit

February 1, 2017

The Dynamelt™ S Series Adhesive Supply Unit features a 10-or-20-pound capacity hopper, intuitive controls and consumes 20 percent less energy than competitive units. New features include a Nano ceramic hopper coating that is five times more durable than other PTFE coatings, a repositionable display panel and a 7-Day Scheduler. A “standby” temperature may be programmed …

Products

Durable architectural shade

February 1, 2017

Commercial HEAVY 430 is engineered to withstand extreme weather conditions on large-scale tension structures. Its biaxial stability and load-bearing strength creates the needed shape and tensioning endurance for large-scale structures and is made from 100 percent HDPE monofilament using a patent pending intertwining knit pattern. Commercial HEAVY 430 blocks up to 94 percent of ultraviolet …

Products

Breathable and waterproof

February 1, 2017

Polartec® has created new versions of Polartec NeoShell® specifically for the Teton Bros. TB 2.0 Jacket. The new waterproof NeoShell fabrics offer a combination of stretch, breathability and overall comfort. A more supple 70-by-160-denier mechanical stretch nylon woven NeoShell fabric balances drape and stretch with high durability for greater mobility in the body of the …

Products

A geometric wave

February 1, 2017

Palm Harbor has a leather-like look with a weave embossed pattern. Its topcoat, Forbid SRT, increases stain resistance while preserving the integrity of the fabric luster and softness of the faux leather textile. Palm harbor exceeds 100,000 cycles on the Wyzenbeek Test and has a cold crack rating of -10 degrees F. The collection is …

Products

Decorative fabrics

February 1, 2017

Avenues is a Mondrian-inspired design that features a large-scale color block. Ideal for a modern home or commercial setting, Avenues is 54 inches wide and available in colors Daylight (neutral tones white, flax and gravel) and Midnight (darker tones black, blue and charcoal). Cirrus portrays an allover cloud look that gives the fabric the illusion …

Products

Optimal blockout and durability

January 1, 2017

Midnight Blockout is a knitted polyester fabric engineered with a durable acrylic black back for applications that require blockout. Constructed for the tradeshow industry, it meets NFPA 701 FR specifications and provides options in ink compatibility including dye sub direct, dye sub transfer, UV and latex. Slight stretch makes Midnight Blockout suitable for use with …

Projects

Atlanta stadium roof utilizes ETFE panels

November 1, 2017

On Aug. 26, Atlanta fans got to try out the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the first time when the Falcons hosted the Arizona Cardinals in a preseason NFL game. The two-million-square-foot facility seats 71,000 for football games and can expand to 75,000 for marquee events. Designed by HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning …

Projects

Flexible textile sensors for medical use

November 1, 2017

Researchers at Empa, the materials research institution in Dübendorf, Switzerland, have produced soft optic fibers for sensors that can be embedded in textiles as a thread. Worn next to the skin, the sensors can, for example, monitor whether a hospital patient is developing bedsores. Previously, polymer optic fibers, used in communication technology, weren’t supple enough …

Projects

Energy storage systems printed onto fabric

November 1, 2017

One of the downsides of smart wearables has been the need to carry a battery pack to recharge electronics. Researchers at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom have developed technology that could make the cumbersome packs a thing of the past. The team was able to print a flexible battery-like device known as …

Projects

Pineapple pavilion pops up in UK garden

November 1, 2017

The well-ordered gardens belonging to the grand country houses in Georgian England often included statuary, temples and other architectural details called “eye-catchers,” garden buildings designed to delight visitors. As part of a restoration plan for the walled garden at Great Britain’s National Trust’s Berrington Hall in Herefordshire, it was only fitting to respect that tradition. …

Projects

Pigment system reduces fabric surface temperature

November 1, 2017

What if you could reduce the temperature in a tent or other fabric structure by as much as 30 degrees (F) simply by choice of fabric? A new technology may have the answer. INCA Technology, Atlanta, Ga., has introduced Solar Off-Loading Technology (SOLT), a pigment system that significantly reduces surface temperature. SOLT employs a proprietary …

Projects

Liquid storage containers resist Arctic temperatures

November 1, 2017

Imagine that it’s 50 degrees below zero and there’s an oil spill that needs to be contained. It’s no surprise that the right equipment is critical to success. Enter FASTANK® Arctic, a liquid storage container designed specifically for low arctic conditions. Available from Fast Engineering Ltd., manufacturer of FASTANK portable containment systems, the storage container …

Projects

Electricity-generating yarns

October 31, 2017

What if the shirt a patient wears could monitor breathing with no special power-driven applications—because the yarn it’s made of produces electricity? A research team led by scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas and Hanyang University in South Korea are developing these high-tech yarns. The twistron yarns create electricity when twisted and stretched. …

Projects

New retractable membrane for an open-air theater

October 1, 2017

The charming town of Tecklenburg, Germany, is home to the largest open-air musical theater in the country. Set against the backdrop of a medieval castle ruin, Freilichtbühne Tecklenburg e.V. stages operettas, musicals, concerts and other events. The 2,300-seat theater features a retractable canopy designed and installed 25 years ago by consulting engineers IPL, now formTL …

Projects

IIT Innovation Center uses inflatable ETFE

October 1, 2017

It’s only appropriate that the design for a building dedicated to fostering innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration should itself push the envelope on creativity. So it is with the new Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship, currently under construction at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. The institute will be the new …

Projects

Natural wallpaper

October 1, 2017

Take two unique natural materials and put them together, and the result is a stunning tapestry of color for a new wallpaper collection. Omexco, a Belgian designer of high-end wallcoverings, has introduced the one-of-a-kind Rainbows collection, made by weaving recycled sari silk with strips of bakbak (bark of the banana tree). The deep colors of …

Projects

Smart bandage monitors wounds

October 1, 2017

When a patient has a chronic wound, tracking the healing process and regularly changing the dressing is important to recovery. Nurses and other caregivers must guard against bacteria that could cause infections as well as keep the skin from getting irritated. Researchers from Empa, ETH Zurich, Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM), and University …

Projects

Pavilion brightens Amsterdam Light Festival

October 1, 2017

During the dark days of winter, the Amsterdam Light Festival brightens the city with light-filled artwork created by architects and designers from around the world. There are two routes of artwork: Water Colors, the boat route; and Illuminade, the walking route. Last year’s theme was biomimicry: the imitation of natural phenomena for the purpose of …

Projects

Walk-in installation offers perspectives on light, pattern and texture

September 1, 2017

Europe’s biggest international lighting exhibition is Euroluce, held in Milan in conjunction with Salone del Mobile Milano (the Milan Furniture Fair). At Euroluce 2017 last April, 485 exhibitors displayed the latest in indoor, outdoor and industrial lighting products, including many innovative, cutting-edge designs. The Italian lighting company Leucos created a dramatic rendition of their own …

Projects

The Ocean Cleanup foundation plans to rid oceans of plastic

September 1, 2017

In the Pacific Ocean, there is an area known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a mass of plastic and other debris that doesn’t biodegrade. Estimated to be between the size of the state of Texas and the continental United States twice over, the patch is held in place by ocean currents.    Boyan Slat, …

Projects

T-shirt monitors respiratory rate

September 1, 2017

Researchers at Université Laval in Quebec City, Canada, have developed a technology that could help people who suffer from respiratory conditions including asthma, sleep apnea and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They created a smart T-shirt that monitors a person’s respiratory rate in real time. Best of all, it uses an antenna sewn into the shirt …

Projects

Project explores form and movement in architecture

September 1, 2017

Can one visualize the wind? That was one of the ideas explored by Estudio Invasivo or Invasive Study, a Chilean design studio that studies the cardinal logic of architecture and its pedagogical dialogues. The project, Archetypical Sessions, placed architectural elements in different settings to explore how people interacted with the different scenarios. Participants were asked …

Projects

Eco-friendly sponge soaks up oil spills

September 1, 2017

There are many challenges to cleaning up oil spills. Consider the devastating Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. A portion of the millions of gallons of oil that escaped drifted through the ocean rather than rising to the surface. Because it did not rise to the top, the oil could not …

Projects

Silk fiber implant helps restore hearing

September 1, 2017

As many as 330 million people worldwide suffer from Chronic Middle Ear Disease, a debilitating condition that is the most common cause of perforated eardrums. It can cause hearing loss and great pain when there is damage to the eardrum and mastoid bone. A team of scientists at the Ear Science Institute Australia and the …

Projects

Lumen illuminates courtyard at The Museum of Modern Art PS1

September 1, 2017

For the last 18 years, the Young Architects Program at The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 in Manhattan has sponsored a design competition for emerging architects. The challenge was to develop a creative design for a temporary outdoor installation that provides shade, seating and water. Guidelines regarding environmental issues, including sustainability and recycling, …

Projects

Exosuit assists Lowe’s employees

September 1, 2017

Working the floor of a big-box store requires heavy lifting and moving bulky products around. Employees are at risk for muscle fatigue from repetitive motion or even injury from improper lifting techniques. The home improvement giant Lowe’s has developed technology to offer employees support. Lowe’s Innovation Labs worked in partnership with a team at Virginia …

Projects

Koons’ inflatable graced Rockefeller Center

August 1, 2017

American artist Jeff Koons, well known for vivid and often whimsical takes on pop culture and everyday life, created a show-stopping inflatable sculpture of a ballerina that was installed at Rockefeller Center from May 12 to June 2, 2017. Seated Ballerina was a larger-than-life version of a piece he did for his Antiquity Series that …

Projects

Chair knitted using 3-D technology

August 1, 2017

The Tent Chair from Benjamin Hubert of the London-based experience design agency Layer Design is laid-back and modern. Created for the renowned Italian furniture brand Moroso, the chair’s fabrication is in itself cutting-edge. The chair is knitted in one seamless piece using 3-D knitting technology. The fabric is comprised of more than two million knitted …

Projects

Soft robotics virtual reality gloves

August 1, 2017

Wouldn’t it be great to play the piano like a virtuoso? Now there’s a soft robotics glove that gives you the experience—in virtual reality. Engineers at the University of California San Diego have created gloves that take simulated experiences to a more sophisticated level than existing devices. Using soft robotics technology, they developed light, flexible …

Projects

Toronto theater gets a facelift

August 1, 2017

The Toronto Centre for the Arts needed a facelift; managers wanted to reconfigure the main theater, which was underutilized. Toronto-based Diamond Schmitt Architects divided the 1800-seat space into two smaller spaces: a 300-seat black box theater and a 574-seat proscenium stage. Color and drama were added to the proscenium theater in the form of an …

Projects

MIT researchers design breathable workout suit

August 1, 2017

It seems counterintuitive that something associated with dampness and sweaty aromas could be used to help keep the body cool and dry. But a team of MIT researchers is looking at bacteria in a fresh way and using it in apparel that provides ventilation in response to body heat and sweat. According to the researchers, …

Projects

Sneakers for Mars

August 1, 2017

Maybe someday, along with cruise wear, there will be a special fashion category: space wear. It could be sooner than later, given that SpaceX, the space exploration company started by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, recently announced plans to fly two tourists around the moon in 2018. Shoes for space travel have already gotten off on …

Projects

Fabric pots for everyday gardening

August 1, 2017

Why use heavy, breakable terra cotta or nonporous plastic pots for plants and flowers when you can use pots made of breathable fabric? That’s the idea behind Jardisac, the all-fabric containers. Jardisac pots are permeable, allowing water to run through the soil for maximum air circulation and drainage to keep the plant’s roots healthy. The …

Projects

Artwork-inspired home interiors

August 1, 2017

Aboriginal art is one of the world’s oldest art forms, dating back 50,000 years. Today, it expresses the richness of Aboriginal culture and a diversity of experiences and beliefs. The sacred connection to the land is often expressed in the artwork, which depicts the landscape, plants and animals of Australia’s central desert. Bay Gallery Home, …

Projects

Redesigned steam suits for the U.S. Navy

July 1, 2017

One of the dangers of life on a submarine is the potential for one of the pressurized steam lines aboard to rupture. In such a situation, steam would leak at extremely high temperatures, potentially resulting in severe injury or death. While it is highly unlikely for this to occur, safeguards must be in place in …

Projects

Digital knitting machine

July 1, 2017

Nothing to wear? What if you could just push a button and print out a sweater? While it sounds like the stuff of science fiction, technology is revolutionizing the fashion industry in exciting ways—including the development of a 3-D printer for knitting. Called Kniterate, the printer automatically turns digital designs into knitted garments. The computer-controlled …

Projects

A hammock/tent for sleeping in the air

July 1, 2017

Designed for one person—up to 250 pounds—REI’s Quarter Dome Air Hammock is a minimalist alternative to a tent. Lightweight and easy to set up and take down, it’s made of 15-denier ripstop nylon to provide tear-resistant protection. Settling into a fabric sling is great for relaxing or napping, but it doesn’t offer the support needed …

Projects

Woven metal fabric for space travel

July 1, 2017

Maybe it’s the Game of Thrones effect, because these days, metal fabrics are super hip. And just like the practical purpose they served in medieval times, a new woven metal fabric being developed by NASA can be put to use in a number of ways. Raul Polit Casillas, a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion …

Projects

Durable, flexible fiber-reinforced hydrogel

July 1, 2017

Scientists at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, have combined hydrogels containing high levels of water with glass fiber fabric to create a flexible, reinforced material that is five times tougher than carbon steel. The researchers developed the durable, tensile material utilizing the same method used to produce reinforced plastics. They combined polyampholyte (PA) gels, a …

Projects

Sustainable housing for eco-friendly living

June 29, 2017

Living sustainably often means challenging the status quo to develop new, more eco-friendly alternatives. That’s the case with Breathe—MINI Living, a unique housing prototype introduced at Milan Salone del Mobile 2017. Designed by New York-based architects SO-IL for MINI Living, Breathe—MINI Living challenges people to think about how much space they need, how the space …

Projects

Can you go home again?

June 1, 2017

Artist Do Ho Suh often explores the meaning of home, transience and identity in his work. His own journey, which led him from his native South Korea to New York and now London, was the inspiration for Passage/s, a recent exhibition at the Victoria Miro gallery in London. Passage/s explored the idea of home and …

Projects

Couture goes digital

June 1, 2017

More and more, fashion designers are looking to technology for their designs. To demonstrate the possibilities, Epson partnered with 13 designers from North America and Latin America to create one-of-a kind fashions using the company’s textile printers. The designs were showcased at the third annual Epson Digital Couture Project event held in February in advance …

Projects

A portrait in tulle

June 1, 2017

Artist Benjamin Shine is known for creating distinctive pieces using fabric and other unique materials. The British designer, whose great-grandfather was a tailor, started early in the clothing industry working for a fashion company when he was a teenager. That experience sealed his interest in using fabric as a medium. Shine started working with tulle …

Projects

A ‘frames and fabrics’ approach

June 1, 2017

These days, tradeshow booths are evolving to be more adaptable and sustainable by using unique materials. Now Netherlands-based Van Straaten Group and its North American member, Cees Smit Inc., have departed from the norm and developed an eco-friendly trade show booth that is completely wood-free. Using the “frames and fabric” approach, the booth is constructed …

Projects

Clothing with a cause

June 1, 2017

Working for the ROTC at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Tech. Sgt. Jim Lewis interacts with active-duty service members and veterans as well as new recruits. He started to see a pattern among some of the veterans he met; too many of them who suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were not being treated for …

Projects

Innovation on the fly

May 1, 2017

When it comes to predicting hurricanes and other severe weather events, getting accurate, up-to-the-minute details can literally be the difference between life and death. Now NASA is developing a glider that could be a game changer in weather prediction. The Weather Hazard Alert and Awareness Technology Radiation Radiosonde (WHAATRR) Glider is the brainchild of students …

Projects

The play of color and light

May 1, 2017

The Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy, a plaza central to the city’s history, is a popular tourist attraction and gathering spot. A short walk away, located amidst a series of courtyards, is the Brac Bookstore + Café, a fresh, modern respite from the hubbub of the square. Recently, the 807-square-foot space was renovated to …

Projects

Weaving biological tissues

May 1, 2017

Researchers at the University of New South Wales Sydney (UNSW) have developed a smart fabric with properties similar to the bone tissue periosteum, and are now ready to produce fabric prototypes for a number of different functional materials. In developing the fabric, the biomedical engineers looked to the adaptive properties of plant and animal tissues. …

Projects

A forest in fabric

May 1, 2017

Imagine walking through a dense forest canopy made entirely of fabric. That was the vision of French designer Élise Fouin, who was tasked with showcasing the Sunbrella® Indoor-Outdoor 2015-2017 Fabric Collection in a new and unique way. Fouin created a mosaic of colors in shades ranging from earth red to various hues of green and …

Projects

Roofed: dramatic tension

May 1, 2017

An exciting new stadium is rising on the Canadian prairie. Part of the Regina Revitalization Initiative, the new Mosaic Stadium will be home to the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. Slated to open in the summer of 2017, the multipurpose facility seats 33,000 and can expand to 40,000 in order to hold large events like …

Projects

Sleek styling for space

April 1, 2017

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 …

Projects

Extreme storage, on ice

April 1, 2017

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 …

Projects

Extra muscle, senior style

April 1, 2017

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 …

Projects

Texturizing space

April 1, 2017

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 …

Projects

Instant kayak, on the go

April 1, 2017

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 …

Projects

Sculpted in classical lace

April 1, 2017

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 …