IFAI Expo 2017: Report from New Orleans

November 1, 2017

Despite the hurricanes and wildfires of late summer, IFAI Expo 2017 attracted many new first-time attendees to New Orleans in late September. And exhibitors reported that attendees were more likely than previous years to purchase their products, services and equipment. Aside from exhibitor-attendee interaction, the show floor was a hive of lively “campfire” educational sessions …

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Tension tents hold their ground while offering an aesthetic edge

One of many crucial questions tent rental providers must help clients planning upscale outdoor events answer is whether they want a tension or frame-supported tent. Several factors influence the decision, from aesthetics to weather and space restraints to pricing. And while more clients are choosing the latter, tension tents are not without significant advantages. Center …

Biomimetics: Fabrics borrow from nature to solve problems

October 31, 2017

For most people, arriving home from a hike covered in burrs would likely cause aggravation. But for George de Mestral, the burrs became an inspiration. Curious about how they clung so stubbornly to his clothes, the Swiss electrical engineer put them under a microscope, which revealed hundreds of “hooks” that attached to anything with a …

Lloyd Verduyn focuses on continuous improvement in products and processes at Verduyn Tarps

October 1, 2017

“As a company, we believe in the Japanese principle of Kaizen, which is the philosophy of continuous improvement,” says Lloyd Verduyn, president and owner of Verduyn Tarps, based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. “For us, that extends beyond processes and personal efficiency to our products as well. We’re never finished making our tarp systems better. That …

Multifunctional fabrics and material innovations

What spurs innovation? Does the kernel of a new idea spring forth fully formed from the brow of a genius, or does it gestate over a long, arduous path involving sweat and heavy lifting? Maybe a bit of both, if you dig into the histories of new materials or processes. Often you will find that …

2017 Equipment Showcase

With technology taking over and automation ascendant, manufacturers are reinventing themselves and their operations to maximize efficiency, effectiveness, safety, reliability, productivity and profitability. The equipment they choose, especially when skilled labor is in short supply, doesn’t replace craftsmanship—it enhances it. We asked our equipment suppliers to tell us about the advantages of their latest innovations …

How to expand into new market segments without sacrificing core products

For many custom fabricators, diversification is the name of the game. Recognizing—and seizing—opportunities to venture into new market segments can mean the difference between staying in business or (perish the thought) going under. But companies can also become too diversified, to the point where potential clients don’t have a clear idea of what’s being made …

Fibers and fabrics play a starring role in the effort to harvest kinetic energy

September 1, 2017

Back in the day, a telephone was expected to perform a limited number of functions: alert you when someone was trying to reach you and connect you to those you were trying to reach. Technology advanced and phones became more portable. The same sort of process is happening to fabrics and fibers. The possibility of …

Elissa Decker’s fabric expertise helps Moss Inc. build global growth

The properties of any fabric will be determined by the combined characteristics of its fiber, yarn, construction method, and dyeing and finishing processes,” says Elissa Decker, senior manager of materials, Moss Inc., Chicago, Ill. “It’s such an exciting time to work in the industry, because there’s a lot of performance that you can build into …

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From machines to humans: Boost the productivity of your business

Improving productivity depends on a combination of efficient employees, equipment and processes. Driving improvement in all these areas involves examining the current practices in place and making adjustments to systems, employee training, technology, equipment and tools. From small tweaks in communication processes to large technology improvements, companies are using many techniques to boost productivity. Tecsew …