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Creating the future of textiles: Developments in medical textiles

April 1, 2012

Medical textiles meet the growing need for protection and comfort in health care apparel. By Ben Favret What are the newest, most exciting or intriguing developments in the industry in advanced textiles? Active barrier protective fabrics are a game changer for medical textiles and a tremendous leap forward because they provide vital protection to health …

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Photovoltaic fabrics add energy in design

February 1, 2012

Photovoltaic fabric structures add function to form and energy to aesthetics. By Janice Kleinschmidt Power is literally in the hands of today’s fabric structure makers—and the forecast looks bright for any fabric-related business that looks to the sun for advantage. “I think every fabric product manufacturer in the future is going to be selling power …

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Engineered fabrics

January 1, 2012

Suppliers of performance fabrics respond to wide-ranging inventory demands and customer needs. By Jan Brenny There are as many different “performance” fabrics as there are needs in the marketplace. To fulfill those needs as quickly and completely as possible, suppliers collaborate with customers and capitalize on strengths. Performance fabric suppliers range from those that offer …

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Controllable awnings and exterior solar screens

November 1, 2011

High-tech automation guides retractable exterior solar shading. By Jamie Swedberg Custom retractable awnings and exterior solar screens have particular appeal for a high-end clientele—a savvy group of consumers who expect to be able to control the environment in their homes and work spaces with the touch of a button. It also tends to be a …

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Incredibly smart textiles

October 1, 2011

As understanding evolves and resources become available, interactive textiles could be headed into the mainstream. By Barb Ernster Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak may be fiction, but it could be a reality in the not-too-distant future. That may be a matter of physics, but perhaps a smart textile will help it along. Who would have thought …

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The right tools

July 1, 2011

Running an efficient operation means asking the right questions—and securing the right equipment to help you answer them. By Galynn Nordstrom & Sigrid Tornquist For thousands of years, our tools have defined our progress. When they’re well designed and specifically matched to the task, they’re also an integral part of our profits. Tools for specialty …

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Tools for setting up shop

End product manufacturers offer insight about the equipment and tools that got them this far—and where they want to go next. By Janice Kleinschmidt Custom Canvas Alaska LLC set up shop in 2005 with a sewing machine, computer and file cabinet. Then they built a workbench and racks and installed a frame bender. Then they …

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The development of new and improved equipment

Key factors driving the development—and sales—of new equipment for specialty fabrics manufacturers. Whether fabricators are finishing an awning or designing a banner, they have to choose from a plethora of equipment to get the job done. Representatives from four major equipment manufacturing categories for specialty fabrics—welding, sewing, cutting and printing—share their insights on key trends …

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Driving the future of fabric structures

June 1, 2011

Today’s advanced technologies will drive the future of fabric structures. By Blaine Brownell Fabric is one of the oldest materials humans have used for shelter; it remains an important material with diverse applications in design and construction today, and it will play an even more important role in the constructed environment in the future. Predictions …

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Performance plus: Coatings on demand

March 1, 2011

On demand: collaborating on fabrics, products and value-added coatings. By Janice Kleinschmidt Just as Clark Kent flexed his super powers when he emerged from a phone booth, fabrics take on high-performance properties when they emerge from today’s high-tech coating processes. In what appears to be a sleight-of-hand trick, a video by P2i shows two boots …

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Nanotechnology: It’s getting bigger

January 1, 2011

Breaking the barriers to accepting—and selling—nano innovations in specialty fabrics markets. By Barb Ernster There has been increasing momentum in recent years in the use of nanotechnology to provide textile products with new and enhanced properties, such as stain and water repellence, flame retardance, antimicrobial properties, UV protection, abrasion resistance, odor absorption and insect repellence. …

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Creating the future of textiles (part 5)

December 1, 2010

The push for sustainability drives innovation in advanced textiles. By Dr. Richard Chapas Part V of a series by speakers at the Advanced Textiles Conference 2010. Part I covers developments in advanced textiles, Part II addresses developments in auxetic materials, and Part III discusses electrical conductive nanocoatings. Part IV covers the potential of nanomaterials in …

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Creating the future of textiles (part 4)

November 1, 2010

Nanomaterials offer unlimited potential for creative application in specialty fabrics. By Brian Korgel Part IV of a series by speakers at the Advanced Textiles Conference 2010. Part I covers developments in advanced textiles, Part II addresses developments in auxetic materials, and Part III discusses electrical conductive nanocoatings. Part V examines the push for sustainability. What …

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Industrial “diamonds” drive market growth

Technology breakthroughs drive growth areas in industrial applications and may provide manufacturers with their “diamonds in the rough.” By Julie Young With the nation’s manufacturing industries still feeling the effects of a tentative economy, companies that supply state-of-the-art specialty fabrics products are working hard to diversify their wares and re-envision their product lines to stay …

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Creating the future of textiles (part 3)

October 1, 2010

Fabric as we know it is transformed with electrical conductive nanocoatings. By Dr. Jamshid Avloni Part III of a series by speakers at the Advanced Textiles Conference 2010. Part I covers developments in advanced textiles, Part II addresses developments in auxetic materials and Part IV covers the potential of nanomaterials in creative applications. Part V …

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Creating the future of textiles (part 2)

September 1, 2010

Developments in auxetic materials that could revolutionize blast mitigation textiles may find wider market applications. By David O’Keefe Part II of a series by speakers at the Advanced Textiles Conference 2010. Part I covers developments in advanced textiles, Part III addresses electrical conductive nanocoatings and Part IV covers the potential of nanomaterials in creative applications. …

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The evolution of interactive textiles

Researchers are developing new ways for fabric to respond to human and environmental stimuli. By Jamie Swedberg Remember those color-changing T-shirts in the late 1980s? The fibers in the shirts were bonded with microcapsules of thermochromic pigment that changed hue when it was exposed to heat. The idea was that friends could leave their handprints …

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Foam gets technical

August 1, 2010

New foam composites respond to the call for high performance in a variety of applications. By Barb Ernster Traditional polyurethane foam is still favored for cushioning and other applications that require a variety of specs for their physical attributes, but foam producers are working with different resins, polyols and thermoplastics to produce a wide range …

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3-D technology advances marine fabrication

June 1, 2010

Simplify and standardize fabrication methods with cutting-edge software and hardware tools. By Maura Keller In the world of technology, change is a constant. For the marine fabrication industry, technological advancements in the area of three-dimensional (3–D) software and hardware engineering are changing the way many fabricators do business. With 3–D technology, three-dimensional products that the …

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A global look at nanomaterials

February 1, 2010

Research and regulations on the environmental and safety issues of nanomaterials: a global approach. By Janice Kleinschmidt Nanotechnology data is growing exponentially as universities and industries around the world research and develop products with specific performance attributes (liquid, dirt and odor repellence, antimicrobial properties and insulating capabilities) by manipulating substances at the one-billionth-of-a-meter scale. But …

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Equipment and process efficiency

January 1, 2010

Finding efficiencies in equipment and processes to improve productivity, quality and delivery. By Janice Kleinschmidt In the early 20th century, mass production created not only jobs for assembly-line workers, but also for people to increase productivity. They were called ‘efficiency experts.’ These days, the phrase is ‘lean manufacturing.’ “It’s about much more than production,” says …

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Fabrics, coatings and finishes

December 1, 2009

Coatings customize fabrics for the perfect match with customers’ applications. By Barb Ernster There are countless combinations of fabrics, coatings, finishes and coating methods to achieve different specifications for a wide spectrum of applications. From simple vinyl tarps to highly engineered ballistic liners, the coated fabrics industry is more diversified than ever and encompassing more …

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Industry innovations meet consumer needs

April 1, 2009

Improvements in performance fabrics are well suited to work wear, sports and active apparel markets. From the editors of TUT (Technical Usage Textiles) magazine in Paris. Software solutions: design your own The Brandvis Group, Donegal, Ireland, was awarded the innovation trophy for work wear at Expo Protection 2008 in Paris, the leading European show for …

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Technologies meet demand for digitally printed fabric products

January 1, 2009

As the digital fabric printing industry matures, the machines are faster, the inks are more vibrant, and the most important color in the spectrum is green. By Janice Kleinschmidt The marketing phrase “new and improved” has been slapped on every kind of product at one time or another, with—on occasion—dubious results. Sometimes “improvements” are merely …

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Narrow fabrics manufacturers use technology to innovate

December 1, 2008

The future is high-tech if you’re planning to stay ahead of the game. By Jamie Swedberg There’s nothing particularly predator-like about narrow fabrics designers and manufacturers. By and large, they’re helpful folks, always working with their clients to create webbings and ropes with the perfect color, thickness, width and performance characteristics. But they’re still a …

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Nanotechnology provides more function with less space

October 1, 2008

By Barbara Ernster Nanotechnology, the engineering of functional systems at the molecular level, is all about getting more function on less space. Next-generation nano materials have already hit the textile market in the form of nano-enhanced fabrics with antimicrobial properties able to kill germs, viruses and “superbugs” that come into contact with the surface of …

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Digital printing offers diverse opportunities for awning makers

September 1, 2008

Awning makers use digital printers to adapt to changing industry By Janice Kleinschmidt In the natural world, the strength of a species lies in its diversity. In the business world, the strength of a company lies in its ability to serve customers. Like living organisms, diverse companies adapt to a changing environment in order to …

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Modern technology helps small fabricator shops

August 1, 2008

When you walk the aisles of a trade show, it’s hard not to be dazzled by all the newest high-end equipment. There are systems available with truly remarkable capabilities: high-ply CAD-driven cutters with vacuum compression tables; room-sized fabric welders; vision-guided robotic sewing machines. But these devices seem to be far removed from the day-to-day reality …

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Molecular manipulation to change the textile industry

July 1, 2008

Would you like to have shirts that don’t get dirty? What if the milk that spilled in your minivan never smelled? Wouldn’t it be convenient if the seats in your boat couldn’t mildew? And imagine the value of a surgical mask that actually kills germs, rather than simply preventing them from being inhaled. As futuristic …

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Chism uses technology to improve business

“You’re only as fast as your slowest person or procedure,” says Roy Chism, president of The Chism Co. Inc. in San Antonio, Texas, who doesn’t seem to have a “slow” speed in his process improvement strategies. Since 1988 when he purchased an automated plotter cutter with the serial number “007,” to installing a software program …

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Technology gives fabrics the power to act and react

Adapting shoes to weather conditions Wet feet? Never again. German companies IQTEX and BASF have jointly developed a unique, intelligent system that adapts shoes to suit weather conditions. To make this possible, IQTEX has processed a special superabsorbing fleece from BASF into an innovative ventilation element known as Vayu Verde®. When the material gets wet …

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Marine shops sail with CAD systems

May 1, 2008

Speed. Accuracy. Replication. This is what you hear when you talk to marine fabricators about CAD (Computer-Aided Design) systems. The time from concept to finished product is faster than ever before. Modification is minimal, if not completely eliminated. Fit is perfect the first time, repeating a product requires little or no preparation, and there is …

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Flame-resistant fabrics: Examine your options

January 1, 1970

Offer better customer service with information on the latest in FR qualities and regulations. By Holly O’Dell In many environments today, fire retardancy and flame resistance (FR) qualities are required for fabrics; in other cases, it is a desirable quality, at the least. For commercial and hospitality applications—for example, an awning used on an office …