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Pop-up factory with a purpose

Industry News | November 1, 2019 | By:

IFAI’s Manufacturing for Good booth assembles three-ring pencil pouches for A Gift For Teaching.

By Sammi Jones

IFAI’s Manufacturing for Good booth made its third appearance on the show floor at Expo 2019 in Orlando, Fla. The booth, which debuted at Expo 2017 in New Orleans, La., and also appeared at Expo 2018 in Dallas, Texas, showcased a portable factory that gave Expo attendees a look at equipment demonstrations, sewing demonstrations and how the manufacturing process works from start to finish. 

Workers at this year’s live manufacturing booth assembled 85 three-ring pencil pouches from start to finish. The pouches, made of vinyl mesh with a reinforced vinyl laminate, and two carts filled with collected school supplies were donated to A Gift For Teaching, a central Florida-based nonprofit organization. A Gift for Teaching helps students in need of school supplies and dedicated teachers who spend their own money buying classroom supplies.

Companies joined together at the Manufacturing for Good booth at Expo 2019 to assemble pencil pouches for A Gift For Teaching. Photos: © Mark Skalny, Mark Skalny Photography.

Behind the scenes

This year’s charity was selected by the Manufacturing for Good committee. “We always connect with the charity to make recommendations and find out what their needs are before moving forward,” says Christine Gerard, division operations manager at IFAI. “A Gift For Teaching liked the idea of doing the pencil pouches and suggested we also collect supplies to fill the pouches.

Every year we hope that we will make more products to give away, or that we’ll get more participation,” says Gerard. “But no matter what happens, it’s the giving back to the charity that’s always the biggest hit.”

Eric Sevy, production manager at SugarHouse Industries, received an outstanding volunteer award from IFAI for
his leadership efforts in this year’s Manufacturing for Good booth project. Sevy was appointed champion of the project and developed the pattern for the pencil pouch, fielded questions and communicated with committee members and suppliers, and inspired others to get involved with the booth. When Sevy found out the zippers for the pencil pouches were being sent on a roll, he volunteered his time to cut all of the zippers to size and attach the sliders so that the team wouldn’t have to do it onsite. He also volunteered to sew in the booth and troubleshoot any onsite problems.  

Teamwork makes the dream work

The booth was made possible through the efforts of numerous companies. Booth materials and equipment were sponsored by Autometrix Inc. (automated cutter), Bainbridge International Inc. (binding), Fasnap Corp. (grommet machine and grommets), FIL-Tec Inc. (thread), Forsstrom High Frequency AB (RF welder), Industrial Fabrics Foundation, Juki (sewing machine), Miller Weldmaster Corp. (wedge welder), Snyder Manufacturing Inc. (clean reinforced laminate), Value Vinyls (PVC-coated open mesh) and YKK (zippers). The booth was hosted by IFAI’s Equipment Division and Makers Division. A special thanks was extended to committee members Shane Cossette from TRS Industries, Katie Sphuler from Miller Weldmaster, Truy Pham from Autometrix, Katie Bradfrod from Custom Marine Canvas and Kevin Gleave from SugarHouse Awning.

Sammi Jones is the associate editor of Specialty Fabrics Review.

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