Tarp and truck cover manufacturers stand at the ready with products designed to keep loads secure and drivers safe

March 1, 2018

Fabric truck covers, side curtains and tarping systems are enjoying increased attention from an industry looking for advanced solutions to help keep fleets rolling along more efficiently, safely and economically. Several factors are fueling this interest. For one thing, drivers are getting older, says Vincent Merlot Jr., CEO/owner of Merlot Vango® Tarping Solutions Inc., a …

Building facades and vertical shade

February 1, 2018

For decades now, since the revelation of the 1970s back-to-earth, energy enlightenment era of oil embargoes and the beginning of the environmentalism movement, architects and government officials have acknowledged the importance of making ever more energy-efficient buildings. It has been proven that buildings (the construction of them and the manufacturing of all the materials that …

The business of yurts: round architecture

I never had an interest in going into business to just duplicate a product that already existed,” says Alan Bair, founder and owner of Pacific Yurts Inc. in Cottage Grove, Ore. “But early on I realized the yurt is a unique warm space that is limited only by the imagination. When you go into that circular …

Fabric performance tested and approved

That we live in a litigious society is evident to anyone who has spent even a little time in front of the television, where commercials touting the services of personal injury or product failure attorneys are pervasive reminders about how precarious life can be. Consumers have become ever more demanding in their expectations of what …

Job costing

It’s a fairly safe bet that not many fabricators started their operations because they wanted to work on spreadsheets. But like it or not, when you hang out a shingle, only part of your work will be designing a custom awning or reupholstering seats on a pontoon boat. Figuring out how to charge for those …

Working with architects

January 1, 2018

Key to the success of a productive partnership: exploration, preparation, communication and education, with a firm grasp of details and a final vision for the project. Fabrics and architecture have been partners for millennia and have worked together to create some of the most iconic, useful and beautiful structures in the world—from traditional Mongolian yurts …

Marine tension shade options

Marine fabricators help boat owners expand shading options with stretched fabric. It could easily be argued that the pleasures of boating are best appreciated on a deck rather than in a cabin. But protection from sun exposure requires more than that provided by a wide-brimmed hat. With that kind of coverage in mind, boat owners …

Creating a welcoming workplace to retain employees

To prevent employee turnover, create a workplace that provides continuous learning, competitive pay and benefits and open-minded management. Like many industries that rely on skilled workers, the specialty fabrics industry is facing a shortage of qualified personnel. As manufacturers and fabricators develop recruitment efforts to attract the next-generation workforce, management must simultaneously find strategies to …

Inspiration-driven marine fabrication, and sheltering San Francisco’s homeless

Having a really good life is not financially driven. It’s inspiration driven,” says Liz Diaz, MFC, owner of North Beach Marine Canvas in San Francisco, Calif. “Working on and around the water is a singularly lovely employment. I am inspired all the time by my location, by the San Francisco Design Center, by my tools …

On the march

December 1, 2017

For several years the U.S. military market has been characterized by base closures and troop drawdowns, which has had an admittedly dampening effect on the need for and spending on military textiles. The United States isn’t the only geographic market for these products, nor are these textiles limited to just our military; purchasers are found …