Long-term clearspan tent installations offer a clear advantage

December 1, 2018

For Jeff McInnes, what better proof of the validity of clearspan structures being used for permanent buildings than having his recently installed aquatic center survive Hurricane Florence in North Charleston, S.C. “We often install permanent structures that sometimes need to be in place for extended durations; anywhere from three to 30 years,” says McInnes, North …

A dazzling duo: indoor fabrics and lighting

Fabrics have always been an essential component in commercial interior spaces. But, historically, their inclusion has been limited to more conventional roles, such as draperies and curtains, or flexible room dividers. With some exceptions, fabrics were not intended to serve as a focus in and of themselves. That has changed—decidedly. Fabrics are now looked to …

Going the distance: Rob Kotowski rebuilds the family business

We don’t anticipate that the completion of a project is the last time we talk with our clients,” says Rob Kotowski, owner and president of Lake Shore Boat Top Co., St. Clair Shores, Mich. “We typically follow up with them a couple of weeks after they’ve taken delivery of their projects to make sure they’re …

A commitment to growth: Don Alhanati uses automation and lean manufacturing to ensure market diversity and growth for CustomFab USA

November 1, 2018

One of the keys to our success is our investment in advanced automated equipment,” says Don Alhanati, founder and president of CustomFab USA in Garden Grove, Calif. “That, and the fact that we have a creative staff. We are always looking at ways to do things smarter.” Alhanati had worked 12 years at a manufacturing …

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Seeing is believing: make sure your website and social media strategies are smart, engaging, informative, and visually appealing

Perhaps your company relies on good old-fashioned word-of-mouth publicity and steers clear of social media. Maybe your marketing efforts emphasize trade shows and real-world connections, quite successfully, rather than online communications. But you did just update your website … five years ago. Things have changed. Now your customers all have a phone in their hands, …

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Growth in the inflatables market is coming from safety and protection

Everybody knows about inflatables. They’re the bouncy houses rented for kids’ birthday parties, or the big blow-up gorilla that the local car dealership uses to attract customers. The real growth in the use of inflatable technology, however, is in much more serious (and practical) applications—even if they aren’t nearly as visible to most of us. …

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Managing urban water issues with geosynthetics

As more land is lost to urban sprawl, and managing stormwater and wastewater runoff from hard-surface pavements has become a growing necessity, green infrastructure strategies are front and center in the minds of city planners, engineers and others focused on environmental and quality-of-life issues. Green infrastructure (GI) is a sustainable, low-cost and environmentally friendly approach …

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To sew or to seal: expanding the toolbox

October 1, 2018

To sew or to seal is a question that some fabricators have answered by gearing their offerings toward products that utilize either the former or the latter, but not both. While this kind of specialization can be a viable and lucrative strategy, expanding the toolbox to incorporate both sewing and sealing can often prove even …

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Performance finishes for performance textiles

Perhaps the people who develop textile finishings by coating or laminating could best be described as the unsung problem solvers—superheroes, even—of the textile performance world. Do they wear capes? Maybe they should—textile capes finished with performance-enhancing treatments. Problem solving is the basis of their work, as they treat textiles to enhance performance, in response to …

Riding the pendulum of industry change: Awnings by Bigley and Hogshire

“We have to be diverse and knowledgeable about the various types of products people are making in the industry,” says Taylor Bigley, co-owner and president of Awnings by Bigley & Hogshire, Hampton Roads, Va. “What’s in demand changes—the pendulum swings each way—and we have to react to it.” The roots of Awnings by Bigley & …