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Growth markets

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Manufacturers and suppliers keep close eye on industry to provide the right products.

Manufacturers and suppliers of equipment for the specialty fabrics industry are keeping a close watch on market developments to provide the right types of products. Doug Hardy, sales manager at Autometrix, says that changing market requirements drive the company’s hardware and software development. “Today’s market is very diversified, with considerable contacts coming from the carbon fiber/composites industry and the canvas/awning markets, as well as insulation covers,” he notes.

To better serve these growing markets, Autometrix has designed two 3-D rendering software programs that allow for the creation of custom awnings and pipe covers, and has developed a non-contact marker for the insulation cover industry.

At CAD Cut, a converter based in Montpelier, Vermont, the aerospace industry represents one of the company’s strongest markets, cutting materials such as graphite, Kevlar®, fiberglass and adhesive films. CAD Cut general manager Ben Winters also reports robustness in the medical market, particularly in cutting multilayer insulation used in the magnet subassemblies of MRI machines.

The Fox Company’s Harry Berzack says that smart fabrics—wearable textiles embedded with electronics—will continue their growth but may pose some challenges along the way. “If you are going to stitch this material, you are going to destroy the wiring in the fabric, and that is not going to be a selling point.”

Holly O’Dell is a freelance writer based in Plymouth, Minn.

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