Narrow fabrics’ widening reach

December 1, 2017

Corporate administrators tend to base management decisions on the Pareto Principle (80 percent of business comes from 20 percent of the clientele). Textile engineer Connie Huffa argues that can be a shortsighted way of thinking. “Opportunities lie in the 20 percent—the business we all would have turned down 10 to 20 years ago,” says the …

Members Only  

Finding solutions: teamwork and initiative

Research shows that cross-functional collaboration can improve the ability to solve complex problems, deliver higher quality products and services faster, and boost customer satisfaction. To see these kinds of results means building a team that listens to customers and works across departments to find solutions. At Cooley Group, president and CEO Dan Dwight emphasizes the …

Bill Coppins turns a canvas shop into a design and development powerhouse

“We keep experimenting with a product until we get it right, which is really what we’re about,” says Bill Coppins, owner and director of W.A. Coppins Ltd. in Motueka, New Zealand. “With jobbing work you’re always competing against someone down the road. So I thought: Let’s get out there and develop our own product that …

New IFAI chairman Steve Ellington shares his vision for the Industrial Fabrics Association International

November 1, 2017

With the geopolitical challenges and opportunities the specialty fabrics industry faces, we, as an association, need to make sure that we continue to educate our members and provide them with opportunities,” says Steve Ellington, president of Trivantage LLC, Glen Raven’s distribution and marketing services subsidiary in Glen Raven, N.C. “We need to make sure that …

IFAI Expo 2017: Report from New Orleans

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 …

Members Only  

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 …