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 …

Ooblecks and smart textiles

September 27, 2017

What is an “oobleck”—and what does it have to do with smart textiles? According to children’s author Dr. Seuss, an oobleck is a mysterious sticky substance which threatened the kingdom in his 1949 book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. But as smart textile engineer, Connie Huffa of Fabdesigns told her audience at IFAI’s Advanced Textiles Conference …

Biomimicry inspires medical textiles

With much of the discussion of smart textiles focusing on e-textiles at present, it is good to be reminded that there are innovative developments emerging in non-digital yarns also. MedTextra is a filtration and health-giving yarn that uses a unique moisturizing process to deliver active ingredients to the body based on biomimicry principles. The brainchild …

Building relationships with architects can improve fabric structure businesses

Want to do more business with architects? Mary Gilmore, AIA, NCIDQ, and Mark Shellshear, Structure Fabrics, Value Vinyls Inc., have many ideas. Gilmore and Shellshear shared those ideas Sept. 26 at IFAI Expo 2017. Gilmore noted, “Architects are very busy. Cold calls don’t work. They are very visual; they need pictures.” A good website with …

Expo panel discusses diversification

A panel of three successful company leaders illuminated the keynote luncheon September 26 at IFAI Expo 2017. The theme of the panel was “Path of Diversification,” featuring Meredith Boyd, Unifi Manufacturing Inc.; Ben Cooper, IoClothes; and John Neely, Berry Global. The panelists shared ideas on how their companies leverage regionalization in the U.S. Cooper mentioned …

Cutting room automation makes sense for many

If automating your cutting room seems either too expensive or too difficult, you may want to think again. Panelists of the IFAI EXPO session on “Optimizing Your Cutting Room” gave a long list of potential benefits for why you might want to consider using an automated cutter. “Everyone’s ROI is slightly different,” says Thomas Carlson, …

Outdoor graphics: bold statements and sustainability

During their joint presentation “Outdoor Graphics—Design to Installation” at IFAI Expo 2017, Valerie Cuchna, material resource liaison at Fabric Images Inc., and Mike VonWachenfeldt, technical service manager at Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, addressed the benefits of using outdoor graphics and offered tips to keep the graphics protected from weather elements. “Outdoor graphics can create an …

Choosing the right sewing machine

Among the many sewing machines options for your shop, how do you choose? The panelists at the EXPO presentation “Selecting a Sewing Machine for Your Application,” agree that nearly any project can at least be partially fabricated using a single-needle walking foot machine. “But for wide material for tents, awnings, covers, sails and the like,” …

Raven Industries acquires Colorado Lining

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 …

Business success across markets

September 26, 2017

Whether you’re a fabricator for the marine, automobile, commercial or residential markets, Steven Wayne, owner of Southern Stitch Canvas and Upholstery LLC in Gulfport, Mississippi, says many of the same rules apply. According to Wayne, business success comes down to four basic things: skills mastery, excellent communication, judicious customization and customer education. Wayne’s shop works …